Feeling the Pressure of Applications? 4 Common Gap Year Options

By Daniel Silverberg Modified on November 28, 2017

Some high school seniors have a clear image of how they will earn money as early as elementary school. Others who are still clueless about their future might want to look into taking a gap year. Students take a gap year as a year off formal education between high school and post-secondary education. Gap years first became popular in the United Kingdom during the 1960s, and they are just starting to catch on in Canada.

Last year during application season I was feeling pressure from my parents, guidance counselors, and even peers about deciding what to pursue after high school. I was constantly re-evaluating all of my options even after the application deadline. I chose to go into Laurier’s Economics program, but I wanted hands-on experience to confirm my aspirations. I decided taking a gap year would be my best option.

While deciding on my future post secondary plans. I have been lucky enough to intern with the SchoolFinder Group. In my internship, I have had the opportunity to oversee the school profiles for our many partners. This include setting up, researching and entering data. Also, I was in charge of editing, this consisted of me ensuring all the information on SchoolFinder and ScholarshipsCanada was accurate. This internship gave me valuable experience as I look to start my gap year.

In January, I will be spending the money I saved from my internship to travel to South Africa with an organization called Gap Year South Africa. During the week I will be volunteering with small kids as a sports coach. On the weekends, I will be exploring Cape Town and going on excursions in the surrounding area.

Below are four popular gap year activities:


The best way to find out if you like a career is to try it. For example, if you are considering working with animals you could intern at a zoo or a conservation.

Work and Save Money

Working to earn money is beneficial, because you will have less interest to pay off student loans when you graduate. Alternatively, you can use that money to travel.


A gap year provides plenty of time to go to your dream destination. Many people use this time to backpack, but there are plenty of organizations that have gap year programs. Gap year programs can consist of studying, working, and volunteering.

Volunteer Abroad for Free

You can sign up for programs where you can exchange labour for meals and living accommodations, such as being an Au Pair or WWOOFing (WorldWide Opportunities on Oraganic Farms). You can travel around where you are staying on your days off.

Helpful Resources:

The Telegraph releases an annual article that consists of 100 gap year options: http://www.telegraph.co.uk/travel/gap-year-travel/gap-year-100-companydirectorylearningaskilllanguage/

Upcoming gap year fair in Oakville, ON: https://usagapyearfairs.org/fair/toronto/

Database of gap year programs: https://www.gooverseas.com/gap-year