From the top Ivy League Universities to private college consultants, experts in higher education are saying that taking a gap year can do nothing but benefit high school graduates. A gap year has been described as a modern day rite of passage and an opportunity to not only take advantage of the natural break between high school and college, but to unplug from the everyday classroom. A gap year is a chance to reboot into a new style of learning, to embark on real work and world experiences and to gain a better sense of identity, self confidence, and hone in on one's ability to be a critical thinker. What this formative break away from the classroom can do, is to ignite a desire for change, awake a passion for learning, and expose a young adult to multiple fields of study and career paths to serve as inspiration in gaining a direction for college.
"Sydni Heron treated machete wounds and helped deliver a baby at a small-town clinic in Ecuador following her graduation from Ames High School in Iowa.
Now, she's headed to college to study nursing.
Heron, 19, took what in the U.S. remains an unconventional route to college by delaying enrollment one year to work and gain life experience, a concept known as a gap year."
Taking Time Off, Harvard University Admissions Department
"Harvard College encourages admitted students to defer enrollment for one year to travel, pursue a special project or activity, work, or spend time in another meaningful way - provided they do not enroll in a degree-granting program at another college. Deferrals for two-year obligatory military service are also granted. Each year, between 50 and 70 students defer their matriculation to the College. For more thoughts on the advantages of taking time off before college, read the article below "Time Out or Burn Out for the Next Generation" written by William R. Fitzsimmons, Dean of Admissions, Harvard College, Marlyn E. McGrath, Director of Admissions, Harvard College, and Charles Ducey, Adjunct Lecturer in Psychology, Harvard Graduate School of Education."
Gap Year: The Growing Appeal of Not Going Right to College, Time Magazine
"The idea that formal education has to be a sprint from age 5 to 21 seems to be changing. Says Clagett: 'Getting a job for a year, even if it’s flipping hamburgers, still can be a productive experience and can help students just do something other than think about what they have to do to get into college.'"
Is College Really Going to Help You Now? 4 Reasons to Take a Travel Year Instead, Forbes Business Magazine Features Adventures Cross-Country
"While many teenagers are eager to start college in the fall immediately following high school graduation, many are not so sure. Some teens might not know what they want to study or simply want to take a break from academia for a semester or two. Known as a “gap year,” this teen travel trend is growing among graduating seniors. Parents are going along with it in order to let their kids experience the world for a while before buckling down to get a college education. Teens can actually glean a lot from time spent traveling, working or volunteering services. Sometimes the best education is life experience. Taking a gap year might be the best educational decision you ever make."
How to Become a World Citizen, Before Going to College, The New York Times
"FOUR jobs. Seventy hours a week. All summer. That has been Erin Sullivan’s schedule since graduating from high school. (Dinner was often in her car, driving from lifeguarding to baby-sitting). But it has been worth it, said Ms. Sullivan, 18, of Lawrenceville, N.J., who was to leave this weekend for Latin America on a mostly self-financed “gap year” of volunteering, home stays and Spanish lessons before attending college in fall 2007. 'I want a better idea what I’m going for before I go,' said Ms. Sullivan, who is deferring admission to American University."
A primer on gap years, The Washington Post
"It’s the season when high school seniors are frantically filling out college applications and trying to figure out where they will be and what they will be doing next fall.
There is some evidence that a growing number of U.S. high school graduates are taking a year off before going to college. But there are questions about how gap years work, and who they benefit and what colleges think about them.
To get some answers, I talked with Laura R. Hosid, an expert on gap years at the Vinik Educational Placement Services, Inc. in Bethesda, and you can read the Q & below. Hosid can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org."
Princeton University Introduces Gap Year Deferment Option and Bridge Year Alternative for Incoming Freshman
"Seeking to bolster international opportunities for students, the University will announce a “bridge year” program today that would allow incoming freshmen to defer matriculation and spend a year doing community service in a foreign country. The program, which will form part of the “Princeton in the World” initiative, grew from conversations between President Tilghman and Provost Christopher Eisgruber ’83 about the fact that most students do not participate in study abroad programs until later in their academic careers, Tilghman said in an interview last night. The program is intended to increase students’ exposure to the rest of the world earlier in their Princeton careers."
The Gap Year: Breaking up the “Cradle to College to Cubicle to Cemetery” Cycle, The New York Times
"'How many of you would love to take a gap year right now?' Holly Bull, an independent student gap year adviser asked a room full of college counselors early on Saturday morning. A groggy audience sprang to life, all hands shooting up at a lecture entitled 'Gap Year: American Style' at the National Association of College Counselors conference in New Orleans. The idea of taking time off between high school and college — a self-exploratory sabbatical in the free spirit of 1970s — has increasingly become a structured concept in the United States, with counselors like Ms. Bull linking students and parents up with formal programs. As the number of students who opt to take a gap year has grown, so, too, has awareness of gap year benefits to the student, said Robert Clagett, former dean of admissions at Middlebury College (and formerly an admissions officer at Harvard)."