Hey Chris, thanks for the question and congratulations on making that decision! I have to admit, I am a bit concerned that you don’t know what your plans are for the gap year. However, I am going to give you the benefit of the doubt and assume that you are weighing your options of what to do during this time. Fair enough?
From what we are hearing, there’s a growing number of students considering taking a gap year given the uncertainties of what next fall will look like for colleges. Some colleges like the University of Vermont have announced that they will have in-person classes again come Fall 2020. However, that is not a trend that all colleges have adopted for a number of reasons.
Contact your college and ask them!
Chris, to get back to your question, the most important to do is to ask the college you matriculated in and deferred is to ask what you are able to do during this time. One of the common practices with taking a gap year is to make sure you don’t enroll in another degree program at another college or university. If you are planning on taking classes (I recommend you stay active academically), you want to make sure you don’t enroll at another college.
Do an internship!
Regardless of your major, I think this is a good opportunity to get involved early with experiential learning opportunities that will enhance your academic experience. Many students wait until the summers or until their junior year in college to do this. You can get a headstart and work on your professional skills and continue to build your network. Keep in mind that not all internships will be paid but either way is good experience. You can start looking for local opportunities in organizations like the YMCA and Make a Wish Foundation. In addition, here are three internships you can apply for now:
- Hutton Junior Fisheries Biology Program
- The Secret Service Student Volunteer Service Program
- Kaiser Permanente’s KP LAUNCH Health Care internship program
Find Volunteering Opportunities!
There are great opportunities around us but also abroad and while you should take precautions, I want you to know your options. If volunteering abroad is appealing, make an extensive Pro’s and Con’s list, and share with family members for their input. Here are three places where you can search and apply for such opportunities:
Wishing you a joyful gap year and that you can look back at this time with much joy. I hope you stay active academically, so here’s one last thing you could be doing while doing your internship or volunteering — learn online on edX.