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Pandemic causes a spike in gap year interest

Posted at 7:04 AM, Aug 03, 2020
and last updated 2020-08-03 08:04:35-04

The coronavirus has changed life as we know it.

It’s even forced high school students to reconsider their future plans. In a normal year, 60,000 students take a gap year, but that number may soon skyrocket.

Now, the possibility of paying full price, but only getting an online learning experience, has some students rethinking college, at least for the next year. But is a gap year a good option? Since the start of the COVID-19 outbreak in early March, there’s been a 60 percent increase in Google searches for the term.

If you’re considering it, there are some things to know. First, not all colleges grant gap year deferrals, but they are more likely if you present them with a clear goal of what you want to learn.

Some will require you to reapply the next year. Also, if you receive financial aid, the amount could change if your finances do. If you do choose to take a year off, experts recommend pursuing volunteer opportunities, mentoring programs, or online internships.

According to a survey conducted in late March, about 20 percent of high school students who planned on enrolling in a four-year college said it’s likely their plans will change due to the coronavirus. And as international travel may be out of the question in the fall, consider national groups like AmeriCorps or Teach For America to help those who need it the most during your gap year.

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