Why Take a Gap Year?

A gap year is anything but a year off. Deciding to defer college for a semester or a year is often the most important educational decision a student makes, and is supported by top colleges and universities. Gap years are formative experiences that encourage personal growth while helping students determine how they want to spend the next four years and beyond.

Each Rustic Pathways Gap Year program lasts for one semester and is designed to provide different opportunities for travel, cultural immersion, service and non-cognitive skills development. Among the many possibilities, students can immerse themselves in Latin American culture, learn marine conservation in the South Pacific, or intern with a Rustic Pathways partner organization.As you determine to take a gap year, consider these trends and statistics with help form the American Gap Association.
Many colleges and universities are accommodating-encouraging, even-of their students taking a gap year. For example, in its acceptance letter, Harvard suggests that incoming freshmen take a gap year to mature before stepping foot on campus. Look through this list of college deferral policies hosted by the AGA.

  • 98% of gap year students indicated that their gap year experience helped them grow as a person.*
  • 97% of gap year students indicated their experience helped them gain maturity and 96% answered that their experience on a gap year gave them more self-confidence.*
  • 75% of gap year alumni in the survey believed their gap year improved their preparation for college, impacted their career field, or helped them get a job.*

Traveling in a group during a gap year increases a student’s empathy, ability to work with others, and their ability to express themselves. These all have academic benefits when the student decides to return to the classroom.

*Data from the AGA 2015 National Gap Year Alumni Survey