Taking a “gap year”—typically a year off between high school and college—has long been common in other countries and is becoming more so in the United States as well.

However, there is another type of gap year, and it is becoming more common among recent college graduates. In my interactions with students, many express an interest in doing something full-time, but decidedly not permanent, after graduation—although they’re not always sure what it is they want to do. In probing their motivations, I find they often express a strong desire for a gap-year experience, or “starter job,” which can be broadly defined as a one- to two-year deliberate, purposeful undertaking.

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