Program vs. Self-Structured Article Type: Fight Club
|Gap Year Program||Self-Structured|
|Important Stats||Important Stats|
Programs are designed to provide meaningful experiences, build your resume, and even sometimes earn college credit. The good ones will also have community and government connections developed through years of operation which will provide opportunities that may not be open to independent individuals. Programs will also assist with logistics and travel, which can be quite complicated.
Freedom and flexibility. Don’t like working in a specific place? Move on. Oh, and you won’t be paying anyone to set stuff up for you. Doing some unstructured travel, such as backpacking or finding a freelance job or working full-time or part-time are great options.
There will be less freedom. Many programs will require that you agree to certain codes of conduct. So if you have visions of going wild during your gap experience, think again. There’s also the cost to consider. Most programs provide a lot, so they charge a lot. Be sure it’s in your budget.
Complication. You are going to have to arrange for every detail of your experience, from travel to housing to work to food. Are you ready for that?
Going through an organization to help set up your gap year experience is the most common option chosen for students taking this route. There are loads of programs out there — so many that one is bound to meet your needs.
Bet on a Program If…You have the funds to pay, and want to get the most out of a gap experience (as well as have someone else take care of the logistics).
Whatever your idea is for your gap year, you may decide to organize it on your own. Very independent of you, just know what you are getting into.
Bet on Winging It If…You have a very specific goal, itinerary, or responsibility in mind and you excel at hammering out the details and holding yourself accountable. Sometimes it's good to be spontaneous in life anyways. #yolo