Impact of the Gap Year

Happy New Year to all! Sticking with the “new” theme as the calendar turns to 2022, we thought we’d bring you some new data from the Gap Year Research Consortium at Colorado College.

At last fall’s Gap Year Association Annual Conference, Bob Clagett, Gap Year Research Consortium Coordinator, presented some early findings from recent research that the Consortium has been conducting. Bob reviewed results from a post-gap year survey that seven colleges and universities sent out to their gap year students from 2020-21 after they finished their gap year. 

While this was not necessarily a representative group of gappers (since most of the 114 respondents decided to take a Gap Year at the last minute and primarily because they did not want to go to college while COVID was still circulating), some interesting results emerge from the quantitative part of the survey. For example, in response to the question “How did your gap year influence how you feel about going to college?”, the students answered Strongly Agree or Agree for:

  • Increased Self-Confidence (81%)
  • More Prepared to Take Full Advantage of College (80%)
  • More Comfortable with Ambiguity and Uncertainty (79%)
  • More Socially and Emotionally Prepared for College (77%)

The top benefits cited from taking a Gap Year included avoiding going to college during COVID (86%), having more downtime and a break from academics (69%) and gaining work experience (69%). The survey also included five open-ended questions, including one that asked students to explain the most important thing they learned from their Gap Year experience. Answers included self-sufficiency, life skills, self-care, increased self-awareness, greater empathy and the importance of hard work.

Click here for a link to the full slide presentation.

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