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A gap year is a length of time, typically but not always a year, that is spent away from school. Generally, gap years are taken between high school graduation and the beginning of college so that students can recharge, learn something new, or earn money to pay for school. A student who takes a gap year may come out more independent, mature, ready to tackle college, and with a sense of direction about the future. Getting your college applications done on schedule and deferring for a year may ensure that you return to academics as planned.