To “GAP Year” or Not?
The decision whether to continue on directly to grad school after undergraduate studies, or to take 1-2 years and work in an intern or entry level capacity in your target career area, is to a large degree dependent on your confidence in your career plans, financial resources, and whether you meet all the admissions criteria for the program(s) of interest to you.
If you are not sure of the career options or diversity of possible “specialization” directions within your target occupational area, you should explore options further before looking at graduate programs.
Before you finalize a decision to take a gap year, remember that:
- Students right out of college tend to score highest on Admissions Tests like the GRE; perhaps because study habits are fresh or because it’s easier to carve out study time. If you decide to take a gap year, you may want to take the GRE sooner than later.
- Two to three recommendations will be required as part of your application process, and most often, these come from faculty. Build positive relationships with your Eckerd professors and mentors. If you take a “gap year” remember to maintain these relationships so they are available when you decide the time for school is right. If you have worked a number of years and are pursuing a graduate degree after a “gap”, your work supervisor may also act as a reference for you.
If you are confident and have already selected a program, make sure to identify all admissions criteria including course prerequisites and GPA. Some programs, particularly science and pre-med, have very specific course requirements that may not have been required for your undergraduate degree. Perhaps your GPA is not as strong as you need to be competitive. If you find you need a course or two and cannot complete them in the time before the next available program start date, explore options, including starting at your target institution as a “non-degree seeking” student to complete those courses while working an internship or job in the area and building institution relationships.