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What are you Planning After Graduation? Consider These "Gap Year" Alternatives (1534 hits)

If you are graduating from college this year, you might be considering taking a break before going to grad school or starting your career. If you are, think about doing something meaningful as you explore "gap year" alternatives.

According to Wikipedia, the term, "gap year" refers to a "prolonged period (often, but not always, a year) between two life stages. This "gap year" is also known as a "year out", "year off", "deferred year", "bridging year", "overseas experience", "time off" and "time out". Taking this time off is actually very popular in Europe and Australia where young adults are encouraged to take a break after high school and before or after college. Graduates are urged to take on meaningful experiences during this time for personal exploration before moving to the next life stage of career or college.

Your graduation from college this year could offer you the same opportunity. You might be thinking about taking the time off, especially if you are not sure what your next career or higher education step should be.

The question to ponder is whether or not taking the "gap year" off a good thing for you?

The answer of course is - it depends. College graduates should weigh the pros and cons of taking this time off and the long term ramifications on future career choices.

Here are some pros for exploring "Gap Year" alternatives:
1. This break could give graduates the time needed to explore career options.
2. Students may be tired of school and might get diminishing returns from paying for classes and not doing well.
3. Graduates might be able to save some money to return to school, get an apartment or some needed transportation.
4. Traveling can help students explore geographical options and other cultures

Here are some of the cons of taking advantage of "Gap Year" alternatives:
1. Students may never want to return to college or further their education. This is quite possibly the most common reason for hesitating.
2. Once away from school, graduates lose touch with college professors and others who could encourage further education or guide career direction.

Some US colleges now understand the increasing urge that high school graduates have for the "gap year" and are now getting on board with innovative programs to meet the needs of these college students.

Explore "Gap Year" programs at your college.

Courtesy of Career Coach Marcie who has trained or coached students and new grads for 10 years on workplace, career, internship and employment success. Subscribe to her BullsEye Career Blog
Posted By: Dr. Marcia Robinson
Friday, January 23rd 2009 at 5:16PM
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