ajbmom

Gap year ideas?

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ajbmom

So, here we are...college time.  He's been accepted, but now that it's all very real, we are not sure he's ready.  We feel it and he feels it.  We need ideas, options and direction for a possible gap year.  Any thoughts on this are appreciated.  Thank you!    

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holding_fast

A ton depends on his interests/what he wants to do. Depending on that, I'd look for jobs/internships in that field. I took a gap year and did 9 months of overseas missions work, but I knew that was exactly what I wanted to do. 

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holding_fast

What are the college's policies for defering enrollment?

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ajbmom
9 hours ago, holding_fast said:

A ton depends on his interests/what he wants to do. Depending on that, I'd look for jobs/internships in that field. I took a gap year and did 9 months of overseas missions work, but I knew that was exactly what I wanted to do. 

I wish I knew!  Goodness, he's short on words.  Honestly, I think he's feeling really confused.  I'm the super organized person, and he's quite scattered.  I'd love to just provide him with a big list of possibilities and let him choose.  I just know he loves adventure and traveling.  I found a gap year program with SOAR specifically for ADHD kiddos.  Oh my word, it's exactly what he would LOVE...but it's just under $50,000 for the year.  Sigh.  He's been on a mission trip, and it set to go on another.  Both a week long.  He really loves going, but I'm not positive it's for the right reasons, you know?  But then again, I'm not totally sure because he's not really an open book.  He takes medication, so something more than a few months at a time seems like it wouldn't work.

To be honest, being with young adults his age is a big important factor, and actually the reason we are thinking to send him to college, even though he doesn't seem ready.  It's a private Christian university where he'd be with kids his age (he's very social) and he'd be in church (mandatory chapel requirement).  These are huge things to me.  So, in a nutshell, I feel like it's the best thing for him socially/emotionally, but that he's not ready to handle the academics.     

9 hours ago, holding_fast said:

What are the college's policies for defering enrollment?

I emailed the admissions gal, so waiting to see.  It wasn't a tough application process, and it's not a reach school, so we really could do it all over again in a year.  

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texasmomtothree

If it wouldn't ruin his chances of getting scholarships to the college he has applied to, I would use this upcoming year for him to take a few basic classes at the community college to ease him into getting used to college academics. Not a full load or anything but just a couple of classes each semester where you can help him get a feel for how to handle taking notes from lecture, scheduling out due dates, studying for exams, etc. This would give him a way to ease into college and find his way with you there to help him figure out what accommodations he will need to make. Hopefully then when he does go off the following year he will be an old pro at how to navigate a college class all on his own.

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Lady Marmalade

Does your religious affiliation (and maybe the college of choice) have any kind of ministry school/certificate program that offers a short-term option?   I have often thought that if either of my kids get to college time and still are unsure, that I would hope to send them to a ministry school for a year to help them figure out what they want to do.  I know my Pastor would recommend several to us that would jive with our church and our beliefs.

Or, something like one of these programs:  http://www.collegetransitioninitiative.com/resources/programs/     

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ajbmom
1 hour ago, texasmomtothree said:

If it wouldn't ruin his chances of getting scholarships to the college he has applied to, I would use this upcoming year for him to take a few basic classes at the community college to ease him into getting used to college academics. Not a full load or anything but just a couple of classes each semester where you can help him get a feel for how to handle taking notes from lecture, scheduling out due dates, studying for exams, etc. This would give him a way to ease into college and find his way with you there to help him figure out what accommodations he will need to make. Hopefully then when he does go off the following year he will be an old pro at how to navigate a college class all on his own.

He is currently taking a dual enrollment class.  He's doing well, in that he's understanding the material, but I'm on top of him to get all his stuff done.  Huge mistake on my part, because this was supposed to be the "test" class.  The sink or swim that would give us some clue about whether or not he'd be able to hack it in college.  Honestly, I've screwed that up because I continue to micromanage him. :( The problem with taking a few classes is the expense.  He has the full GI Bill, but they pay by months (36 months), not by class, so he needs to be full time before we use it.  

30 minutes ago, Lady Marmalade said:

Does your religious affiliation (and maybe the college of choice) have any kind of ministry school/certificate program that offers a short-term option?   I have often thought that if either of my kids get to college time and still are unsure, that I would hope to send them to a ministry school for a year to help them figure out what they want to do.  I know my Pastor would recommend several to us that would jive with our church and our beliefs.

