There is a rising trend which started in Europe and has now spread to the United States—the gap year. A gap year is a year off between high school and college.
The best way to go about a gap year is to first gain acceptance to the college of your choice and then defer enrollment. That means the whole application process is behind you, and test scores and grades have not staled over the gap year.
Why consider a gap year at all? Here are some reasons.
Helicopter parents are a problem on college campuses today. Perhaps there would be less need for this hover-style parenting if students had a chance to be on their own, work, set budgets, get away from home, and be independent before going off to college. Time to mature can really help a student transition to college before all those tuition dollars are on the line.
A gap year can also allow both students and their parents to put away some savings to offset extra college costs: for recreation, for books, for travel, and for electronics. Having even a small cushion can help.
3. A break
High school has become very stressful because of the college admission competition. A year off allows students a breather, a time to refresh, read independently, and pursue their own interests.
4. Reality check
A year before college filled with work and travel allows students to see problems with handling money and solving day-to-day problems. More than just maturity, a reality check can prepare students for dealing with educational goals and problems reaching those goals.
5. Broader Experiences
A gap year allows students to travel away from home, learn a new language, try on the day-to-day work experience, even to try a few new interests. College students often have no idea what they want to do or why. After a year on their own, they may just stumble upon what they like and why they like it.
A gap year is not meant for students to laze and loll. Rather, it can be a serious opportunity to prepare properly for a successful college experience.