gap year - a period, typically an academic year, taken by a student as a break between secondary school and higher education.
The term “gap year” is more commonly applied to students who take a year (or less, rarely more) away from their regular studies, usually between high school (upper secondary school) and college (university). Some students may instead take a gap year before starting the last stage of their secondary education (such as A-levels), or even after graduating from university, to better prepare themselves for entering the workforce. As such, a gap year can be any break taken between life stages, whether that is between school and university, between university and formal work, or when changing careers or going into retirement later on in life.
A gap 'year' is defined as a period of time between 3 and 24 months which an individual takes 'out' of formal education, training or the workplace where that time sits in the context of a longer term career trajectory.
The term 'gap year' covers a large range of activities which are best categorised around the 'break point' at which a young person undertakes one. Most young people participate in more than one kind of activity.
Essentially students take a gap year to take a break off of school. Some build their resumes and work or volunteer. Some travel abroad. Generally students take this time off to become more independent, figure out what they really want to study for in college, or save money up for college. More information on why to take a gap year can be found in the pros section.
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