Are Gap Years a Waste of Time and Money? 7 - 10 Min Reading Time

In South Africa parents are concerned about the financial implication of taking a gap year before their child starts studying. Most parents would rather their child study immediately and get into the work environment to be self-sufficient. Sounds good, but is your child ready to go into this season of his life after 12 years at school? Is your child mature enough? Is your child ready to face life/work challenges? Does your child even know themselves?

Gap years are gaining in popularity among American students, as the New York Times reports. For example, Harvard has seen a 33% increase in the number of students taking gap years and the tendency is growing in South Africa as well.

Lets look at some benefits of taking a gap year to address your concerns according to:

Bridge the GAP - Metamorpho

1. Accelerated Maturity

One of the biggest advantages of gap years is that students will be more mature when they begin college. Most gap year participants will know how to be a good student, but they will lack quality life experiences. Gap years provide students with opportunities to interact with others, take on more responsibilities and become more independent. They must take care of themselves as an adult for the first time. After gap year students begin college, they will be better prepared to deal with the challenges of college.

2. Improved Academic Performance

Another one of the college gap year advantages is that students will academically perform better compared with non-gap year students. However, many students worry that college admission boards and professors look down on gap years. This isn’t true because a gap year demonstrates confidence, accountability and a drive for success. Gap year students tend to have higher scores and become more involved on campus because they are more mature and ambitious. Students who take a gap year are much more likely to return to college within one year because their new experiences help them to identify academic programs that fit their personalities and career goals.

3. Gain a New Perspective

Another one of the advantages of gap years is that students are challenged to leave their comfort zone. Students are usually engaged in something entirely new in a totally different environment. Spending a whole year doing something special will help the student gain new perspective on life, academics and relationships. Gap year students will experience an enhanced understanding of global issues, cultural diversity and abstract ideas.

4. A Chance to Re-focus

One of the advantages of gap years for current college students is that they will have the opportunity to regroup and refocus. College can be a stressful time for students, especially for those who are participating in a program that doesn’t meet their needs or interests. Many students feel worn out between dealing with university academics, maintaining personal commitments, managing financial debt and trying to have fun all at the same time. Temporarily changing course and doing something totally new will provide a much-needed psychological break. Students can take a step back from what they are doing and deeply think about where they really want to go in life.

5. Improve Career Opportunities

Gap year students who return to college invigorated about life will experience new motivation and confidence to make the most of their college experience. They will also be more prone and mature to pursue bigger dreams with the exposure they have had than limit themselves in Career opportunities.

The American Gap Association did a survey about Gap Year students and found the following:

• 98% of students reported that the time off school helped them develop as a person

• 97% said taking a gap year, "increased their maturity."

• 84% of respondents said that taking a gap year helped them acquire useful career skills

• 77% said that a gap year helped them find their purpose in life.

• 90% of students were likely to return to university within a year

• 73% of survey respondents said a gap year increased their "readiness" for college.

At Metamorpho we have seen and experienced the same feedback from students and parents who have gone through our one-year Gap Year process. Here is some feedback from Metamorpho parents who have experienced a working gap year overseas vs Metamorpho as a gap year option:

Ever wondered what the difference is between taking a working gap year overseas compared to doing a gap year like Metamorpho? As parents we have experienced both with our child and have learned the following:

• It is very important to clarify with your child what the expectation of the gap year is. What would we like to achieve, gain, learn, ext. during this year?

•If you are unsure of your future and career choices a year overseas will most probably not bring any clarity on that. Metamorpho invests time in testing, coaching, challenging your child to determine what they want in life and how to obtain that as well as what is hindering them from achieving their goals.

• A year overseas will most definitely allow you and your child to become aware of areas in your child’s interpersonal functioning that still needs development. Metamorpho will create opportunities for your child to become aware of the same and provide teaching, coaching, peer group changing and spiritual perspective on why my behaviour and thinking patterns needs to chance for me to make a meaningful contribution in this life.

• Our child has benefitted a great deal by being part of Metamorpho but at the same time we as a family has been challenged and grew spiritually and emotionally.

Can we recommend Metamorpho?
Without a doubt.
Elmo and Kobie Lombard


Although taking a gap year like Metamorpho has so many advantages a lot of people are still sceptical and proceed with caution.

The question remains when deciding to either study straight after school of take a gap year like Metamorpho: “What is best for your child’s future, maturity and readiness to face life?”

For more info on our Gap Year – Metamorpho please visit www.metamorpho.co.za

Created By
Michelle Janse van Rensburg

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