For high school seniors, the path forward has long been set in stone. After graduation, it’s time to immediately make major decisions about your career. Typically that means you head to college, where you’ll spend four years doing pretty much the same thing you did for the last twelve: studying, taking classes, and cramming for tests.
This hasn’t appealed to every student for a variety of reasons—some don’t feel drawn to the college experience, some prefer to pursue technical training in high-demand trades like electrical work or masonry, and others still simply need a breather to take stock and figure out what they really want to do with their lives. Not ready to jump into college or a trade right after high school graduation? Your options have been historically limited.
Thankfully, this is no longer the case. High school graduates and college students have increasingly embraced the opportunity to take what’s known as a “gap year.” These are short breaks between high school and college, usually one to two semesters, designed for students to explore new areas of interest. Maybe that’s volunteer work, internships, or educational opportunities outside of a traditional college setting. Maybe it’s just strapping on a backpack and exploring Europe for a while. The common thread is a desire to step outside of the traditional education system and go out into the world in search of something.
To be certain, there’s no shortage of great programs and pursuits that promise real world experience and a change of scenery for high school grads. Let’s take a look at how a gap year can lead to incredible things for any recent graduate—and why coding academies like Eleven Fifty just might be the best gap year programs around.
Gap Year Benefits
Is it worth it to take a gap year before college? The studies certainly seem to think so! Though its popularity may be growing, the concept of a gap year following high school is nothing new. The idea is fairly simple: following twelve years of schooling, following directions, and generally not having a ton of freedom, a gap year between high school and college can help to reset the student’s mind and give some breathing room. If college is the time when we work directly toward a career goal, shouldn’t there be some time for a student to get real world experience and interactions? How else will they know if the path they choose is right? And what about general burnout?
A gap year has the potential to solve all of these issues. Just take a look at these gap year statistics collected from students who decided to take a year off after graduation day:
- 98% said it helped them develop as a person
- 96% said it increased their confidence
- 94% said it taught them how to interact with people from different backgrounds
- 77% said it helped them find purpose in life
- 73% said it made them more ready for college
For individuals who took a gap year, there are long-lasting results that continue into college and even further on into a career. Students who take a gap year perform better in school than their peers. Much of this may have to do with the fact the time off provides time to choose a major best suited for them, as 60% of those taking gap years said it set them on their current major path, or affirmed the one they had previously been interested in. Finally, research has shown that those taking gap years were far more satisfied with their jobs.
There are some disadvantages of taking a gap year before college, but many of these are based on unfounded fears. One is that you’ll be far behind other classmates, particularly those that you graduated high school with. However, gap-year students spend their time gaining valuable life experiences and lessons; while you may have a year of catching up to do in math or chemistry, you’ll be a year ahead of everyone else in real world experience—especially if you come out of your gap year with some kind of certification or training that gets you ready for the workforce.
Why Coding Bootcamps are Perfect for Gap Years
You may be asking, “What are the best gap year programs?” Clearly you want some gap year ideas that allow you to explore different areas of study, while doing so in a reasonable amount of time. For that reason alone, coding academies are a perfect fit for anyone taking a gap year. These institutions often have short programs known as “coding bootcamps” in which participants spend as little as 90 days powering through programming languages and computer science lessons, all with the purpose of getting students ready for further studies or even a job.
Looking at recent high school grads who have completed courses at Eleven Fifty Academy just as one example, the right gap year program could even bypass the whole concept of a gap before college and jumpstart you right into a high-demand career that aligns with your passions and goals in life—quite the response to anybody who thinks a year off might leave students falling behind their peers.
Coding bootcamps can boost your self-esteem and make you excited about the potential of the professional world. It also can improve soft skills, such as collaboration and communication; additionally, if the boot camp is located in another city, you’ll have an opportunity to explore a new area without being confined to a homogenized campus environment. And, of course, if programming or coding is already an interest of yours, coding academies like Eleven Fifty are perfect, thanks to immersive training that covers all aspects of different tech jobs.
Close the Gap with Eleven Fifty Academy
So, is it a good idea to take a gap year? There’s no one right answer—but if the prospect of taking a deep dive into web development, software development, UI/UX, or cybersecurity is appealing to you, then a gap year might be just what the doctor ordered. Our intense, 90-day bootcamps are designed to not just give you a taste of coding, but to equip you with all of the hard and soft skills as well as teamwork experience you’ll need for a rewarding career in tech. At the end of the 90 days, you might find that you’re ready to work with our Career Services department to find the right job that matches your passion—or you might find that you’ve still got nine months of that gap year left to continue exploring and preparing for whatever comes next.
Take your first step by applying today or scheduling a meeting with an Admissions Advisor to explore your talents, interests, and options to find an Eleven Fifty course that’s right for you.