Gap year during college-what to consider?

<p>My D has an opportunity to live abroad for a little over a year serving as a nanny for family friends. She would go after her sophomore year of college, and then return and finish her last two years. We know her scholarship will be there for her after the leave - it's good for 8 semesters. What else do we need to consider before going ahead and deviating from the original plan of college for 4 years straight? Could taking this break hurt her in any way when she is applying for jobs after graduation? She will be in a brand new culture, learning a new language, and perhaps taking a class or two at a University while there, maybe not (all depending on schedule and cost). We are not a family that travels extensively, so this is quite an unusual opportunity she is not likely to get again. She does want to work for the US gov and would like to work overseas, though. Any advice is appreciated.</p>

<p>I think there’s no “one true way” to go through life/ college, and one should take advantage of as many opportunities as possible…this sounds like a great opportunity. </p>

<p>If you D wants the credit to transfer she needs to get permission from her school a head of time. Even if she doesn’t… she should consider that future jobs/ grad schools may ask for that transcript.</p>

<p>It’s probably a good idea for you D to map out a plan for future semesters, so there are no surprises. </p>

<p>A friend of mine is studying abroad fall semester, and wants a federal internship for the summer of 2013. The problem, she tells me, is that she has to be state side for the background check, and the deadline for these internships is when she is abroad. So I guess as long your your D isn’t planning on a federal internship the following summer she will be fine.</p>

<p>Can she do a year abroad instead?</p>

<p>I don’t see any real downsides. The opportunity to learn to speak a foreign language fluently is in itself priceless. If it were me that is what I would concentrate on. It doesn’t matter if she gets credit for it or not. Being able to put that on your resume can be very useful. I spent a gap year before I started college and then put my language to use by writing a thesis that took me back to that country. I even got a grant to pay for summer research.</p>

<p>What country? (Since she wants to work for the U.S. Government, she should keep her future security clearance in mind.)</p>

<p>^Just don’t do anything stupid. I had a friend in France who later worked for the State Department, they came and interviewed me to find out what she’d been up to there. Luckily I could be perfectly honest and say she didn’t do drugs and that she had studied where she said she had.</p>

<p>Make sure she will get her scholarship back. Some schools say 8 semesters in a row… You don’t want her to come back and have the scholarship suddenly disappear.</p>

<p>I would try to see if she could do a modified year abroad or a real year abroad with modified babysitting duties.</p>

<p>I don’t think a one year break will hurt your daughter in jobs. Likely, it will help her if she achieves some proficiency in the new language. It’ll also teach her some cultural facility and broaden her horizons. It sounds like a great opportunity for her. Lots of people take breaks to take opportunities that shouldn’t be missed. A year abroad would likely be far more expensive, since you would be paying for it instead of her getting paid (although most schools will let you transfer your financial aid).</p>

<p>Thanks for all the replies. We could never afford to finance even a semester abroad, and her school financial aid (scholarship and grant) is only for on-campus. The children she would nanny would be in grade school, so the hope was D could take a course, or intern or volunteer with her time when kids were in school. My D is very level headed and knows that what she does now will have an impact on security clearance, job prospects later.</p>

<p>teachandmom, it can be a fabulous opportunity… or it can be just a regular babysitting job except in a place where no one understands her :slight_smile: So before she accepts, make sure, specifically, what her responsibilities are. Evenings? cooking and cleaning? Weekends? How many children? Will she get a regular schedule of responsibilities or is your daughter/family going to try to “wing it?” Make sure she has the oppportunity to take language classes while her charges are in school. Is there a language school/university near by? What are the costs and who pays for them? What happens if a child gets sick on her ‘school’ day: does that mean your daughter misses her class too? What happens if SHE gets sick?</p>

<p>These are the kinds of questions (all I can think of right off the bat, but I’m sure there are lots more) that would be best answered beforehand. Look around the web for information about being an au pair - essentially, that’s what your daughter will be doing. Like I said, some au pair experiences are lifechanging, amazing opportutnies. For others, it can be disappointing and frustrating if the parameters and expectations on both sides aren’t clearly defined before day 1.</p>

<p>OP - At some school semester abroad turns out being cheaper for the scholarship students. (Example - if only tuition charged, not room/board)</p>

<p>health care?</p>

<p>It sounds like a wonderful opportunity and if she were my daughter I would encourage her to do it. </p>

<p>As someone who spent many years in human resources I can’t imagine this being an issue with employers. In fact, it would most likely be viewed in a very positive light. Remember, many, many students take more than four years to complete their degrees and for most of them it is for far more mundane reasons such as over-crowded schools or the need to earn money to pay for school.</p>