A Wall Street Journal article published yesterday by Nancy Keates entitled “Incoming College Students Could Take Gap Year Over Covid-19 Uncertainty” led us to raise our eyebrows a couple of times. You see, certain elements of the piece, which focuses on how students are exploring the idea of taking a year off before attending college due to all the uncertainty surrounding the pandemic, left us, well, incredulous. So what exactly did we find so astonishing? Wonder no more! We’re going to highlight two excerpts from this piece in the esteemed publication and then tell you what’s wrong with this picture. We invite our loyal readers to figure it out before you read our response.
Two Ridiculous Things in a Wall Street Journal Piece on Gap Years
1. “‘I’m crossing my fingers,’ says George Ma, a senior at Princeton Day School in Princeton, N.J., who requested a gap year from UCLA. He had long wanted to take a gap year before the coronavirus crisis, but didn’t think it would be possible because his parents were against it. They told him he should go right to college and then immediately get a job…When George’s counselor, Thomas Jaworski of Quest College Consulting, called UCLA to ask about the university’s deferral policy, he was told the school is more open to granting gap years due to the virus.”
Why on earth is George’s private college consultant calling UCLA on his behalf? A good private college consultant works exclusively behind the scenes. A good college consultant doesn’t interface with colleges. And when members of the press call a good college consultant — as they so often call us — and ask, “Do you have any students you think would be willing to be in our article or news segment,” the good college consultant says, “No! We would never recommend one of our students appear in print. Why would they admit they hired an expert to help them navigate the highly selective college admissions process? And do they really want to see this article on a Google search ten years from now?” Thomas Jaworski, we don’t know you. But that was not a good move!
2. “Rustic Pathways – This may be one of the few organizations still planning on running three international gap-year programs this fall. They include a trip throughout Southeast Asia, a Spanish immersion and community service program in Costa Rica, Peru and the Dominican Republic, and an ocean skills and community service expedition in Fiji, New Zealand and Australia. Financial assistance is determined by need and merit.”
Is this real? Let’s get this straight. Students would take a gap year next year because they don’t want to start college with online classes and instead they will choose to travel throughout Southeast Asia? Or in Cost Rica, Peru, or the Dominican Republic? Or in Fiji, New Zealand, or Australia? What’s the healthcare like in the Dominican Republic? Is that the place to go during a pandemic? Sure, college campuses might be closed but why not take a gap year in Fiji? Is this The Wall Street Journal, one of the most respected papers in all the world, or The Onion? Is it April Fools’ Day? What are we missing here? Oy vey!
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