In some countries, the gap year, or bridge year as it is sometimes called, is part of a normal pattern of events for students just out of high school. Here in the United States, however, it’s not quite as common, but it certainly has merit!
If you aren’t quite ready for college, you want to see more of the world before buckling down for another few years of school, or you just want to get a better feel for your intended career choice, a gap year could be right for you. And once you’ve decided to take a gap year, you might be wondering how to tell your parents.
How To Tell Your Parents You are Taking a Gap Year
It might not be as difficult as you think. If your parents have been very involved in your college search, they have probably already read about a gap year. Your goal is to make sure they understand the reasons you’re considering it, that you aren’t going to waste a year of your life, and that you are hoping to grow as a person before tackling your college career.
Stay on the College Path – Don’t ditch your SAT test or ACT test. Remember to prepare as if you are going to college. In fact, you should still apply! If you get in to your dream school, that’s great! Just ask for a deferment. If not, know that some schools (including Ivy League schools like Harvard and Princeton) actually encourage students to take a gap year before digging in!
Prepare a Budget — Let your parents know that you are serious by presenting them with a budget that outlines your monthly expenses. Account for expenses both obvious and hidden, and don’t forget to add in entertainment. Think about the cost of gas as well as maintenance, housing, and expenses to consider if you are going to be part of a gap year group or if you are branching out on your own. Whatever your gap year plan is, be sure to put it down in dollars and cents to give your parents a better understanding of what you are expecting from them and how you plan to help.
Have a Back-Up Plan — If you don’t get into college (or your first or second choice college) this time around, know that a gap year can help you get in. How you spend your gap year can help college admissions get a better feel for the person you are becoming. Some gap year programs include options for extensive travel opportunities or community service projects. That kind of year off can really make you stand out to college admissions and may even help you get in to a school that originally turned you down!
Consider an Internship — If you aren’t sure what you want to do after high school, maybe it would help you to test the waters with an internship. Not only can you gain valuable skills and determine whether or not the major you’re considering will be a good fit, but you will also stand out to college admission officers who are looking for future movers and shakers.
Stick to the Plan
Don’t get angry. Don’t become confrontational. Take to heart whatever they have to say. The bottom line is that you will most likely need your parents’ help to make the most of your gap year! Making them a part of the process and listening to their advice can go a long way in helping achieve your gap year goals!
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