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There are many reasons students are postponing their college plans and taking a gap year during the pandemic. For some, college is simply too costly to take on at this point in time. Others hope to wait until they can attend college courses in person rather than continue with virtual learning. If you are taking some time off from your studies, make the most of your gap year with these tips. 

Make it intentional

If you plan to take a gap year during the pandemic, think about the goals you’d like to achieve during that time. Are you hoping to explore a certain interest or industry? Are you looking to save money for college? There are lots of options to consider including volunteer work in your local community or virtual volunteering. You can also create a LinkedIn profile to search for internship opportunities or project-based work. To make your gap year worthwhile, view it as an opportunity to take small steps towards your goals. 

Consider the risks

You may find that the opportunities associated with taking a gap year look different due to the spread of COVID-19. This includes limitations on international travel and slim internship and job prospects for those with a high school diploma. You may run the risk of falling behind or losing motivation to return to school. Understanding these risks will help you make informed decisions about how you spend your gap year.

Check your mindset

Sometimes students mistake gap years as extended summer vacations. If you’re hoping to take a gap year as a way to stay home and do nothing, you likely won’t experience the benefits of a gap year. Resting and taking care of yourself is important during the pandemic, but you want to make sure your decisions are setting you up for success in the future. It is possible to use the year to your advantage, but you’re going to have to put forth some effort to make that happen. 

Ask for advice

If you’re not sure if a gap year is the right path for you, feel free to talk it through with your high school counselor, parents, families, guardians, or mentors. They will be able to help you evaluate your options and build a plan to hold you accountable. They can also assist you in contacting colleges to check their policies on deferment. Many schools allow you to defer for a year, and others may have you reapply. 

Keep an open mind

Ultimately, there is no right or wrong way to take a break from your studies. Taking a gap year is as productive as you make it. With so many changes happening in the world, you can take this chance to be creative in the way you spend your gap year! 

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