From prominent college admissions directors, to respected educational journals, to high school counselors, experts in higher education are saying that taking a gap year has enormous benefits for high school graduates. Described as a modern-day rite of passage, a gap year is an opportunity to take advantage of the natural break between high school and college and to unplug from the everyday classroom. It is a chance to reboot and experience a new style of learning; to embark on real work and real-world experience; to gain a better sense of identity, self-confidence, and hone in on one’s ability to be a critical thinker. This formative break can ignite a desire for change, awaken a passion for learning, and expose young adults to multiple fields of study and career paths to serve as inspiration in gaining a direction for college and beyond.
Will Gap Year Programs Continue During Uncertain Travel Times?
In its simplest terms, a Gap Year is time taken off between high school and college, but gap years can mean different things to different people. Some students find it necessary to take time off before starting college in order to save money, while others take a year to volunteer for a meaningful cause or to take a break from academics for awhile.
Regardless of motives, gap year programs have become increasingly popular, and about 40,000 students did some kind of gap year in 2019, according to the Gap Year Association. That’s out of more than two million first-time college students starting as freshmen in the U.S. each year.
The Washtenaw Voice
A gap year doesn’t mean a gap in learning
When my best friend Louisa graduated from high school, she and I bought plane tickets to Hidalgo, Mexico and left to help teach English at an elementary school.
We spent a year putting on school programs and events, reading storybooks, making crafts with sticky-handed four-year-olds, and meeting Louisa’s extended family.
I learned, felt, saw, touched, tasted, heard and experienced so much during that year. My Spanish-speaking skills increased, I gained a whole new family, and I knew for sure that I wanted to major in elementary education.
Albuquerque Business First
More high school graduates are taking a gap year before college. Here’s what parents need to know.
The idea of taking a gap year before college — a long-accepted practice in countries like Norway, Denmark, and Turkey, where more than 50% of students postpone college for a year — is starting to gain traction in the U.S. Contrary to the perception that a student who takes a gap year is either academically troubled or “backpacking around Europe,” many of today’s gap-year students have secured their college placement and understand that taking a break can have significant, long-lasting benefits.
The Daily Princetonian
Take a gap year
As a sophomore, it is a daily occurrence for me to hear my friends utter phrases such as “maybe I’ll take a gap year,” “I need a break,” or — best yet — “I think I’ll drop out.” There are a lot of stress factors here at Princeton — academically and socially — and sophomore year seems to be around the time when people start to feel the effects of an approaching…
America’s (small) New Trend: Taking a Gap Year
Gap years have long been popular in Europe and Australia. Now, a small but growing group of U.S. teens and their parents are jumping aboard the gap year trend.
The Wall Street Journal
Welcome To College. Now Take A Year Off
Colleges are offering financial aid to entice admitted students to stay away for a year.
Gap years, long popular in Europe, have gained ground in the U.S. not just for wealthy teens who can afford a lengthy vacation, but also for students of modest means who want to pause before jumping into academic endeavors.
The New York Times
How Taking A Gap Year Can Change Your Life
If your teenager is talking about taking a year away from the classroom between high school and college, you may have Malia Obama to thank for that. But if they’re not yet talking about whether to follow her lead, they should be.
Greenwich Free Press
Greenwich High School Graduate’s ARCC Gap Semester Leaves Her Homesick for Asia
As her graduation from Greenwich High School drew nearer last spring, Valerie Calkosz knew she wanted a break from academia and a chance to travel and explore. While many young people don’t get an international experience until they are juniors in college, it’s not necessary, and besides, there are gap year programs a teen can parlay into college credit.
Britta Calkosz, Valerie’s mother, said she did quite a bit of research into programs and found Adventures Cross Country…
The New York Times
The Gap Year: Breaking up the “Cradle to College to Cubicle to Cemetery” Cycle
“‘How many of you would love to take a gap year right now?’ Holly Bull, an independent student gap year adviser asked a room full of college counselors early on Saturday morning. A groggy audience sprang to life, all hands shooting up at a lecture entitled ‘Gap Year: American Style’ at the National Association of College Counselors conference in New Orleans. The idea of taking time off between high school and college — a self-exploratory sabbatical in the free spirit of 1970s — has increasingly become a structured concept in the United States, with counselors like Ms. Bull linking students and parents up with formal programs. As the number of students who opt to take a gap year has grown, so, too, has awareness of gap year benefits to the student, said Robert Clagett, former dean of admissions at Middlebury College (and formerly an admissions officer at Harvard).”
On Campus: Is It a Good Idea to Take a Gap Year?
Many students transition directly from high school to college. But, an increasing number of graduates are taking a gap year. HuffPost Live goes on and off campus to learn more about the benefits of taking this year off in between.