College. We’re all taught that it’s the natural next step after high school. We spend four years of our teenage lives prepping for the big moment we decide which college to go to and what we want to do for a career. Does it really make sense to have an 18 year-old decide what they want to do for the rest of their lives? Should they be sent off to an unfamiliar town so they can have a college experience? I was NOT ready. 

Most of my high school career I was a procrastinator. If I had a deadline, the odds of me turning it in a day late was HIGHLY probable. Naturally, I waited until the last minute to decide on college. It was so overwhelming!! What if I pick the wrong school? Should I move away from home? Should I join a sorority? Do I keep my job while in school? Should I pick a private college or a public university? If I go out of state, how will I provide for myself? Looking back I was so paralyzed by fear of making the wrong decision, I just decided I didn’t want to make ANY decision. This is a lot of pressure to put on an 18 year-old. Why do we do it? Why do we put so much pressure on kids to know exactly what they want to do for the next 50+ years? I was not near being ready. 

Enter IMPACT 360! Rooted in Christianity, they are a gap year program that equips students leaving high school and going into college with the tools they need to succeed. Over the course of a year, Impact360 Institute teaches students to: Grow in their understanding of what God has revealed about reality and why Christianity is true (Know). Discover your identity in Christ and your God-given calling in authentic community (Be).  And lead a life of Spirit-empowered Kingdom influence as you cultivate a servant’s heart (Live). Impact 360 partners with Union University to give their students college credit for work in business leadership.  

My Year at Impact360 was transformational. I became confident in myself and my identity in Christ. I learned a great deal about time management and took classes in conflict resolution and leadership styles. We lived on a resort campus and worked as a team before spending a month working in Brazil. Throughout the year, I uncovered a passion for traveling, different cultures, and business. At the end of my time at Impact360, I was finally ready.

Educational choice isn’t just about primary school. After high school, options abound. Check out the list below of gap year programs. Many come with college credit, but all come with an extra year to figure things out, develop your identity, and explore possibilities. 

About Impact 360 Institute- Our Philosophy, Beliefs, Staff, and History.

About Aardvark – Israel Immersion Program

About – Pacific Discovery 

About – EF Gap Year

About – YearOn

About – Global Citizen Year