Popular gap year program, Where There be Dragons, says: "Gap years...occur at a developmental stage in which big decisions are being made. Gap Year students take time to reflect and experience a larger world with real consequences BEFORE making decisions about the rest of their lives."
"Many of us are concerned that the pressures on today’s students seem far more intense than those placed on previous generations... We want to do everything possible to help the students we enroll make the most of their opportunities, avoiding the much-reported “burnout” phenomenon that can keep them from reaching their full potential."
According to the Gap Year Association, gappers overwhelmingly spend their time traveling, growing personally, exploring study options, and volunteering.
AGA also reports that 90% of gap year students return to college within the year and those who did significantly outperformed their peers in terms of GPA.
"A gap year presented itself as a chance to claim the independence that formalized education had not encouraged. It was an opportunity to discover a sense of purpose outside of school, to prompt some thinking on those questions before graduating. Without classes and the path to a degree as a crutch that gave structure to my days, I’d be forced to create a structure of my own."