How to help your student return to college after taking a gap year


Whether your student took a gap year to rest and reflect, work, travel, or because of the pandemic, they were not alone. Time The magazine reported that in 2020 alone, more than 7 million students canceled their fall enrollment plans to prepare for a gap year.

After such a long hiatus from studying, it may seem daunting for your child to return to campus and the classroom, especially in an entirely new academic reality. Fortunately, preparing a gap year statement can go a long way in helping your child adjust to the start of the new semester.

Ease of returning to school

Even if taking a gap year has been restful for your child, it doesn’t necessarily mean they’re ready to resume a full college schedule. “Once students begin their college journey after a gap year, it’s common for them to feel uneasy,” said Courtney Davis, PhD, associate professor of communication studies at Azusa Pacific University. .

Encourage your student to meet with an academic advisor to learn how to create a balanced course load, especially before course drop deadlines, when they can safely drop a course without affecting their GPA. This usually happens about two weeks into the course, giving the student time to better assess their situation. Do they feel overwhelmed by their course load or are they struggling to keep up? It could be a sign that they need to postpone a course to a future semester.

Ask for help

Often a student won’t ask for help because they don’t know how, where and when to do it. The good news is that APU has free resources to help all students succeed, and they’re available almost anywhere on campus. “Take advantage of the resources offered on campus,” Davis said. “Help others understand where you are now, where you are going, and how they can help you get there.”

A good place to start for your child is with their teachers, who all have office hours to help students and can help direct them to the right resource on campus, including the following:

  • Writing Center: Students can find help with all writing projects, from brainstorming and writing to editing and proofreading. Staff work with students individually, in groups, online and in workshops.
  • Mathematics and Physics Center: Tutoring students (primarily APU Mathematics majors) are on hand for drop-in tutoring in all levels of Mathematics and Physics.
  • Tutoring Center: Students can receive one-on-one support and participate in group study sessions for courses deemed “traditionally difficult”.
  • Strengths Development: Students can better understand their unique talents and how to channel them into academic success.
  • Exploration Program: For students who have not identified desired vocations, this program helps them focus on their passions and strengths to refine their specializations.

Encourage new opportunities and plan changes

A gap year doesn’t have to be a setback. Instead, it can serve as an opportunity to reconsider life and academic goals. Help your child embrace change rather than sticking with something he doesn’t care about. This will help her return to class full of motivation and enthusiasm to learn.

Coming back after a gap year is also a great time to explore. Motivate your child to keep an eye on the school calendar of events, as well as local church calendars for upcoming meetings, concerts, and volunteer opportunities. Attending these events can introduce your student to new passions and new people, which can make all the difference.

Does your child plan to return to school after a gap year? Explore student resources that can help them thrive as they readapt to the university environment.


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