Faith Readiness - Even more critical than college readiness is the issue of a person’s faith. Has a student leaving home for the first time truly developed a faith that is their own and is rooted in Christ so that it can stand the many tests it will face in the world?
Studies conducted by the Southern Baptist Convention’s Family Life Council, LifeWay Research, the Assembly of God and The Barna Group show that between 60 and 80 percent of youth end up walking away from the church around their late teens or shortly thereafter. Furthermore, UCLA’s Higher Education Research Institute divulged that 52 percent of college students attended church regularly before their freshman year — a number that dropped to 29 percent by their junior year. Similarly, 40 to 50 percent of students participating in church youth groups struggle with their faith after graduation, according to the Fuller Youth Institute’s College Transition Project.
When students walk away from their faith after high school it is often a sign that their “faith” was the faith of others rather than their own. Taking a year to focus on one’s faith away from their typical environment and in the midst of life experience allows for someone to seek God and experience his faithfulness for themselves. The result is a often lasting faith that is central to the student’s life.
Focus and maturity - According to Princeton Review a gap year spent intentionally “can cultivate maturity and self-discipline… Admissions counselors at professional schools tell us that taking time off of school is rarely a disadvantage for an applicant. In fact, they often choose the student who took a year off and is ready to become fully engaged in school over the one who has been on autopilot and will burn out in a few months.”