Should You Take a Gap Year or go to College Right Away?

The pros and cons of waiting before enrolling
For an assortmentStudent looking at books of reasons, a number of graduating high school seniors opt to take time off before enrolling in college classes. Taking this “gap year” is beneficial in many ways, but it also could be a hindrance. Before deciding, educate yourself on the advantages and disadvantages of taking a gap year.

Pros

  • It allows students to recharge after years of the academic grind. In fact, Robert Clagett, former dean of admissions at Middlebury College, saw a higher GPA by up to .2 for students who took a gap year.
  • It gives students more time to gain some perspective on where they are and where they want to be in the future.
  • Many students use the gap year to gain valuable work experience or volunteer, which are not only great resume-builders, but also result in increased focus and maturity — both crucial aspects for the life of a future college student.
  • Working full-time can help students save up for the large costs associated with college — i.e. tuition, room and board, books, etc.
  • Barring extreme circumstances, most students can pick up their education right where it left off after a short break.

Cons

  • Those who wait before applying or enrolling can lose access to important resources such as guidance counselors and scholarship opportunities available to those fresh out of high school.
  • According to a recent article in Time magazine, many parents worry that once their child steers away from the typical track, they’re less prone to go back.
  • Gap year’s can be expensive as Rasmussen.edu explains, “Even with a clear cut and properly executed plan, opponents say a gap year can be expensive, adding to student debt and sometime[s] making college harder to afford.”
  • Starting a year later means finishing a year later, further pushing off the actual start of your career, and with a competitive job market, this could set you back even further.
  • Your skills could suffer with the time off. Bradford Holmes of Varsity Tutors noted, “If you don’t feel burned out, it may be best to continue your schooling without a break and maintain academic momentum.”

Planning for a successful gap year
If you do decide to take a gap year, it is important to be fully prepared to avoid the negatives that may come, and to develop a clear plan on action. Start planning ahead by speaking with high school and college counselors and having an internship, job or volunteer opportunity already lined up. You can also meet with lenders of student loans or grants to help ensure your gap year won’t turn into a horror story. Regardless, your decisions will have tremendous implications on your future. The positivity or negativity of those effects is all up to you.

There is no wrong choice when it comes to taking a gap year. Draw your own conclusion, but when the time comes for financing your college education, stop by and see the options we have for you.

Used with Permission. Published by IMN Bank Adviser Includes copyrighted material of IMakeNews, Inc. and its suppliers.

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