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.
The Washington Post
A Primer on Gap Years
“It’s the season when high school seniors are frantically filling out college applications and trying to figure out where they will be and what they will be doing next fall.
There is some evidence that a growing number of U.S. high school graduates are taking a year off before going to college. But there are questions about how gap years work, and who they benefit and what colleges think about them.
To get some answers, I talked with Laura R. Hosid, an expert on gap years at the Vinik Educational Placement Services, Inc. in Bethesda, and you can read the Q & below. Hosid can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.”
The New York Times
How to Become a World Citizen, Before Going to College
“FOUR jobs. Seventy hours a week. All summer. That has been Erin Sullivan’s schedule since graduating from high school. (Dinner was often in her car, driving from lifeguarding to baby-sitting). But it has been worth it, said Ms. Sullivan, 18, of Lawrenceville, N.J., who was to leave this weekend for Latin America on a mostly self-financed “gap year” of volunteering, home stays and Spanish lessons before attending college in fall 2007. ‘I want a better idea what I’m going for before I go,’ said Ms. Sullivan, who is deferring admission to American University.”
Forbes Business Magazine Features Adventures Cross-Country
Is College Really Going to Help You Now? 4 Reasons to Take a Travel Year Instead
“While many teenagers are eager to start college in the fall immediately following high school graduation, many are not so sure. Some teens might not know what they want to study or simply want to take a break from academia for a semester or two. Known as a “gap year,” this teen travel trend is growing among graduating seniors. Parents are going along with it in order to let their kids experience the world for a while before buckling down to get a college education. Teens can actually glean a lot from time spent traveling, working or volunteering services. Sometimes the best education is life experience. Taking a gap year might be the best educational decision you ever make.”
Time Out or Burn Out for the Next Generation
“Harvard College encourages admitted students to defer enrollment for one year to travel, pursue a special project or activity, work, or spend time in another meaningful way—provided they do not enroll in a degree-granting program at another college. Deferrals for two-year obligatory military service are also granted. Each year, between 80 and 110 students defer their matriculation to the College.”
“Many speak of their year away as a “life-altering” experience or a “turning point,” and most feel that its full value can never be measured and will pay dividends the rest of their lives. Many come to college with new visions of their academic plans, their extracurricular pursuits, the intangibles they hoped to gain in college, and the career possibilities they observed in their year away. Virtually all would do it again.”
Gap Year: The Growing Appeal of Not Going Right to College
“The idea that formal education has to be a sprint from age 5 to 21 seems to be changing. Says Clagett: ‘Getting a job for a year, even if it’s flipping hamburgers, still can be a productive experience and can help students just do something other than think about what they have to do to get into college.'”
Gap Year Gains Make College Education Worth the Wait
“Sydni Heron treated machete wounds and helped deliver a baby at a small-town clinic in Ecuador following her graduation from Ames High School in Iowa.
Now, she’s headed to college to study nursing.
Heron, 19, took what in the U.S. remains an unconventional route to college by delaying enrollment one year to work and gain life experience, a concept known as a gap year.”
Tufts University Will Pay Students To Take A Gap Year
“One element that makes Tufts 1+4 different is that it democratizes the bridge-year experience, meaning that no student will be precluded from participating because of financial need.”
“Tufts 1+4 also speaks to a national priority, namely President Obama’s call to action on college opportunity. Tufts is one of more than 100 colleges and universities supporting that call with a pledge to widen access to higher education for lower-income students. By providing financial support, the bridge year will be within reach of students who traditionally have been unable to participate in such experiences.”
Mind The Gap (Year): A Break Before College Might Do Some Good
“Taking a gap year, postponing the start of college, is becoming more common in the U.S. As Kirk Carapezza reports, more schools are encouraging students to take one — and even helping pay for them.”
“More and more elite schools are packaging gap years. Princeton and UNC-Chapel Hill, for example, have started to offer fully subsidized service programs so that more low-income students can get similar experiences to their affluent peers.”
Gap Student Olivia Gaines: The Impact of a Gap Year
Widness & Wiggins
Gap Semesters: Hitting ‘Pause’ Before College
Emily O’Kelly of St. Helena, California experienced life in Southeast Asia last year through what is called a Gap Semester.
O’Kelly made the decision to defer college for a year while jumping 14,000 feet out of a plane.
“After registering the fact that I just skydived for the first time, I immediately felt a surge of panic as I realized the path I was taking wasn’t the one I necessarily wanted to. As soon as I got home, I ran to my mom and asked, ‘Is it too late to take a Gap Semester with Adventures Cross-Country?’”
Underscoring that deciding on a gap program “turned out to be the best decision I have yet made,” she is now in Ghana working for a social fashion company called Global Mamas.