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The New York Times

How to Become a World Citizen, Before Going to College

“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.”

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Forbes Business Magazine Features Adventures Cross-Country

Is College Really Going to Help You Now? 4 Reasons to Take a Travel Year Instead

“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.”

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Harvard College

Time Out or Burn Out for the Next Generation

“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 80 and 110 students defer their matriculation to the College.”

“Many speak of their year away as a “life-altering” experience or a “turning point,” and most feel that its full value can never be measured and will pay dividends the rest of their lives. Many come to college with new visions of their academic plans, their extracurricular pursuits, the intangibles they hoped to gain in college, and the career possibilities they observed in their year away. Virtually all would do it again.”

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Time Magazine

Gap Year: The Growing Appeal of Not Going Right to College

“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.'”

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