By Rory Cunningham ’18
Henry Learner ’18 is planning to wave goodbye to his friends next year as they all go off to college without him. Instead of going to college, Learner is planning to take a gap year.
A gap year is when a student takes a year off the education system to pursue a passion of theirs that they otherwise could not have pursued.
Learner plans on taking a gap year involving service, leadership and professional experience in places outside of the state and country. He said it will be difficult to see all of his friends enjoying college but that he is excited for the opportunity of a gap year.
“I hope to gain a new perspective and to really find what I want in my own life,” Learner said.
After his gap year he said he is excited to pursue his college years and said he is glad to have a whole year to think about where he would like to attend and what he would like to study.
Counselor Mr. Gil Martinez says that colleges look for specific qualities in a student who takes a gap year before applying to college.
“Colleges want students to use the year for something creative or educational,” said Mr. Martinez. He said that gap years can be a time to start a student’s career interest, or, in unfortunate cases, a time to recover for health reasons.
Most high school seniors have spent roughly 13 years in the education system. Another four years right away could seem like a daunting task. Learner, who is already young for his grade, said “I want a year off from the education system to take time to better understand what I really want in my life before I enter college.”
“Students often will talk about taking a gap year early in the admissions process but none of my guys in the end decided to go once they got their acceptance letters from colleges,” Martinez said. He said he thinks his students choose not to take gap years because of the excitement that students have for their college years after receiving their acceptance letters.