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The present generation of students is actively exploring the career choices available to them. For this, they often take a hiatus from academic life and venture into pursuing other interests such as traveling, exploring different professions or seeking new adventures, before resuming their academic pursuits. This gap may last for a year or longer.

Students may also experience a gap in their education because of personal or medical reasons. Usually, students take a gap to assess, evaluate and restructure their professional or even personal goals. However, when resuming studies, students often fail to justify their gap years as productive, which reflects badly on the admissions committee. But don’t worry, the college application process gives you an opportunity to justify the gap in your education. In this blog, we will help you with how you can justify gap years in education while writing an SOP.

Overwhelmed with college applications? 

Have you taken the GMAT before?

Perceiving gap years

Gap years are not considered as drawbacks by universities as long as they are presented in the right light. There is a way to justify the gap year/s that puts you in a competitive position with respect to other applicants. This is where your statement of purpose acts as the real MVP! It is the official document that introduces the applicant beyond test scores and GPAs. It helps the admissions committee analyze the student’s strengths, passions, growth areas, interests and skills.

A gap in your education while writing an SOP can mean several things–you did not mention your education history on purpose, you unexpectedly lost your job, or rather you did not take up one or you were in prison! Omitting your education history raises an alarm with the admissions committee and can straightaway send your application to the rejection pile. Therefore, you would want to explain in a line or two the reason/s for the gap in your academic record.

Inside an SOP to justify gap years

It is vital and prudent that your gap years reflect productive as well as fun learning experiences that are full of intellectual and meaningful growth. While writing an SOP, make up for your gaps with extracurricular activities, hobby pursuits and other meaningful achievements and exposure. You may want to mention any online or offline short courses you took, self-study areas, preparation for competitive exams, a business venture you started or any other pursuits which are reflective of your intellectual and personal development. Additionally, if you have gathered reasonable work experience during your gap years, make sure it forms part of your SOP. Work experience adds brownie points to your application and increases your chances of acceptance.

What exactly are the colleges looking for in your SOP? 

Have you taken the GMAT before?

Do not cook up experiences and achievements. Be genuine and transparent about your gap years. Write about only those things which you can account for and justify. You do not really have to highlight your gap year much. This can take away the attention from other important details in your statement of purpose.

Presenting an SOP with gap years

Your SOP should offer an insight into your strengths, career aspirations and how the things you did in your gap years align with your professional goals. The statement of purpose should be personal, humbly highlighting the obstacles and challenges you had to overcome and your success story. It should demonstrate the value you will be adding to the institution and therefore, presenting your gap years in the right light is very important. You have to bring to the foreground the positive exposure and skills you have gathered during your gap years to convince the admissions committee why you are a worthy candidate.

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