daughter wants to take a gap year

5 Questions to Ask Your Daughter Who Wants to Take a Gap Year

One of parents’ biggest concerns, when their daughter expresses she wants to take a gap year, is that she is just procrastinating her goals and that it would be a waste of her time. Many students plan gap years around traveling the world without a concrete plan and end up making impulsive decisions. Gap year programs, on the other hand, provide structure and support for students who are struggling to find direction in their lives on their own. Low self-esteem and hopelessness about the future are warning signs that your daughter may experience failure to launch if she continues to push herself towards goals she is unmotivated to accomplish.

  • What is a gap year?

The name implies that students are taking a gap in their education, when really the gap is to fill in what they haven’t learned in school. A gap year is about what happens after school, how you make decisions, how you figure out who you are, where you want to go, and how you need to get there. It’s about the skill set you need to live your life. Gap-year activities may range from doing volunteer work or taking classes, to working for pay, traveling or tackling outdoor adventures.

  • What are you expecting to get out of a gap year?

Before entering college, having time to reset and recenter can offer a more effective higher educational experience. Gap year programs help young adults avoid academic burnout, so they are more engaged in their school experience upon return. Many students choose to take a gap year to help find their sense of purpose.

Significant influences when deciding to take a gap year include:

  • Gaining life experiences
  • Taking a break from a stressful academic track
  • Gaining independence
  • Exploring study options and career options
  • Volunteering or gaining work experience
  • Figuring out interests, hobbies, and skills
  • Managing mental health struggles


  • How will you create structure for yourself?

Alternative gap year programs, like transitional living, offer a more structured schedule for young adults struggling with mental health issues after completing residential treatment than living on their own. Students are encouraged to create their personal schedules based on a variety of activities offered. Transition programs emphasize developing healthy habits and help young women incorporate exercise, nutrition, and self-care into their lifestyle. 

  • How can you prepare to apply to college? 

Gap years often clarify what a student wants to do in college so that students are more prepared to apply for schools. Sixty percent said their gap year affected their majors and careers by either confirming an early direction or channeling them to a new path. Transition programs, like Journey Home Young Adult, offer college counseling to help young adults prepare for standardized tests, complete college applications, and determine what major may appeal to their skills and values. 

Unlike traditional gap year programs, Journey Home Young Adult encourages students to pursue their education at local schools to work on core credits. For students who are enrolled in classes, mentors offer additional academic support emphasizing study skills, organization, and time management. 

  • Will it be hard to transition to college after a gap year? 

Some parents might worry that their young adult child will put off attending school after returning from a gap year, but 90% of gap year participants return to college within a year of getting back. Students who go to college after a gap year are going into it more mature and better prepared than others. The majority of young adults that take gap years would recommend others try it – and that their gap year helped them become more employable. Young adults that take gap years have been shown to have higher ratings of job satisfaction and civic engagement versus national norms. 

Transition living programs stand out from other gap year programs as they help young adults integrate into the community and develop roots rather than travel aimlessly. They offer a family-like environment for young women to develop a strong support system of peers with similar struggles. By learning independent living life skills, our students are able to utilize this time to get ahead with their goals and thrive in young adulthood.

Journey Home Young Adult Can Help 

Journey Home Young Adult is a transitional living program for young women ages 18-23. This program addresses emotional, behavioral, and mental health disorders that young women may face. Common presenting problems include: depressive disorders, anxiety disorders, body image issues, ADHD and other learning issues, academic struggles and low self-esteem. Journey Home creates an environment conducive to healing where young women can learn healthy coping skills while becoming more well-equipped to launch into adulthood. Students leave this program feeling empowered, happy, and healthy. We can help your family today!

To learn more about our gap year program, contact us at 801-444-0794.


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