Tips for Taking a Gap Year from Gould Academy and TIME Magazine

May 21, 2014


A recent TIME Magazine article features Gould Academy’s Jules Arsenault ’14, who will wait a year before attending college.

The article is a good read for those families navigating the option of a gap year.

It features the sound advice of our Director of College Counseling, Brooke Libby, who reminds Jules’s mom and parents everywhere that while the gap year may not be the right path for some, it can be the perfect path for others.

As Jules explains to TIME, “It will give me time to figure out what I want to do.”

And as a college student on the brink of graduation puts it in the article, “Taking a gap year was the best decision I ever made.”


(Credit: Ludovico Cera

(Credit: Ludovico Cera


For those families exploring the idea of a gap year, there are three takeaways in the article that may help ease anxiety and ensure success.

1) Apply to college but then defer enrollment

“Set the stage,” says Ms. Libby. “Applying to college is important not just for having a place to land, but for putting all the pieces in motion for when the student is ready like essays, teacher recommendations, etc.”

2) Have a plan

This was reinforced recently by a panel of admissions reps visiting Gould during our Spring Parent and Family Weekend and was again by Ms. Libby.

“It’s important for a student to be able to define his or her goals for the year. It’s a good habit of adulthood to know, if not exactly the step-by-step plan, what you hope to accomplish or experience,” she says. “It’s really a case of creative confidence – make your case (to yourself, to your parents, and to colleges) about why this is your path.”

3) Have financial skin in the game

After graduation in June, Jules will work into October to save for his trip to Southeast Asia. He tells me he’s really excited and part of that comes with the effort of making it happen.

What are Jules’s tips for those thinking about a gap year?

“Don’t put all your eggs in one basket. Think of different things you can do with your time rather than just one.”

“Be outside.” (Spoken by a true Gould student)

“Be mindful of the moment.”

We are confident in Jules’s decision.


Leave a Reply