World of Work / Gap Year Pathway

Overview of Gap Year

  • A gap year is the fastest growing post-secondary pathway, and it is full of benefits for college bound students. A gap year is not a year “off,” it is a year “on.” Students who take a gap year should be doing something, but that will look different for each individual student. Ultimately, a gap year should help better prepare students to enter a 2-year or 4-year college, and contribute to the growth of the student. Students typically choose to a take a gap year for any of the following reasons:

    • Work to gain financial stability prior to college

    • Take a break from school due to educational fatigue

    • Volunteer or complete a mission trip

    • Explore personal interests to determine a major and career pathway

    • Travel before beginning college and a career

    Students who plan to take a gap year should still apply to college during their senior year. This provides students with the support of their counselor and the Post-Grad Center that they will not have access to after graduation. Most colleges permit students to defer their acceptance for one year; some colleges even have gap year programs built into their admissions and matriculation process!

Benefits of a Gap Year

  • Research continuously shows that students who take a gap year and matriculate to college have a higher retention and completion rate in college. Why? Typically they are more mature, more focused, more financially stable, and have a better understanding of their goals after college. Learn more about the research behind gap years here.

World of Work/Straight to Work

  • Many students will choose to go straight into the workforce after graduating high school. Cherokee Trail graduate data reflects students who choose this pathway typically complete some sort of formalized training 1-2 years post-graduation, either through CTE, college, or on the job certifications. Therefore, we combined the “straight to work” pathway with a Gap Year since this is typically the ultimate outcome.