There is a time in every young person’s life when he or she must begin to make difficult decisions that will very likely influence the rest of his or her adult life. This pivotal time usually emerges as high school students approach graduation. They are faced with a very critical decision: go to college or take a break from school for a while.
Within the past year, the percentage of students to immediately enroll in college after the completion of their high school education has dropped. Understandably, many people may look upon the decline in high school graduates immediately pursuing higher education in a negative light. However, it can also be argued that in many cases it may actually benefit young adults to take a hiatus between high school and college, no matter if they are considering attending an online school or a traditional brick-and-mortar campus. In fact, this gap year or deferred admission trend is becoming increasingly popular.
There are some disadvantages to not immediately attending a post-secondary school. Perhaps the most persuasive of all is the argument that young adults who enter the work force before attending college are at a greater risk of never completing their college degree. Another argument emphasizes the idea that is possible, and even likely, that some of a student's foundational knowledge will be forgotten and have to be relearned if they don't continue their education immediately. Health insurance issues may also arise for young adults who live at home and are not full-time students.
Although there are distinct disadvantages to taking a break before college, the positive benefits may outweigh the negatives, especially for those who aren't sure what they want to study. Young adults may also find a gap year provides them with a chance to mentally take a break, travel and have new life experiences, try out jobs, or save money.1. Take a Mental Break
Many students feel as though they need a small mental break before continuing in the next chapter of their education. Harvard University states that students who take a short break before attending college are consistently more focused than their counterparts. During the break, however, it is important that time not be wasted. Graduates should devote a portion of each day to planning and setting goals for themselves. Researching career ideas, taking aptitude tests and searching for internship programs will guide them in the right direction.
2. See the World
Many recent graduates have a strong desire to broaden their horizons and learn more about the world. Luckily there are many opportunities available to young adults to help them bring this goal to fruition. One excellent choice is a foreign exchange program. Programs that give students the opportunity to travel to a different country will allow them to gain maturity and a fresh global perspective. The Center for Cultural Interchange offers the opportunity for graduates to experience cultures that will challenge them in many ways. Volunteer work is also an option to those who would like to broaden their understanding of the world. Thinking Beyond Borders is a program “designed for students who are serious about creating change.” In addition to personal gratification, experiences during a break before college can greatly add to the prospective student’s college application.
3. Experience a Career
Taking an entry-level position in a desired professional field can give a high school graduate insight into a career. Likewise, internships can provide students with a chance to develop the knowledge and skills they need to be successful. This opportunity can confirm or challenge young adults' preconceived notions regarding how well-fitted they are for the job.
4. Save Money
Many high school graduates realize that they need to build up savings. They might be working toward opening their own businesses or have decided they wish to finance their educations themselves. If the goal is to save money, it is imperative that young adults keep a clear focus on their individual goals and learn to live on as little as possible.
Although there are disadvantages to taking a break before attending college, there are a strong reasons to consider doing so. Many educators in America are becoming more concerned about the intense pressure placed on today’s generation. For forty years Harvard has been suggesting that students applying for admission take time off. It’s been speculated that the reason for Harvard’s high graduation rate could be the large percentage of students taking a bit of time off before they enroll in classes. Given today's tough economic conditions, the positive aspects of taking a break between high school and college should definitely be given their due weight.
Are you unsure whether you should go straight to college after gradutation or take a gap year? Our expert tutoring and college consulting team here in Albuquerque can help with all your tutoring questions and needs. Contact us to schedule a free introductory consult and we can discuss all of your options!