On the one hand, choosing to take a gap year eliminates the difficulty of balancing work, dance activities and auditions, and the college application process during the senior year. But on the other hand, it puts pressure on you to find an alternative to studies (aka what should you do during all this time off!?).
Remember that your reason for taking a gap year must be authentic and maturely discussed by you and your family. It is an important decision to make and cannot be taken lightly.
There are a few things to consider if you are going to take a gap year. If you have an internship or position during the gap year - Bravo! But, if not, then the best decision is one that involves a dedicated plan: an internship, a job, an apprenticeship, a volunteer project, etc. are all viable alternatives. This is especially true since you will likely be dancing!
If you cannot decide between desired majors, then a gap year is a great way to dedicate your time to dancing - to see if it’s really what you want to study. Additionally, volunteering for a favorite project (Habitat for Humanity, for example) is an excellent choice and allows you to explore other interests. As long as you don’t give up your movement practice (it’s our opinion that a dancer should never simply take a year off from dancing unless they have specific reasons for doing so) then you can use your time wisely!
Another reason to take a gap year is to study dance full time in order to improve the chances of scholarship opportunities. Or, to study intensively with a particular dance instructor who would be unavailable in a college environment. Again, another opportunity might be to travel and study a variety of dance techniques in different countries. These types of opportunities add immeasurably to your Resume/CV if you do decide to apply for colleges.
The ONLY difficulty I have found with taking a gap year is going through the application process by yourself and/or not having a counselor available to help you. In this case, check with your college counseling office to see what help would be available to you during a gap year. Set yourself up for success!
Let us know your thoughts and concerns - or your plans!
Photo Credit: Shlomi Platzman
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