Should I take a gap year?

Taking a year off is more often than not described as a “year on” because the majority of students that take a gap year use it to set and achieve some sort of goal. Their year off generally has structure with it to help getting to their goals. More and more students every year take a gap year and use it as a learning experience to better themselves in some sort of way.

Of people who take gap years 98 percent say that it helped develop them as a person and 97 percent of those students also said that they were much more mature after coming back from their gap year. Eighty-four percent said the year off helped them to acquire some sort of skill for them to use in life. Seventy-five percent of all people who took a gap year and went to college afterward said it increased their college readiness.

According to an article by Jan Crawford from CBS News published in May 2016, 33,000 students took a gap year in 2015. Almost twice as many as in 2011.

A lot of people think that taking a gap year would be a bad thing and think that many of the student that do, won’t end up going back to college. However, the return rate of kids taking a gap year is 90 percent.

At Thornton Academy, 22 percent of graduates didn’t go into college right off. Of that 22 percent, 3 percent went to military, 13 percent got a job and worked, and 6 percent decided to take a gap year.

A lot of students who do go to college right after high school, end up leaving after the first year due to a variety of reasons. Some of them include, balancing school and work, the high cost of tuition, illness or injury, loads of stress, too much socializing and partying, and some freshman just aren’t prepared for college emotionally or academically.

Some benefits of taking a gap year include re-discovering the curiosity of learning on your own time, creative problem solving, and discovering personal values beyond the expectations of others.

Although this is mostly about gap years, it’s also about just finding out what you want to do after high school. In a small survey of 30 random seniors I found many students are looking forward to a four-year college as a step towards pursuing an occupation that they enjoy. “I love school with a passion and college provides an opportunity for me to continue to explore my interests. Also finding a good career and all that,” said senior Annabel Winterberg who is likely headed to Bowdoin College. Quinn Chen is looking into a four-year college for film said, “For college, I can study for what I want to do [which is] film production.” Zack LaChance is also excited to jump into continuing his education and has a similar future in mind. “I wish to pursue my interests in theater and film in college, wherever that might end up meaning,” said LaChance.

A majority of students today have planned ahead to work towards a career without an immediate jump into college. Senior Zach Bouffard has other plans. He will be “full time at Pratt and Whitney and go to college for business and human resources in two years. Pratt and Whitney will pay for schooling after you’ve been there for a year.” Zack was an intern at Pratt and Whitney over the previous summer so he knows it is work he enjoys and he isn’t interested din taking out huge loans so waiting until he can get help from his employer on tuition makes the most sense to him. He also just finished the school’s intensive MTMA program for machining which he attended during block one every day for 3 years so he feels well trained and ready for the work world.

Sometimes the constant pressure to consider college is exhausting and overwhelming. “I don’t know what to do yet. I’ve been thinking [about it] too much,” said senior Summer Clement who is likely taking some time to consider options. 

Senior Michael Palmer has multiple paths to pursue in case one doesn’t work out. He is still deciding between military, two-year college, four-year college, and finding some kind of work. He is most likely going to find a job after high school in auto body or automotive so that he has a bit more time to decide. “It depends on what goes on after high school. I want to go to college or the military,” said Palmer.

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3 Responses to Should I take a gap year?

  1. Anonymous April 30, 2017 at 7:51 pm #

    This is an interesting piece. I’ve briefly thought about a gap year and the thoughts in this article make sense and are intriguing.

  2. Anonymous April 30, 2017 at 7:52 pm #

    This is a great article. The ideas you wrote about make sense and are intriguing. I’ve thought about a gap year briefly, and this will make consider it further.

  3. Eric Heiman April 30, 2017 at 7:54 pm #

    This is a great article. The ideas you wrote about make sense and are intriguing. I’ve thought about a gap year briefly, and this will make consider it further.

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