Break the Tradition: Graduates should consider taking a ’gap year’

Every upperclassman in high school knows the inevitable question.  Whether it’s asked by a relative, teacher, or a friend, the question, ‘where are you going to college?’, seems to follow them around until they finally make a decision.  In fact, it seems that every step they have taken in their academic careers has prepared them for the moment of decision making.

For many, college is considered a given path we all follow immediately preceding graduation.  A growing number of high school graduates are venturing away temporarily from this road, seeking what else lies ahead besides another given number of years sitting opposite a teacher.  This can be done by taking a ‘gap year’ or a ‘bridge year.’

Gap years can involve anything that sparks an interest and plays a role in educational and long-term growth for the individual.  This can include taking the year to see the world through travels or seeking an internship or job which involves an area of interest.

According to an article on USA Today discussing the subject of gap years, “Counselors are coming to bless the gap-year option, and colleges increasingly are offering a deferred enrollment option as more and more ‘gappers’ arrive on campus with enhanced focus, motivation, and maturity — all of which bodes well for their undergraduate years in college.”

While many students have pinpointed the exact field of study they plan to major in in college, there are others who are still lost in the ever flowing swirl of ideas of the future and career paths.  Taking a gap year can not only give an opportunity for evolvement and relaxation after the turbulent years of high school, but can give the prospective student a chance to see and accomplish things they were never able to during their years of schooling.

Senior Christi Swing agrees that all students should consider taking a gap year to look at all of the possibilities.  “I decided to take a gap year because I was offered a mentorship opportunity with a talented musician in New Orleans starting the summer of my senior year,” Swing said. “I will be living in New Orleans learning how to become a better musician and how to network with businesses and other performers.”

More ideas for how to spend a gap year can be found on  Students interested in taking a gap year are encouraged to complete all admissions and testing before doing so.  More information on the topic of college admission in the situation of a gap year can be found here.

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