While my kids are still young, I have a lot of friends with kids in high school. My little brother is graduating from high school next month so when 4-H asked me to share my thoughts about kids taking a college gap year, I know it would be a great fit! They’re sponsoring this conversation but as a mom and former teacher, I have plenty of ideas for all parents to think about!
Is a College Gap Year Right for Your Family?
As an elementary teacher and then a special education teacher, I learned the value of letting kids have opportunities to make decisions. They don’t have to be huge, life-altering decisions. They can be simple choices made throughout the day and you can even structure the decision making options.
By giving our kids the chance to make decisions on an everyday basis, I hope we’re preparing them for making bigger decisions when the time comes. And the time will come! Sooner than we realize!
For many parents raising teenagers, one of the biggest decisions sitting out there is the one about college. I like to call it the, “What’s Next?” decision because it’s a huge one.
Taking a College Gap Year
One of the best things Grambo did for me was let me take a year off — my gap year. Taking a gap year before college is a big decision to make but it can be a great choice for certain people. I used it to work and save up some money while also moving into more of a leadership position at my job.
It gave me the chance to build even stronger leadership skills that helped me be prepared for college and life after my first degree! I like to think some of that experience is also what later motivated me to go back to school for my master’s degree! As I moved through my education and career, I felt like I really knew what I wanted.
Here are some things that your child can
- Can give them a break from the stress that comes with education and figure out what they want
- May help them develop maturity and independence
- Can give them the opportunity to focus on their goals
- Provides experience with the reality of the world after school
Whether your child takes a college gap year or continues their education right after high school, one of the most important things you can do is give your child opportunities to develop leadership skills. Every child has the potential but they need to learn the life skills that are needed to be a true leader. These opportunities will look different depending on your child and their interests. It may be a gap year for some, straight to a four-year college program, or perhaps even serving in the armed forces. There are so many options.
Programs like those offered through 4-H give kids the opportunities to gain experience that helps them develop skills and get prepared to make these big decisions and be leaders when the time comes. In support of this belief, 4-H has launched their Grow True Leaders campaign which recognizes youth leaders. You can can give a shout out to one you know by joining 4-H’s ThunderClap! Show some love for the kids in your life who are making a difference!
Adobe Stock Photo Credit: Syda Productions (top), seanlockephotography (middle)
This is a sponsored conversation written by me on behalf of 4-H. The opinions and text are all mine.