Before one starts one’s quest for the future and deciding on an academic career track wait for a while then get on with the serious business of growing up, from a carefree teenager to a focused adult. A breather before the relentless pursuit of all what is desired and coveted. Before embarking on one’s tryst with destiny a well deserved gap year. Because major decisions in life must be taken circumspectly, not impulsively and certainly not by default or by a process of elimination. Taking a gap year after high school is a phenomenon that has become increasingly popular in India. The Gap Year concept originated in the decade following the Second World War when youth travel and cultural exchange was discussed amongst governments as a useful tool to create global understanding to prevent further wars. Started then, this is a tradition followed in Britain for many decades where students typically take time out to hitch and travel the world, culturally immerse themselves learn some new skills or sport like photography, teaching or deep sea driving or engage in community service for cause that they believe in.
Striking a balance A growing number of students in India are now are taking a year off after finishing high school board examinations or after college to study and prepare for various competitive test like the IIT-JEE, CAT, GMAT and the like.
The trend may well be a sensible decision on part of the students as in the past many students have been known to jeopardize their board or final year examinations while preparing for engineering management, medical or law entrance tests. A concentrated preparation regimen for the more competitive tests may well ensure that student bogged down with split loyalties; that of board examinations and those of the entrance tests. This will enable them to attend tutorials or coaching classes if desired unhindered by time constraints and also spend sufficient time preparing independently with the plethora of study material that is available to them. Many students decide to work on university selections filing of applications and essay writings and preparation for the GMAT, SAT and TOEFL iBT tests after finishing high school or college.
DSR decided to take the TOEFL and SAT after finishing his ISC examinations so that he could concentrate on a scholarship winning application effort. He made it to Drexel University and has done remarkable well. So have two others who took time out after finishing their bachelor degrees to concentrate on the GMAT and finally made it to a good university in the US and also secured scholarship. Another B also used the gap year to increase his proficiency in the Spanish language. Their parents were completely supportive and their faith has been vindicated by their children’s success. A year was not a high price to pay. Many others are vouching for the same.
Taking the gap year has majority been favored by those applying to universities abroad. Having decided to apply to a university abroad, all documentation needs to be meticulously put together and sent within the deadlines. Meticulous preparation is made for the visa application and interview. This is the time well spent towards actualizing goals. Many who are keen to join a reputed B school in India also take time to study and prepare for the CAT, XAT, MAT, tests, for entry to the coveted B- schools.
Every good student must realize that there are hundred as good as them in every country and a few thousand from over the world who will apply to the same school as they are applying to. How do they pick the winners? Sell yourself through a well packaged application. Take time out after high school to do that. If it takes a year; so be it because you have worked at good scores in the SAT and TOEFL and written candid essays and a lucid statement of purpose. Your recommenders have done their best and you have an application that makes them sit up and take notice. Only then, you could make it to the desired B-school.