The ben­e­fits of tak­ing a gap year

Walker County Messenger - - Worship Directory -

Whereas high school grad­u­ates once felt com­pelled to en­roll in col­lege the fall af­ter re­ceiv­ing their high school diplo­mas, nowa­days a greater num­ber of teens are opt­ing to take time off be­tween grad­u­at­ing high school and go­ing to col­lege. Known as a “gap year,” this trend has be­come in­creas­ingly pop­u­lar in re­cent years.

Ac­cord­ing to the Amer­i­can Gap As­so­ci­a­tion, at­ten­dance at Gap Year Fairs, which aim to bring to­gether Gap Year or­ga­ni­za­tions, in­ter­ested stu­dents and par­ents, has in­creased by 294 per­cent since 2010. While there are no statis­tics in­di­cat­ing just how many stu­dents take gap years be­fore go­ing to col­lege, the in­crease in fair at­ten­dance sug­gests more stu­dents are in­ter­ested in tak­ing a year away from school af­ter earn­ing their high school diplo­mas.

Each stu­dent is dif­fer­ent, so what en­tices one stu­dent to take a gap year may not do the same for his or her class­mate. How­ever, the fol­low­ing are some of the po­ten­tial ben­e­fits of tak­ing a gap year be­tween high school and col­lege.

· Gap years give more time to find a ma­jor. Many in­com­ing col­lege fresh­men feel pres­sured to choose a ma­jor even though they are un­cer­tain about which cour­ses of study they hope to pur­sue. Col­leges and uni­ver­si­ties may not re­quire in­com­ing fresh­men to choose ma­jors, but that does not stop many from do­ing just that. Stu­dents who have no idea what they want to study can ben­e­fit from the time gap years af­ford them to fur­ther ex­plore their in­ter­ests. The year away may help stu­dents dis­cover hid­den in­ter­ests, while vol­un­teer­ing dur­ing gap years may in­spire some to pur­sue ca­reers they oth­er­wise may never have con­sid­ered had they not found the time to vol­un­teer.

· Gap years may pro­vide stu­dents with op­por­tu­ni­ties to travel. Some or­ga­ni­za­tions now con­nect stu­dents tak­ing gap years with op­por­tu­ni­ties to work over­seas. The work may not be lu­cra­tive, but it can give stu­dents the chance to ex­pe­ri­ence life in other coun­tries. Such an ex­pe­ri­ence may prove in­valu­able and help stu­dents to bet­ter un­der­stand the world that awaits them upon grad­u­at­ing col­lege.

· Gap years give stu­dents a chance to ex­hale. Stu­dents who spent their high school years work­ing hard in the class­room and en­gag­ing in ex­tracur­ric­u­lar ac­tiv­i­ties may ben­e­fit from the time to breathe and re­lax that gap years af­ford. Step­ping away from a hec­tic sched­ule can pro­vide stu­dents with the chance to re­flect on their in­ter­ests and ex­plore how they want the next chap­ter of their lives to un­fold.

· Gap years can help stu­dents earn some money. While gap years may not make young stu­dents rich, stu­dents who spend their gap years work­ing can earn money that can help them pay for col­lege tu­ition or cover the ad­di­tional costs as­so­ci­ated with go­ing to col­lege, such as room and board.

Gap years give young stu­dents a chance to learn about them­selves and more time to ex­plore what they want to do with their lives af­ter high school.

Ed­ward Elkins Casto Don­nie Dewayne Dees Dy­lan R. McPher­son Charles JosephMot­ley Caleb Ash­ton Vines Daniel A.Yar­brough

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