Podcast #8: The Benefits of a Gap Year

In the last episode of the Growing Leaders Podcast, we interviewed Dan Pink, author of A Whole New MindDrive, and To Sell is Human. In today’s episode, we discuss the benefits of taking a gap year.


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Episode Summary

Gap Year – A year of time between high school and college where exploration, experimentation and work experience is gained.


Three Biggest Things that Happened for Tim’s Kids Working at Growing Leaders

1. They traveled

  • They went on trips.
  • Travel is an education in itself.

2. They did lots of assessing of themselves

  • Some were literal assessments.
  • They were able to evaluate and reflect as they worked.

3. They got good old-fashioned work experience

  • They worked and realized it’s not easy.

Six Benefits of a Gap Year

1. Gives them time to clarify their identity.

  • Often students move from one pressurized environment (high-school) to another (college) and don’t have time to think or reflect.
  • They are often consumed with “What’s my major?”, “How many credit hours?” and forgot to cement their identity.
  • 40% of college students today end up changing their major multiple times because they are wandering and searching for their identity.
  • A gap year allows them time to become.

2. Enables them to develop their emotional intelligence.

  • Success in college is 25% EQ and 75% IQ.
  • Success in the real world is 75% EQ and 25% IQ.
  • EQ is rarely taught or developed by sitting in a classroom.
  • This gap year allows them to develop EQ before entering into the classroom.

3. Helps them choose a college that actually fits.

  • It is better to choose a college that fits each student rather than choosing based on peers.
  • This time allows for assessment (pro/con list) to choose a college wisely.
  • A gap year helps each student identify their next step (college, work, etc)

4. Equips them to find and stick to their strength zone.

  • In this working gap year, they are not just taking literal assessments, but assessing themselves through a job (hands-on projects, phone calls, co-worker interactions, etc).
  • These day-to-day assessments allow them to identify certain strengths.

5. Teaches them to find mentors.

  • Many of the people they meet during a gap year will become their mentors.
  • These meetings and conversations with mentors furnish insights to the career and the life that they desire.

6. Gives them a place to mature.

  • Today, kids take longer to grow up because they are over-exposed to information and under-exposed to real life experiences.
  • Many university deans are now saying that “26 is the new 18”
  • A gap-year gives them the real life experience they need to mature.

Practical Application to Institute a Gap Year

  • If you have a business/organization where you can employ kids in a gap year, try it out with 1 student.
  • If you are a parent, help your kid find these gap years.
  • If you are a student, apply for internships and apprenticeships.


1. Growing Leaders Internship – We are currently accepting applications for our internship. Click here to find out more information.

2. National Leadership Forum – Sign up today at This year’s theme is Marching Off the Map: Charting the Course for the Next Decade of Student Development.

3. Check out Growing Leaders. If you’re new to the podcast or blog, visit our website to learn more about the resources Growing Leaders offers to equip those who lead the next generation.

What topic would you like for us to address on the next episode of the Growing Leaders Podcast? Leave a comment below

hbjFor additional ideas on leading students through life’s transitions, pick up a copy of Habitudes for the Journey.

Click here to order today.


Podcast #8: The Benefits of a Gap Year