The Edge

Should You Take a Gap Year?

A+picture+of+a+gap%0ACredit%3A+Twenty20.com
A picture of a gap
Credit: Twenty20.com

A picture of a gap Credit: Twenty20.com

A picture of a gap Credit: Twenty20.com

Aidan Simpson, Staff Writer

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Believe it or not, the end of the school year is fast approaching and that leaves many graduating seniors with a decision, should they take a gap year before college? The idea seems appealing, no academic stress, no failed tests or bad grades, no high school drama, and it gives them a chance to find out what they want to do with their lives, whether that involves college or not. However, taking a gap year could also lead to many issues, worries about pay and housing, what jobs to take that can fully support themselves, disapproval from their parents. It is certainly a risk. Before rushing at the opportunity to take the year off it is important to understand the pros and cons of a gap year.

Pros of a gap year:

It gives you time to figure out what you want to do with your life. Graduating creates a lot of decisions to be made, one of which is what kind of career you seriously want to pursue, and sometimes that takes time. During a gap year, you can use some of the time pondering what life has to offer and what you want to do.

It immediatly immerses you into adulthood. If you have lived a protected life with your mother or father taking a gap year is an excellent way of realizing what the outside world has to offer and how much of a challenge supporting yourself can be. This allows you to mature enough to be able to handle college without outside aid or excessive financial compensation from your parents.

You can submit an application with job experience. Did you want to apply for a computer science program? Spend your gap year improving your coding skills and getting involved with outside companies. Including in your application essay your time working with these companies and your improved skills would help in getting you accepted. This, of course, would work for any job.

Cons of a gap year:

Loss of academic momentum. You leave high school with your mind fired up and geared towards learning, taking a gap year could not only slow learning, but make you forget all those skills you learned in high school that are needed for your base courses.

It will leave you a year behind. Not only would the speed at which you learn decrease, you wouldn’t learn the entirety of the gap year in an academic setting. You would be a year behind yourself and behind the rest of your friends.

Gap years can be expensive. Most people during their gap year want to spend it exploring the world and themselves. This is astronomically expensive for a person straight out of highschool, assuming your parents would pay for you, which would detract from the growing adulthood you are supposed to gain during a gap year. This will also add to your student debt.

Gap years are not for everyone. Taking one is a decision that must be carefully thought over and planned out, both pros and cons accounted for. Consider cost, savings, travel, and overall why you’re taking it. Consider what colleges support the idea of a gap year and spend time applying to those. Taking a gap year is risky, but risks are meant to be taken.

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