Fall 2019 students on the Verto South Pacific semester pose in front of a remarkable Fijian sunset
What adventures await you for the rest of 2020 and 2021? Perhaps things haven’t gone according to plan when it comes to starting college, but that doesn’t mean all is lost. Maybe you’ve been thinking about deferring a semester or year, working, or taking online courses?
With uncertainty looming, many college-bound students like you have been hoping to make more of an impact and avoid falling behind in their college careers. Meanwhile, colleges and universities are taking a look at what they’re truly able to offer students – and at what cost. Even in a typical college admissions cycle, students are asked to consider a new host of questions before signing up for four years: about what you value, what you’ll major in, and how to make an impact on the world around you. It’s overwhelming, to say the least. But these questions are all critically important to consider before diving into debt or committing to a college that might not be the right fit.
Hence, students and colleges are now looking at “deferrals” and “gap years” as potential opportunities to consider these big questions and help students get intentional about how they’ll impact the world.
Do you know the difference between deferral and a true gap year? Perhaps you didn’t realize there even was a difference! Verto’s VP of Admissions, Ben Welbourn, sat down with Jason Vallozzi from Campus to Career Crossroads to speak more about what a true gap year entails. Take a look at some of their main points below or read the full story here.
- A “deferment” simply tells the university that the student will be enrolling in a later semester or year. A true “gap year” is the assertion that students will be enrolling in a later semester or year, but utilizing that time for self-reflection, work experience, travel, or service-learning. Gap years are typically focused on gaining life experience and self-awareness to prepare students for their college careers and beyond.
- A gap year can enhance college learning by allowing students time to reflect and develop passions before spending time and money on college. As Ben states in his discussion with Jason: “A semester like Verto saves many students from four years of the wrong major, and quite possibly 20 years of the wrong career. It’s a chance to try a bunch of possible college majors out in the real world before you arrive on campus.”
- Gap years can be transformational, or just passing the time – students get back what they put in. Says Ben: “Gap year students regularly report higher graduation rates, higher GPAs, and greater participation on campus than their peers. They also self-report a greater sense of purpose, confidence, and career readiness. This isn’t automatic though. As my mother, a retired high school counselor, told my 18-year-old self before my gap year, a gap year is not sitting at her kitchen table filling out college applications.”
- There are opportunities to make the most of a gap year by enrolling in a planned semester or program, such as Verto, where students take courses for college credit while participating in active learning that helps them take stock of the world around them.
Due to the challenges that students face today, Jason and Ben agree that it’s important for students to have a defined plan for the multitude of scenarios they may face this fall and spring. A semester like Verto’s Hybrid Semester, or Global Impact Year, is a great fit for students who are looking to move forward with their college careers and get outside of the box before they’re able to return safely to a campus environment. Continue reading more of Ben’s and Jason’s advice on the Campus to Career Crossroads website.