Are Gap Years A Good Idea?
When you think about graduating high school, it is almost ingrained in your brain that college is the next step. You think, “Who doesn’t have a college degree?” And where in life am I going to get without one. But school is not for everybody. A lot of kids, including me, just go to college because it seems like the right path. Kids who have no idea what they want to do, think “well a college degree could be useful,” well why would you want to go do something, when you have no idea why you’re even doing it. Well, there may be another option. There is a British tradition, which is called a gap year. Defined by Cambridge Dictionaries Online as “a year between leaving school and starting university which is usually spent travelling or working” (Cambridge University 1). Now this sounds interesting, doesn’t it? What if you had a whole year to do what you needed, travel or work, something to help you figure out what you really want to do with your life. In Britain, there is now this option. With this idea in your head a question comes to mind, should the U.S. adopt the British tradition of students taking a gap year? In the paragraphs below, I will tell you why I think the U.S. should. I have looked at both sides of whether or not the U.S. should adopt this British tradition. I have found though, that it is working tremendously for the UK. That is the main reason I think that the U.S. should use this idea, if it is working so great for the UK and their colleges have a better reputation maybe we should also think about adopting this idea. I think students should take a gap year for many other reasons also though, which have to do with the student. First and foremost, it offers a great worldly experience and gives students time to do what they need to do. It also gives those students who have no clue what they would like to major in or do after college, time. Time is what many students need, being rushed into college right after high school and having to do college applications during senior year really stresses some students out. Me being one of these students, last year when applying to colleges, I had to write that I was undecided. And here we are midway through my first semester of college, and I am still undecided and have absolutely no clue what I want to do. And I feel like a lot of students are in the unspoken situation I was in. Maybe if gap years were a more widely accepted idea and promoted then students who didn’t quite know what to do would have another option. Anybody can do gap years also! It is not just used for young students. Older people going back to school, have this option also. And no matter the money situation there are so many options, so no matter what if you wanted to travel you could. There are student travel abroad programs, volunteer and scholarship options. No matter if you have money or not, you can get a great worldly experience that will give you time and extra skills which most students will not have in college. Many people think taking a year off of school is dangerous. Not dangerous in a physical way, but mentally. An opinion of many who are asked about gap years is that students will not return to school once they have had the freedom of no school for a year. It is believed that students will become mentally lazy, and will not want to work again and realize that they really do not have to go back. But in researching this, I have found that kids who take gap years to do progressive things have loved their decisions and come back ready to learn again. On the infamous website planetgapyears.com, many students tell about their experiences with gap years and how it really helped them become motivated again. Even though people think kids will not go back to school, I think it’s better for someone to take a break then go to college when they are not ready. Studies show that “the dropout rate for incoming college freshman is almost 30%”...
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