The Benefits of a Gap Year Essay

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Taking a “gap year” off between high school and university has become a popular alternative among many adolescents. A “gap year” is a period of time, usually an academic year, when a student takes a break from formal education and routine (“Gap Year.”). This time off provides a break after many years of formal study and is often spent travelling or working. In the past, taking a gap year resulted in problematic return into education. Today, however, they are generally seen as positive and are supported by Universities and employers. The idea behind a gap year is that it offers opportunities practical experiences, which enable young people to learn more about themselves and what they want to do in their future. While education is…show more content…
As Greg Kristof, a gap year taker and now sophomore at Harvard University, stated in the interview that I conducted, “In America it seems that college is a huge rite of passage when actually it’s a huge investment”. Differences in the US schooling system, including more travel experiences and extracurricular activities conclude in the need for a gap year being decreased. Additionally, there's a sense of ignorance towards gap years in the US. In is common for American high schools to provide students with counselors and programs to help them prepare for college. In conjunction with this, AP tests and the SATs are designed to streamline the college application process; making continuing on to college is a natural and expected next step. Gap years are not as common in the US due to the unfamiliarity of gap years and the different schooling system. Fig1: A graph displaying the gap year enrollment trends in percentages from 2006.2013. Gap Year % Enrollment Trends. Americangap. American Gap Association, n.d. Web. 6 Mar. 2014. <http://www.americangap.org/images/AGA%20Enrollment%20Trends.png>. Various disadvantages, moreover dangers, have to be taken into consideration about the gap year. The notion of going against the social norm and/ or breaking tradition, to a higher degree in the US, can be difficult for adolescents to overcome. As Killen notes

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