Many students are distraught about applying to college in 2020 in the midst of a major pandemic. Some have opted to take a gap year in order to bypass the expense of college tuition for online courses, waiting rather for in-person classes to resume.
A gap year is a sabbatical between high school and college when students either engage in extracurricular activities like volunteering or travel or participate in some sort of paid job.
This year, especially, taking a gap year is an attractive option for students graduating from high school. According to US News, in the 2020-2021 school year, the average student pays $35,087 for a private school, $21,184 for a public out-of-state school, and $9,687 for a public in-state school. There is just no point in paying so much money for virtual classes.
With classes potentially still being conducted online, new college students will be missing out on the true college experience: student clubs, living in a dorm, even going to a professor’s office hours. Zoom classes are also just not the same as an in-person class, no matter how prepared the professors are.
The reality of the pandemic is still overwhelming, especially so when added to college decision time. However, taking a gap year may help people settle into these new times and identify a clear direction for their lives, while also waiting for the educational world to settle after the pandemic. Taking a gap year would also be helpful to those who do not know what they want to major in, as they would then have the time to find what interests them and gain some maturity before entering college..
The pandemic makes the most popular gap year activity challenging however. Students with the means to do so often engage in travel in their gap year. Whether that means joining a program that requires you to travel to different places or just backpacking internationally, this is a difficult time to leave your home, much less the country. While traveling this time of year is not impossible, it isn’t recommended by health officials.
Volunteer work is a great option for your gap year if you cannot travel, however. Not only do you gain knowledge and experience, but you make valuable relationships. You don’t need to study abroad in order to make a difference. Some people are helping the homeless during these hard times with Covid-19, and even reaching out to people close to them by shopping for materials they might need. Any small effort can go a long way during this crisis.
Depending on how long the pandemic lasts, this will hopefully be the only year school is online so people will have the opportunity to take a break from virtual learning until in-class sessions fully begin. As difficult as it might be for other graduates, it is understandable that necessary actions must be taken into account in regards to taking a gap year.