• Why a Gap Year Might Be Essential | Emma B Perez | Episode 194

  • gap yearIt’s becoming more and more common for teens to take a gap year in their secondary educations, and parents often get concerned because of some common misconceptions, including that gap years are excuses to skip school and can be damaging to college prospects. Emma B Perez joins Mighty Parenting podcast host Sandy Fowler to help calm parents’ fears regarding gap years and enlighten us as to the benefits and full potential for growth and experiences that gap years actually hold for our teens.

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    A Favorite Quote from the Show: 

    At this age it’s typical for communication between parents and teens to not be great because they are finding their own identity separate from their family. So having them talk to someone else can be very helpful.

    High Points From Our Conversation Why a Gap Year Might Be Essential:

    Quote about gap yearParents get nervous about gap years because they think it’s just their kids taking a year off school.

    Misconceptions about the gap year:

      • It’s a year off to do nothing—actually a gap year can be productive, a year of growth with or without school
      • It’s expensive—some are, some aren’t; some are free, some even have a stipend depending on the school and circumstances
      • It’ll look bad to colleges—many colleges encourage gap years because roughly 90% of kids who take them show marked improvement physically, socially, and academically when they later attend college

    Gap year can be whatever you want it to be:

      • Recovery from burnout is one of the most common reasons kids take gap years
      • Have a schedule that’s less full and allows your teen to sleep (eight hours a night ideally, or more)
      • Help them find a shifted job or volunteer gig that allows for recuperative sleep
      • Focus on self-care and emotional wellness

    Identify your teen’s intentions for the year and what they want to be different at the end of the year.

    Gap year means time to explore and decide what they want to do; it gives them time to mature and look around at options—part-time jobs, volunteering, internships, etc.

    LinkedIn allows accounts at 16 years old—encourage your teen to start a network, ask to interview or job shadow in areas they find interesting.

    If your teen wants to try service programs, that’s great, there’s many out there; just keep a purpose in mind when choosing one (service, travel, etc.).

    Americorp and Citiyear are free and give you a stipend. If you do it before college you can get scholarships—and of you do it after college, you can get money to pay off student loans.

    Colleges look favorably on gap year kids:

    • They come in more mature—older and with more experience
    • They took initiative to create or participate in programs or jobs
    • Grades tend to be better

    There are people doing programs after college or even taking a break during college.

    It’s a very individual decision, thinking on a gap year. Gap year counselors know the programs and the companies and are adept at helping your family decide.

    As you talk to your child, remember what their experience is right now. Current expectations of kids after high school is college: Teachers say, “When you go to college,” and friends are talking about ACT scores and acceptance letters. Try to bring your child around to “why” and encourage them to really think about, why college? Why that college? Is college really the path I want to take right now? If they really do and think it’s right, that’s wonderful! Just remind them that college doesn’t have to be the end-all be-all for their secondary education—there are other options if you’re willing to explore them.

    Resources:

    When You Or Your Teenager Are Always Tired | Dr. Saundra Dalton-Smith | Episode 148 

    https://www.cityyear.org 

    https://americorps.gov 

    Our Guest Emma B Perez:

    Emma B Perez talks about gap yearFounder of Be On Purpose, LLC, Emma is a mentor who specializes in helping teens and young adults craft who they want to be and how they will impact the world. She began this path a decade ago working in admissions at a University. Before long she was visiting hundreds of high schools all over the Metro of Atlanta to conduct college and career workshops for tens of thousands of students. Now she works directly with families. With her program Life Quest, she guides students through self-discovery, career exploration, and vision creating. This ​leads young people to a future that allows them to live thriving and fulfilling lives. 

    To learn more or connect with our guest visit emmabperez.com.

    Our Sponsor:

    Sandy Fowler: Are you stressed but don’t have time to deal with it? I get it. Grab my complimentary lesson at http://sandyfowler.com/notime to find out how to start feeling better today.