As a new generation prepares to make a transition for further studies, a section of them are also mulling to take a year off to sit back and prepare in earnest to reach where they want. In most cases it is a college of their choice. Taking a gap year gaining traction Taking a gap year gaining traction Taking a gap year gaining traction
Unlike the past when students and parents would scoff at the thought of a break, the Gen Y is clear in their mind.
About 78% of respondents said that they take a gap year to prepare better for competitive exam. The report is an outcome of an in-house survey conducted by Higher Education Plus (HEP) among students, coaching institutions and college professors.
The pie-chart below represents the outcome of the survey where the maximum chunk of academic environment stated the ‘competitive exam’ to be single major reason for taking a sabbatical year (gap-year).
Prapti Sahu, a 2019 IIM Calcultta pass-out, from Raipur took a gap to prepare for the colleges she aimed for. She says, “Having the right target in mind and focusing on a particular college makes the journey focussed-oriented.” All you need is “determination and persistence to stay with your choice.”
Aastha Singh, 17 yrs, Hyderabad, is currently on a gap year to take coaching from Kota. “I want to crack NEET as I want to be a doctor. The price of a gap year is completely justified once I get a seat in good medial college.”
Gokul P Ram, 99.91 percentile scorer and pass-out of IIM Calcutta 2017-19 batch says, “Gap is worth it, provided you make maximum use of this period and make it count.”
Gap year in the western world
The gap year takes a different meaning in the western countries. In India, when a student decides to take a break it is to prepare for a competitive exam but in western countries a student takes a year off to unwind, travel and just take a break.
A student would travel to a few countries, volunteer for NGOs or just travel in trains across the country. According to Manik Rao an education consultant, taking a year off leads to better grades, increased job satisfaction and the student knows what and where he is heading.”
Besides the students, the coaching institutions also see a trend where students only take a gap if they miss out from a very little margin or don’t get the college they had aimed for.
Whether it’s IIT-JEE, NEET, CPT or any other competitive exam, “The struggle is crucial with lakhs of students competing for mere thousands of seats,” begins S Sankar Rao, Director, Rank Edge Academy. As such, Gap Year is more prominent among “highly determined students who target a specific college”.
He adds further, “However, it is very important for parents and peers to encourage a student who considers taking a gap.” Or else, the phase could get little disappointing under the factors of distraction and influence.
Satya Narayana, administrator, Sri Chaitanya IIT Academy says, “Only 10% of the students in a batch go for gap. Those 10% repeat the concepts just to get a seat in the college of their choice.”
Another factor that prompts students to take a gap is when a student is not clear on the choice and interests. 14% of students would take a gap to explore all the options he/she has in mind. These students go for counselling sessions and attend 3-4 different courses according to which they base their decision on.
Tanya Pandey, 18, Bhopal, completed her 12th standard likes both writing and interior designing. Unable to decide on which path to traverse, she plans to undergo a crash course for both of them, during a gap year.
Parents too are in the game now!
Rekha Patel, a mother of two and resident of Pune is more than willing to let her son Himesh take a year off. Himesh would be heading to Darjeeling and from there to a mountaineering School. Rekha says, “I want him to explore the world and travel teaches one much more.” In an interview to a Tamil daily, film actor turned politician once said, “I learned much more travelling the world than by sitting in a classroom.”
Parents today have opened up to the idea of a ‘gap year’. Mohan R, a career counsellor says, “Parents are not as paranoid of the thought of a gap year any longer. Weighing options and targeting what they want seems to the new mantra. Doing one thing perfectly than doing ten indifferently is what they seem to agree.”
Opportunity for unconventional learning – Life skills
At least, 8% students prefer taking a gap to gain other life-skills like volunteering, team-work, and travel.
It lays on a principle that learning is not limited to processing information. Life teaches in a ‘non-directed’ manner. One goes through experiences and one absorbs, learns through trial, failure, observation, participation and assuming responsibility.
“At school, we are always fed with information, ideas, and perspectives of how others have made sense of the world, what we should eat, buy and so on. We are never given the time or freedom to have our own perspective. The gap year is that breathing space.”
“It’s a gift you give out to learn about yourself,” reveals N Nagaraj, a 12th standard student from a reputed school.
A HEP in-house survey shows that 78% students take a gap-year to score top marks at competitive exams
Taking a year off to explore possible career paths could in the long run save parents angst
Mentioning gap year on resume
It’s a dilemma for many on how to present a gap year on resume. Latha Srivatsan, Education Consultant explains “Not all those who have gap are rejected and not all those who have work experience without gaps are selected.”
“Honesty and disclosure are almost always the best policy when it comes to anomalies in the work history, and that starts with your CV. It’s much better to be upfront about the gap in your timeline, and see this as an opportunity to let people know what you learned during your time away from work.”
Elaina Giolando, a blogger, writes, “A gap year can actually be conducive to achieve your future goals and not a roadblock. But here’s the trick — you need to know how to spin your gap year in a way that makes you shine.” It’s better to reflect inner confidence by explaining why you preferred the gap. In the end, what stands as most important is, a gap year on a CV should enhance the credentials, not diminish them.
Nishant Agarwal, 27, who took a gap year a few years ago says, “There’s no need to panic. A list of your achievements during a gap year shall help you stand out. It actually turns out to be a career-building experience.”
Also, hiring managers are no more surprised to see breaks on a CV. They just expect a good explanation on what has been learnt in that break of yours.
Now, that much has been discussed about a gap year, take a call and go for whatever your confidence-quotient says!