The Value Of A Gap Year: The Transition To College
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The Value Of A Gap Year: The Transition to College

The value of a gap year – the year between finishing high school and going to college – can be an important stage of a successful transition to college. Yet, people’s views on the value of a gap year are often conflicted. In the majority of cases across the U.S. parents and students view a gap year as risky. Some students are afraid that they will fail to go back to school after a year out, others are worried that taking a year off might be looked down on by college admissions. As a result, in the U.S. only 1-2% of high school graduates take a gap year. However, if used to its full potential a year out can prepare students for college while providing an important time and space for them to more clearly define their future path, vocation or career.

Students and their parents often don’t see the value of a gap year – for them, it has always been about grades and test scores in K-12 system. As a result, most students arrive at college unprepared. For them, learning is disconnected from reality, devoid of meaning and continues to be dictated by what they or their parents have identified as the ‘correct’ career path. As Psychology Today writes ‘they tend to arrive [to college] with little sense of purpose other than what they’ve been told: do well in class so you can get a good job’.

In fact, the transition to college can be made easier after a gap year. During this time, students can enjoy a whole range of volunteering, travelling and work opportunities, learn new skills and find the meaning behind what it is that they want to study for the next few years. Colleges and universities are becoming more and more open to students taking a year out before starting their studies. According to Huffington Post, ‘acceptance letters from Harvard even suggest that students might want to take time off before they enrol’. It is no secret that a year out increases the value of the time and money spent on college education. It also improves GPAs and allows the time for learning and growth, that is, of course, if you choose to do something meaningful with that year. Huffington Post gives 10 reasons why it might be a good idea to take a gap year right after high school:

You’ll perform better in college.

You’ll realize what you love before you start studying.

You’ll get to have an adventure in your prime.

You’ll know what’s important in life before most people do.

You’ll be an expert at adapting to new places.

You’ll have something to talk about.

You’ll have a shinier resume.

You’ll pick up the pieces you missed in high school.

You’ll have time to think.

You’ll make new friends.

If you are still not convinced that taking a gap year might be the right decision to make here is a simple fact often overlooked both by students and their parents. When choosing a good school and then sending their kids off to college parents wonder whether they will then be able to get a job and whether the degree will be worth the investment they are making. The simple fact that they so often overlook is whether their kids are actually prepared to make use of all the learning resources that colleges have to offer. Students who don’t have a purpose, for whom college represents independence and who are motivated mostly by the idea of getting the ‘right’ job are simply not ready to take all that college has to offer. Ironically, the fear to miss out on the job market or waste any time between high school and college limits the students’ chances of becoming highly competitive, easily adaptable and enthusiastic individuals when applying for high-level jobs.

Original source.


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