Or, something like one of these programs:  http://www.collegetransitioninitiative.com/resources/programs/     

Something to think about.  Thank you.

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texasmomtothree

Just throwing another thought out there regarding taking a few classes at the community college next year. You said he has 4 years paid for with the GI bill but by taking some at the community college it could help to lighten his load when he goes to the private university and starts to use those GI funds. A typical load to get through a bachelor's degree in 4 years without going summer means they have to take 15 hours each semester which is a lot, especially for new students with attentional issues. If he could get some of those credits out of the way at a fairly cheap rate through a community college where he can keep working on developing those academic skills, then when he goes the following year he could cut back to 12 hour semesters instead which might help him out a lot in the adjustment. I actually had my ds only take 9 hours this first semester at college because he is still working on learning time management, note taking, and study skills and is very anxious about it all. He will take 12 hours next semester and then see how he feels next year about increasing to the recommended 15 hours.

I hope I'm not coming off as pushing this--just wanted to share my experience as a mom with a newly graduated, immature, not super organized/motivated, not sure of what he wants to do with his life 18 year old ds!

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the geographer

I would check with the college he plans to go to to see if he's allowed to take college classes at the cc during his gap year. At many colleges it's not allowed; they can do anything during that gap year EXCEPT take college classes.

I hope you can figure out the best thing for your ds for next year. It's not easy when they get to this age.

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ajbmom
On 10/28/2017 at 5:05 PM, texasmomtothree said:

Just throwing another thought out there regarding taking a few classes at the community college next year. You said he has 4 years paid for with the GI bill but by taking some at the community college it could help to lighten his load when he goes to the private university and starts to use those GI funds. A typical load to get through a bachelor's degree in 4 years without going summer means they have to take 15 hours each semester which is a lot, especially for new students with attentional issues. If he could get some of those credits out of the way at a fairly cheap rate through a community college where he can keep working on developing those academic skills, then when he goes the following year he could cut back to 12 hour semesters instead which might help him out a lot in the adjustment. I actually had my ds only take 9 hours this first semester at college because he is still working on learning time management, note taking, and study skills and is very anxious about it all. He will take 12 hours next semester and then see how he feels next year about increasing to the recommended 15 hours.

I hope I'm not coming off as pushing this--just wanted to share my experience as a mom with a newly graduated, immature, not super organized/motivated, not sure of what he wants to do with his life 18 year old ds!

Your kiddo sounds like my kiddo!  Yes ma'am, I'm all over it! :)  He has passed the CLEP for Biology, History of the US I, Literary Analysis, and Psychology.  He also has a college credit for Photography and is currently taking College Algebra dual enrollment.  My intention with all of this is so that his semesters are as few hours as possible, but still maintaining full time status.  

21 hours ago, the geographer said:

I would check with the college he plans to go to to see if he's allowed to take college classes at the cc during his gap year. At many colleges it's not allowed; they can do anything during that gap year EXCEPT take college classes.

I hope you can figure out the best thing for your ds for next year. It's not easy when they get to this age.

Thanks.  Yes, definitely not easy at this age.  I don't know what I was thinking...that things would be smooth and easy.  I was way wrong.    

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Moxie1

You all much more informed than I was.

Oldest dd took a gap year (despite my siblings vigorous dissents) and worked as a waitress and earned enough for a used car and a month on the beach in Italy.  Graduated with all As from college. 

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Debbie in Bailey

Some kids do really well with a gap year.  Others, not so much.

Have a plan.  But I'd encourage you to let him come up with the plan.  Now is the time to step out.  HE needs to be the one asking the questions of the college.  He needs to make the phone calls and send the emails.  I know it can be overwhelming.  But he needs to do this.  Be there to support him for sure!  But encourage him to do as much as possible himself.  He needs to own this.  Even if he's scared or unsure or overwhelmed.  

Have you looked into something like Americorps?  I don't know much about what they offer, but I believe they have teen/gap year programs.  What about getting some sort of internship in an area he may be interested in?  Even just working for a year with the specific plan of saving money and preparing for college the next year.

