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How to plan a gap year? Resources, tools & tips

Published on October 6, 2020


How to plan a gap year? Resources, tools & tips

In one of our previous article, we explored 7 benefits of a gap year and why you should take one right after high school especially if you lack clarity on your long term goals. Since we have covered the why, it is time to check out the how and when. In this article, we will explore how to plan, what tools and resources to use, the best time to start your planning, etc.

A gap year can either be extremely rewarding or wasteful!! If planned well, the benefits can be tremendous. On the contrary, if left unplanned, it can have negative outcomes as well.

While this may seem daunting at first, it doesn’t have to be. We have created this guide to help maximise your experience.

Set Up Goals

The first and foremost thing to start with are your goals. Writing your goals down will help you stay focused and on course to best utilise this time. Below are a few questions to help you get started:

• Do you want to learn a particular skill? Like dancing, cooking, coding, speaking a new language, etc.

• Would you rather volunteer? Maybe at a farm, at an animal shelter, help people build homes, etc.

• Or would you work as an intern and learn how business works, increase exposure in sales, marketing, finance, etc.

• Or would you want to travel and be on the road and learn to scuba dive, improve your photography/writing skills?

• Would you like to start a business and experiment to earn some money?

• Spend time deciding what you want to do – the list can go on

Mental Mapping

During our conversations with both parents and students, we realised that there is a misconception on the term gap year in India. The perception that the majority carry is one where both parents & students think of it as a time for vacation or one that is going to be wasteful. Whereas, it is exactly the opposite of that. While you are primarily taking a break from curriculum-based education, you are required to be diligent, organised and disciplined during the whole period.

Hence, it is important to align your thought process with the outcome and desired results rather than thinking of this as a wasteful time period.

When To Start?

We think that it is ideal to start planning almost a year in advance since most aspects tend to be beyond our control. Constraints like convincing parents, figuring out what to do, financing your gap year, paperwork (if you decide to travel), applications to organisations for work/volunteering gigs, etc. need time to materialise & are most often beyond our control and so it is best to figure these out a year before your gap year begins.

Step By Step Process:

Below is an outline on how to structure the process and how to begin your gap year journey!! While this is a guideline, there can be several ways to do this:

Step 1: Set up your goals on what you want to achieve in your gap year

Step 2: Start your research, speak to others who have done it or who you think can help you guide in this process

Step 3: Network with others who have done it or who you think can help you through this process

Step 4: Get in touch with organisations, understand their requirements, get started with your interviews, admissions process, etc.

Step 5: Start your paperwork – visas, other documentation, etc.

Step 6: Figure out your finances and how you will manage them

Step 7: START & periodically track your progress

Resource Ideas To Help You Get Started

While there are numerous resources and organisations that support gap year for high school students in the west, the whole process is not as streamlined as we would like for gap year in India. Nonetheless, we have compiled a list that will come in handy while you do your own research.

Volunteering Resources:

Indian organisations:

Goonj – Disaster relief, humanitarian aid & community development

Robinhoodarmy – is an organisation that helps in reducing food wastage

Teachforindia – help educate the underprivileged

Indianredcross – provides humanitarian support to human life and health to individuals based in India

Workaway – Cultural exchange, volunteering and working holiday experiences in over 170 countries.

WWOOF – Volunteer opportunities on organic farms, sustainable living and home stays across the world.

Internship resources:



Wrapping Up:

We hope that you can see the benefits a gap year will have if you plan it well. It will have a profound effect on your future if you consider this from the perspective of learning and not something that is a waste of your time, effort and energy.

The life skills and memories that you end up making during your gap year will mostly last you a lifetime and also gear you up for tougher challenges further up in the road.

For any questions that you might have – please post them below in the comments section. One of our advisors will be happy to guide you further.

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