If you are about to leave high school, the idea of taking a gap year may have crossed your mind before heading off to college. It ultimately acts as a bridge when it comes to deciding what you wish to do next. While you may be aware that many students take time out of their studies, it’s important you are as productive as possible during that year.

The colleges you apply for and future employers will be keen to know how you spent your gap year, so you may need to plan what you’re going to do beforehand to ensure you don’t waste valuable time. By carrying out research, you may discover a vast amount of opportunities you may never have considered doing before – and that’s what makes a gap year all the more exciting.

Apply for internships or work experience

Before heading off to college, it would be hugely beneficial to take out a portion of your year to intern or get some much-needed work experience in your desired industry. In doing so, you’ll get a flavor of what the industry is like, as well as adding extra experience to your resume. You never know – when you do come to graduate in a few years’ time, the company you worked for may remember you and hire you if any positions become vacant!

Travel the world as a vacation

You’ve probably heard of people taking a gap year simply to travel for leisure. While you may think this is a highly unproductive way of spending your year, you’d be surprised how it could boost your prospects. Employers are keen to hire individuals who have traveled, as it shows the skill of independence. Traveling also gives you the opportunity to learn a new language, which is considered a unique and sought-after skill by organizations and even makes you more employable.

You may envision traveling as living out of a backpack and venturing from hostel to hostel, but it doesn’t have to be like that. You could instead enjoy luxury travel experiences, in which your trip around the world can be tailor-made to suit you, from comfortable transfers to first-class accommodation and even having VIP access to events and tours.

Volunteer for a charity abroad

Supporting worthwhile causes during your gap year is undoubtedly a positive way to make the most of your time out. Many students choose to volunteer abroad, whether it be participating in wildlife conversation projects in Africa, working at orphanages in Nepal, or building schools in Romania. It all depends on what you want to get out of the experience. Although you won’t be getting paid from your work, you’ll certainly gain other positives from the experience, such as making new friends, being exposed to different cultural environments, and obtaining a sense of accomplishment for your excellent work.

Study part-time courses

If you’ve always wanted to try something new, why not enroll in a part-time course?  It doesn’t necessarily have to be related to your future career but adds another string to your bow.

You could take up learning sign language, how to cook, playing an instrument or developing your imagination through art or creative writing classes. Each of these skills could boost your chances of being accepted to live in other countries after college.

Paid employment

As a student, it’s always good to get a bit of money behind you before starting college, so a gap year gives you a small window to get a full-time job, whether locally or abroad. There are many paid job opportunities around the world to apply for, including the likes of working on farms in Australia, a ski operator in the Alps, or working in hotels in Austria and Switzerland.