But I agree that courses after graduation may be an issue.  Colleges handle dual enrollment and courses taken while still in high school pretty well.  But courses taken after graduation are different.

Hang in there. It can be so overwhelming as we help our kids launch!

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ajbmom
17 hours ago, Moxie1 said:

You all much more informed than I was.

Oldest dd took a gap year (despite my siblings vigorous dissents) and worked as a waitress and earned enough for a used car and a month on the beach in Italy.  Graduated with all As from college. 

That's encouraging! :)

2 hours ago, Debbie in Bailey said:

Some kids do really well with a gap year.  Others, not so much.

Have a plan.  But I'd encourage you to let him come up with the plan.  Now is the time to step out.  HE needs to be the one asking the questions of the college.  He needs to make the phone calls and send the emails.  I know it can be overwhelming.  But he needs to do this.  Be there to support him for sure!  But encourage him to do as much as possible himself.  He needs to own this.  Even if he's scared or unsure or overwhelmed.  

Have you looked into something like Americorps?  I don't know much about what they offer, but I believe they have teen/gap year programs.  What about getting some sort of internship in an area he may be interested in?  Even just working for a year with the specific plan of saving money and preparing for college the next year.

But I agree that courses after graduation may be an issue.  Colleges handle dual enrollment and courses taken while still in high school pretty well.  But courses taken after graduation are different.

Hang in there. It can be so overwhelming as we help our kids launch!

I hear you, and that all sounds good as I read it, but a bit unrealistic in our situation.  Honestly, if I waited for him, then he's not going to college, getting a job, or doing Americorps or another similar thing.  His ADHD is no joke.  He's overwhelmed and in info overload, so I think he's shut down.  

It has OFTEN been that I will initiate or arrange something that he really should (not could) do himself, and it turns out to be a great experience for him.  Here is the situation in a nutshell:  90th percentile for verbal/perceptual reasoning.  4th percentile for working memory.  There it is, the crux our our issues.  He seriously needs a few years for more brain development.  

After lots of praying and talking and talking and praying, I think we're just going to encourage him to go off to college and let the chips fall where they may.  What's the worst that can happen?  It won't work out, and then he'll come home for his gap year.  At least that's where my head is at today.  It seems to change daily.  He's still on the "I don't know" track.

On a positive note, he is taking a CC College Algebra class and seems to be holding his own.  It's a fast-track 8-week full-credit class.  So there is that.     

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Momof4JackAttacks

Second ds took a gap year. He worked and saved up money. He is now at Moody Bible Institute studying linguistics. He is paying for college himself.

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deutsche1

I haven't posted here much, but my daughter is currently taking a gap year to study as an exchange student in Germany through the Congress-Bundestag Youth Exchange. It's a fully funded scholarship program through the US State Department: http://www.usagermanyscholarship.org It's been an absolutely amazing experience for my daughter. She has been able to learn German, experience a new culture, and grow enormously. I definitely recommend foreign exchange programs; kids are able to learn, grow up, and become very independent in an exchange year/semester. 

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Merry

For travel/adventure/hands-on work experiences, what about Americorps? AmeriCorps Vista has volunteer jobs in over a dozen different areas, all around the country, and they provide room & board, plus the college tuition credit. It's an opportunity to learn some lifeskills and leadership skills and is well-looked on by employers.

On 10/29/2017 at 4:21 PM, ajbmom said:

 He has passed the CLEP for Biology, History of the US I, Literary Analysis, and Psychology.  He also has a college credit for Photography and is currently taking College Algebra dual enrollment.  My intention with all of this is so that his semesters are as few hours as possible, but still maintaining full time status.  

It sounds to me like he's academically ready and that the concern is more over executive function/organization types of skills. See what helps your college offers for that. For example, there may be someone he can check in with weekly to help him organize what he needs to do for that week--that type of thing. I would have him set up a meeting now to find out what kind of structured help he can get (and let him do as much of the talking as possible--he needs to start to recognize and express the type of help he needs). 

With regard to a "test run," can you have a course this spring be a test run? (Either outsourced or one you homeschool?) I set up a course like this for both of my kids--syllabus, due dates, penalty for late assignments etc..., but no breaking down of what to do week by week on larger papers/projects. It's nice to let them experience the fear of procrastination before leaving home!

