A gap year is a time period when a college student takes time off of regular academic instruction to travel, find work or experience another aspect of life that doesn't involve formal instruction. This year may actually encompass only a few months, or go longer than a year.
Some students use a gap year to avoid academic burnout. They use this time to travel, learn about other cultures, explore different job fields or reevaluate their current goals for the future. The gap year can take place any time after a student graduates high school but before the junior year of college.