gap year

There are plenty of great reasons to take a gap year before starting college. Maybe you have the opportunity to travel, you’re working to save up money, or you just want to take some time to decide your path.

Whatever the reason, taking a gap year can be a smart move, but you might find yourself having to play catch-up once you’re ready to get back into school.

Getting ready for college life after a gap year

The experiences you have during a gap year can be once-in-a-lifetime opportunities you wouldn’t trade for the world. But remember that life doesn’t stop.

Here are some tips to get you ready to dive back into classes, essays, and exams after that marvelous gap year.

1. Applying to schools

Having extra time before going to college can really help you decide where in the world you want to end up and what you want to devote your life to. It’s important not to procrastinate, though.

By applying to schools early and being realistic about how many schools you apply to (not so many that you’re wasting your time, but enough that you’ll have a back-up in case you don’t get your top choice) you can get the most out of this extra time and not be stressed out by applications.

Take your gap year to explore your passions and have experiences you can use in college essays and bring into the classroom when you get back into school.

2. Put a lot of focus into financial aid

Even if you’re using your gap year to save money for school, never overlook financial aid resources. Once you’ve applied to schools and you receive financial aid packets, talk to someone directly.

If you talk to someone whose knowledgeable about the system, and you explain your unique situation, that person can usually find extra aid for you or at least point you in the direction of scholarships and grants to apply to.

3. Always keep paperwork in order

It’s a hassle to get accepted by a school and then have to provide documents for registration, transfer credits, and financial aid. Make your life easy by staying on top of your paperwork, turning things in before deadlines, and making checklists for yourself.

It’s easy to forget about something like your SAT scores or AP credits after not thinking about school for awhile. Online resources and organizations like Launch Education are great places to go if you need to take or retake placement tests before returning to school.