I did a LOT of scaffolding my oldest's first year, specifically with regard to papers. I also made up a document that can be used to break up the work for a paper over any length of time allotted--to help my student know what to do each day/week. (I think he only used it once for a "crunch time" situation, but I think the thought process helped him overall.)

Have you considered having him apply to Shire? It's a neat scholarship opportunity for ADHD kids--in addition to a monetary award, they get a year of coaching/counseling.

A gap year can be a good thing...but if he mainly has cold feet, I wonder if proceeding with college plans is best instead. 

 

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ajbmom
On 12/15/2017 at 6:11 PM, Merry said:

For travel/adventure/hands-on work experiences, what about Americorps? AmeriCorps Vista has volunteer jobs in over a dozen different areas, all around the country, and they provide room & board, plus the college tuition credit. It's an opportunity to learn some lifeskills and leadership skills and is well-looked on by employers.

It sounds to me like he's academically ready and that the concern is more over executive function/organization types of skills. See what helps your college offers for that. For example, there may be someone he can check in with weekly to help him organize what he needs to do for that week--that type of thing. I would have him set up a meeting now to find out what kind of structured help he can get (and let him do as much of the talking as possible--he needs to start to recognize and express the type of help he needs). 

With regard to a "test run," can you have a course this spring be a test run? (Either outsourced or one you homeschool?) I set up a course like this for both of my kids--syllabus, due dates, penalty for late assignments etc..., but no breaking down of what to do week by week on larger papers/projects. It's nice to let them experience the fear of procrastination before leaving home!

I did a LOT of scaffolding my oldest's first year, specifically with regard to papers. I also made up a document that can be used to break up the work for a paper over any length of time allotted--to help my student know what to do each day/week. (I think he only used it once for a "crunch time" situation, but I think the thought process helped him overall.)

Have you considered having him apply to Shire? It's a neat scholarship opportunity for ADHD kids--in addition to a monetary award, they get a year of coaching/counseling.

A gap year can be a good thing...but if he mainly has cold feet, I wonder if proceeding with college plans is best instead. 

 

Hi Merry, sorry for the delay!  I appreciate your response.  Yes, academically, he's ready.  It's definitely an executive function issue.  No GAP year here...he's going...we'll be 9 hours away. He needs to go, and we need him to go, so I hope to just pray through it all.  He's already in with the disability office at the university, so he's covered there.  We are considering a life coach as well, but it's so stinking expensive!  

I looked at the Shire thing, but it linked me to last year's scholarships.  Can't find anything on this year.  Will look further into it after Christmas.  

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Sandwich in Wi

I'm glad you've got it figured out.  I hope it goes well for him.  It sounds as though you have some good support systems in place.

I thought I'd just throw our experience out there in case anyone else comes looking here for suggestions.

My dd is on what feels like her 3rd gap year!  LOL  She studied abroad her senior year of high school through Rotary Youth Exchange.  Not much academics (she only needed 3 credits and I was able to give her those based on what she did do) but she grew SO MUCH in those 10 months and it was a terrific experience for her.  Next she took an actual gap year as she didn't feel ready for college, and she was also young (turning 18 in October).  She worked 60+ hours a week at two jobs saving money for college.  She also grew tremendously during this year in confidence, life skills and socially.  THIS year she was accepted to Moody Bible Institute and a local CC college, even winning a scholarship.  She chose the CC college close to home and after the first day, decided this was NOT what she wanted!  She finished out the first week, dis-enrolled herself, arranged to get out of her housing lease and also grew from this experience.  She went back to work full-time, now also paying rent and cell phone at home since she was not in school.  Recently, an opportunity came up for her to move overseas and help out a homeschooling family for the remainder of the school year, so that is what she is currently doing.  I have no idea what the future holds for her except that she is following God's lead.  When she needs college, I know she'll make it work and work well.

I also have a friend whose son has pretty severe ADD and dysgraphia-type issues.  He took a gap year just working.  His parents really wanted him to go to a 4-year university, but now he has enrolled in the CC and is doing well there and also still working.  I think he just needed that year off to mature some more and figure out what HE wanted to do.

Good luck to you!

Blessngs, Sandwich

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