21 April 2011
Gap Year: Too Big of a Gap?
In today’s society, the acceptable thing to do after high school graduation has always been to take the summer off from school, then enter into college the following fall. Once college is completed, the student immediately enters the workplace and begins a career. As of late, however, an increasing number of students are rejecting this idea and taking a year off from school in the year between senior year of high school and freshman year in college. Students may take this year-long break from school to work to save up enough money for college, intern or volunteer for the career they want to pursue, or travel the world. This break from school is called a Gap Year. This Gap Year program originated from the United Kingdom, and is becoming more and more popular in the United States. The Vice President of Enrollment at Colorado College, Mark Hatch, states that the number of students that have been accepted to Colorado College who choose to take a Gap Year ranges from 24 to 40 students out of a class of 500 (Simpson). This number continues to rise as the Gap Year Program gains recognition as an acceptable, temporary alternative to college.
As I began my research on the Gap Year Program, I predicted that most parents, colleges and employers would strongly dislike the idea of a Gap Year because the student would be taking too much time out of school. I was shocked to find out the exact opposite. Employers and colleges alike are the biggest supporters of the Gap Year Program. So much so, that some colleges and universities are even adopting programs like the Gap Year Program, and have begun to encourage a year off from school to every incoming freshmen accepted to the school. Amherst College, Princeton University, Harvard, and Massachusetts Institute of Technology are some of many schools that now offer and encourage programs similar to the Gap Year Program (Shellenbarger). Because...