There’s a good post on the “US News & World Report” blog by Bradford Holmes that discusses the significance of a potential gap year in between senior year of high school and freshman year of college. In the post, Holmes writes, “The benefits of a gap year for you must outweigh the disadvantages. At first blush, taking a gap year can seem like a win-win. Assuming you have already been accepted to a college, have a good plan for and can afford your gap year and have received permission to defer admission for a year, there might appear to be no negatives to your year off.”
There are indeed positives and negatives to taking a gap year in between high school and college. For some students, it just isn’t a good idea. Taking a year off from tests and classes can really demotivate some students. Maybe they won’t want to return to the grind of paper-writing and test-taking after a year traveling around Europe. And traveling around Europe probably isn’t the best idea for a gap year anyway. The year shouldn’t be spent doing loosey-goosey sightseeing. If you’re going to take a gap year, it must be structured and the year must challenge you intellectually as otherwise it’s a complete waste and you’ll be a year behind your peers now in the rat race to find a job after college graduation.
As we’ve said before in the press, if a student opts to take a gap year, he or she should pursue a passion, a genuine interest. A gap year is wrong for a whole bunch of students. It’s wrong for students who are going to be worried the whole year that they’re missing out on making friends at college, that they’re falling behind their peers, etc. And it’s wrong for students who don’t have a clear plan for how they want to spend the year. It can be right for other students, though, and we’ll write more about that in the coming days.