6 Common Myths About Taking a Gap Year – What to Know!

by | Mar 16, 2020 | Featured, Gap Year, Independent Living, Internships, What to Know

Myth #1…  A gap year means I have to go abroad.

Contrary to what many may think- while you certainly can go international- you don’t have to go far away to experience the benefits of a gap year. There are many students who don’t want to go abroad for a year or parts of the year. That’s why there are domestic gap opportunities, allowing you to take a gap year without ever leaving the United States. At Dynamy you will work with an advisor to select from 100+ different internship opportunities throughout Worcester, MA.  In conjunction with your internship, you will benefit from city apartment living, personal and college advising and optional college seminars through Clark University.

Myth #2…  A gap year is too expensive.

While the expense of a gap year can range, there are many options that are less expensive than a traditional year in college. But there are options for making the more expensive choices affordable as well. Some gap opportunities offer financial aid or scholarships. Some students will work for a semester to save up for their gap experience- for example, they will work in the fall and take a gap semester in the spring. On top of the short-term savings, taking a gap year can potentially help you save money in the long run. After taking a gap year, you can start or return to college with more focus and certainty in your personal path. This allows you to complete college in the most efficient time, not needing any extra semesters due to a lack of focus or switching your major.

Myth #3… A gap year has to be a full year.

I know the name suggests that a gap year has to be a year, but it actually doesn’t! As the student, you get to decide how long you would like your gap experience to be. That might be a few weeks, a full semester, a year or even two years, that’s for you to decide. Dynamy mimics a college calendar with a fall semester and a spring semester. With these options, you can choose to complete a full year or just choose the semester that works best for you. If you choose to enroll in Dynamy for a full year, you will have the opportunity to work in up to three internships! If you choose to attend Dynamy for just one semester, you will work at one internship location. And with over 100+ internship choices, chances are you will find one that sparks your interest and helps you learn more about yourself and your passions!

Myth #4… A gap year will mean I’m falling behind academically.

This is a popular fear and misconception of those considering a gap year. However, there are many gap year options out there that offer the opportunity to earn college credits! Dynamy offers this to you by giving access to college classes through Clark University. You’ll have the chance to enroll in as many as three courses (four college credits each!) which include Organizational Behavior, Issues of Race, Class and Gender, and Social Identity and Personal Action. This is something that can actually put you ahead by taking a gap year- taking a gap year can teach you more about life and living than an academic classroom can teach you. So, if you choose a gap year where you are also earning college credit, you’re not falling behind, and you’re also getting life lessons you otherwise would not be learning at this time.

Myth #5…  A gap year will be frowned upon by college admissions offices.

According to Gap Year Association 90% of students who took a gap year returned to college within a year (https://gapyearassociation.org). After Dynamy, 85% of students leave to head off to a two-year school, a traditional four-year college/university, or trade program. Dynamy graduates have gone on to attend major universities across the country including small private schools, large state schools, and even some Ivy Leagues.   At Dynamy, we have a college counselor that helps students navigate the college process. This college advising can lead to many students finding schools that are a best fit given their areas of interest leading to increased success after their time at Dynamy has finished.

A recent methodology to track gap year students’ over/underperformance of GPA was designed by Bob Clagett, former Dean of Admissions at Middlebury College. This methodology tracked the academic rating of an incoming student including everything of an academic nature that is received in the application process (grades, the rigor of high school program, scores, teacher and counselor recommendations, even “fire in the belly” as demonstrated in the applicant’s essays). It is usually an excellent predictor of academic performance in college. When Clagett controlled for the academic rating and looked at the actual academic performance of students who took a Gap Year compared to their predicted performance based on their academic rating, students who took a gap year almost always overperformed academically in college, usually to a statistically significant degree. Most importantly, the positive effect of taking a gap year was demonstrated to endure over all four years. (https://gapyearassociation.org)

Myth #6…  I’m too old to take a gap year.

Dynamy students range between 17-22 years old. We do get students coming from high school, but others have been to college before. According to GYA, 77% of gap year students took the time between high school and college/postsecondary education. But a quarter of students who took a gap year took that time during or after college- before grad school (https://www.gapyearassociation.org/assets/2015%20NAS%20Report.pdf   – pg. 13). The common theme is that students want to grow, learn and explore outside of the academic world. It is common for gap year programs to be geared towards emerging young adults but each program/ organization is different

Conclusion

There are many misconceptions out there about taking a gap year. Too often, these myths prevent students from exploring their passions and learning by doing, as they believe that a gap year will be too expensive, or that it will hold them back. Given all the research at our disposal, it can be argued that a gap year prepares young adults better for their next steps than more traditional options.

Please reach out to the Dynamy Admissions team, if you think a gap year is right for you. We’re happy to help!

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