Taking a Year Off After High School

In this article, we will introduce you to the idea of taking a year off after high school, explore the benefits that a year off after high school can bring, and give you some ideas for what you can do during your year off.

Deciding what you want to do after graduating high school can be a daunting task! Some students choose to immediately start college while others might want to take their time to explore the world around them without the constraints of the classroom. Tilting Futures is a nonprofit that strives to help students broaden their world views, develop leadership skills, and network with like minded young leaders through our immersive learning programs!


Why Do Students Take a Year Off After High School?

There are plenty of good reasons why some students choose to take a year off after high school! After you graduate high school, it can sometimes feel like you are expected to know exactly what you want to do with your life and exactly how you are going to achieve your goals, but, as you already know, it’s not that simple. Whether you want to eventually go to college, get a job, join the military, or try a trade, it’s okay to take a little extra time to get to know yourself and explore the world around you before making a commitment. 


Taking a year off after graduating high school may be right for you if you want to contribute to a cause you care about, want to explore more of the world, or  want to develop life-long skills to fuel your purpose-driven future 


The Benefits of Taking A Year Off After High School

At Tilting Futures we have seen thousands of success stories from individuals who have decided to take a year off after high school with us. Compared to the U.S. national average, Tilting Futures alumni graduate from college a year faster and are three times more likely to find a job they find engaging and stimulating (94% our alumni vs 29% nationally).

Some of the key benefits you will experience from a gap year with Tilting Futures include building leadership skills for a purpose-driven life and learning to make an impact with causes you care about. What’s more, Harvard University researchers found that Tilting Futures students showed statistically significant growth across multiple skill sets and mindsets including: happiness and meaning in life, college and career readiness, leadership skills, and expansion of multicultural network. 


Overall taking a gap year has been shown to:


Improve educational performance

Gap years are a valuable opportunity for students to re-evaluate their educational path and gain greater clarity and commitment around what they want to study and why. Students often show increased preparation and dedication in their studies after taking a year off after high school. 


Enhance formation & development of career choices

By taking a gap year, individuals become better prepared to make important decisions about their future. Taking a gap year places students out of their comfort zone and encourages personal growth. With the benefit of real world experience and a broader perspective, students are better prepared to set their own priorities and make important career decisions.


Improve employability & career opportunities

Tilting Futures helps students develop valuable skills that cannot be learned in a classroom. We combine curriculum, coaching and lived experience to help our students develop the REAL power skills of the 21st century: Resilience, Empathy, Agency, and Leadership. Students’ employability also benefits from developing a global network and being able to showcase how they contributed to a cause they care about.


Gaining a Global Perspective 

Many students use their gap year as an opportunity to get outside their usual “bubble” and interact with new places and people. Whether you travel abroad or connect with new people in your home community, this experience can be extremely valuable in broadening your perspective both about the world and yourself. 97% of Tilting Futures alumni say their experience helped them see the world from someone else’s perspective. With the benefit of a more global perspective, you can approaches challenges and opportunities in a new way and unearth new possibilities for what path you might want to pursue in the future. 


Personal Growth and Self-awareness

Young people face a lot of questions during the transition to adulthood, and intentional gap years are an effective way to gain clarity about your sense of purpose and your future. At Tilting Futures, 90% of alumni say their gap year experience increased their self-confidence. Before making big and often very expensive decisions about college, it can be extremely worthwhile to take a transformative pause to discover who you are outside of the classroom and outside of yoru comfort zone. 

Considering a year off after high school?

See how Tilting Futures could align with your goals.

What Do You Do in a Gap Year?

The best part about gap years is that they can be taken in many different directions. At Tilting Futures we currently offer an immersive gap semester called Take Action Lab.

With Take Action Lab, students gain lifelong skills during an immersive semester in South Africa. You’ll get hands-on experience working at an apprenticeship with a human rights organization and learn how to tackle global issues (like women’s rights and educational equity) from the ground up. As you immerse in a new culture with a diverse cohort of like-minded peers, you’ll gain skills and perspectives to fuel a future of positive impact.


Global Cohort and Tilting Futures

Tilting Futures’ curriculum is designed to help you define your purpose and get clarity on what matters most. You’ll learn to identify your strengths, values, and the impact you want to make in the world around you. 

The Tilting Futures’ curriculum also helps you to gain a global perspective while seeing the world and yourself in a new way. This is accomplished through traveling abroad and interacting with our global cohort. A typical class contains 50 students coming from 25+ countries!

Another benefit of this curriculum is learning outside of the classroom. By the time you graduate high school you’ve been sitting behind a desk for 12+ years and attending university adds another 4+ years to your time behind a desk. It is very normal to feel burnt out after graduating high school and to want to take a break from classroom learning. Your first year after high school is the perfect time for experiential learning. Rather than limiting learning to the classroom, we take real-world experiences and enrich them with a wrap-around of curriculum, coaching and a cohort. Our experiences are designed to build the true power skills of the 21st century, and our evidence shows we’re shaping values, perspectives and skills in ways classroom learning cannot.


In Summary

Taking a year off of high school allows individuals to gain new perspectives and experiences that shape crucial decision making for their future. Tilting Futures’ mission is to help young adults find out who they truly are, what they value most, and how to make the most meaningful changes in their lives. Being a part of Tilting Futures will shape young adults into exceptional leaders who are prepared to build a more just, equitable, and sustainable world.   



Tilting Futures logo

Global Citizen Year is moving forward as part of our new, larger brand: Tilting Futures. New name, same mission, expanded programs and impact.