Benefits of Gap Year Work Programs

Adapted from Mike Profita’s blog post on thebalancecareers.com 

Traditionally, a gap year referred to prospective college students who wanted to take some time off prior to beginning their post-high school education. More recently, college students looking for a break during the college years, as well as college graduates, have found the gap year experience to be an attractive alternative.

There are a number of advantageous to pursuing a gap year work program:

It can increase your career readiness and build professional skills

Gap year work programs are just that – one or two-year work experiences placing recent college grads into various professional roles. Whether you are a Teach For America educator, a Green Corps environmental organizer, Global Health Corps researcher or a City Year educational support member, you have a real job with real responsibilities.

It’s an opportunity to explore career options and refine your career goals

Gap year programs can also help participants explore different career options, clarify values, and develop skills which will help them to be successful in the professional world. A gap year  is a short-term commitment, enabling individuals to focus their energies on their career upon their return.

In some cases, living arrangements and other key details are taken care of by the gap year program

Most salaries for gap year programs are modest, so programs often offer assistance with relocation and living arrangements and some actually provide housing.  Programs often connect members with community resources and discounts to stretch their wages.

A wide range of gap programs exists, including those with a focus on national/international service, art, cultural/linguistic immersion, outdoor education, the environment, health, hunger, homelessness, organic farming, and more. Not only will you gain experience, but you’ll also help other people, and it will look good on your resume.

Sound interesting? Please read the Career Center’s Guide to Gap Year and review our Gap Year Programs listing with more than 40 featured paid, gap year work experiences. Or if you have your sights set on an opportunity abroad, check out this list of international gap year programs.