Post-high school gap year should be embraced by students, colleges

By Austin Norville

For many, the time after graduation marks a transition into college life and the start of new independence.

But for some the time is disorienting and a gap year could prove beneficial.

In the United States the idea of taking a gap year between high school and college is unpopular and is often looked down upon by classmates and parents. However, in a changing society the idea of a gap year is becoming more popular and encouraged by universities around the country. For example, MIT allows someone to postpone their admission for a year.

By doing this they not only accept the idea of a gap year, but they also encourage it.

However that does not mean the students’ year should be filled with sitting around doing nothing. MIT expects its students to be productive saying that the year should be filled with traveling, working, volunteering or even researching.

I see this as a very positive effect, as students will become more mature and will be refreshed to start school again after being burned out over the last 12 years of education.

When I was thinking about taking a gap year, I had the plan to go to Japan and work in several different locations for free room and board.

However my parents felt worried that taking an untraditional path would lead to a less successful career.

They fear the possibility that I won’t return to school as many students who take a gap year tend to do. I see where their concern comes from, but that does not mean it will become my reality.

Around the world, especially in Europe, it is a cultural norm to take a gap year.

The alternative is students going to school when they are not fully ready, which can lead to them struggling and dropping out. That’s not ideal for their education and their pocketbooks.

In the United States the idea of taking a gap year is becoming more accepted.More students should consider this option in order to take the time to travel to grow and to mature before going to college in more ways than college can do.