Straight to college, or a gap year?

Some students opt for a year off between high school and college to travel, perform public service, or just relax.

Straight to college, or a gap year?

The school year is more than halfway over and seniors, and even juniors, are feeling the oppressive netting of public schooling coming to a close.

Seniors race to complete college applications and finalize ACT and SAT scores. GPAs inch slowly up or fall plummeting down as some collapse under the weight of their responsibility.

All over school students begin counting the days until they are let out for the summer. Hopeful freshmen and sophomores discuss college choices and dream jobs with their peers. Our young men and women try to plan their futures. Quite a few have jobs and are saving up for tuition and application fees.

Yet how many students actually know the full extent of their choices? Everyone is so preoccupied with grants and scholarships – which are amazing things; don’t get me wrong – but why exactly is everyone so stressed about college?

In fact, why jump right into college? Why not consider a gap year?

A gap year is when a student takes a year off between high school and college. Some use it to travel the work, maybe go backpacking around Europe. It could be used as time to take on a full time job and work up those savings accounts. Or it might even be used as a relaxing year and a way to bump up productivity for the long road ahead.

Whatever it’s used for, research has proven that it has an overall positive effect on people. Students recharge from high school and help to further confirm or deny what path they want to take.

A majority of students who chose to take a gap year said the experience gave them the proof they needed to change their previous choices. Some colleges even have gap year programs where students enroll and, with a plan in mind, are able to postpone entry to their college while having a spot guaranteed for the next year.

Harvard even formally recommends taking one in their acceptance letters. Students, or even potential students, can pay an enrollment deposit the have their spot in the school saved for next year.

This was a trend in the UK and has only recently  has gained popularity here.

Seven percent of all college students in the UK deffer their admissons and only 1.2 percent do that here.

There are even books on how to plan and make the most of your gap year.

“The Complete Guide to the Gap Year” by Kristen M. White and “The Gap Year Advantage” by Karl Haigler and Rea Nelson are two of the most popular.

Here are some websites that also offer gap year information:

http://www.gapyear.com/

http://www.uncollege.org/gapyear/