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A great way to enhance your college experience: delay it

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https://www.teenlife.com/blogs/should-you-consider-gap-year-college

https://www.teenlife.com/blogs/should-you-consider-gap-year-college

https://www.teenlife.com/blogs/should-you-consider-gap-year-college

Sophie Miller

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Editor’s Note: The following is an opinion piece.

Malia Obama is taking a gap year and then going to Harvard. This doesn’t really sound like an option for your everyday student, considering she’s the president’s daughter and she’s going to Harvard, but it turns out that taking a gap year is totally an option (even if Harvard isn’t).

Taking a gap year is essentially taking a year off before attending college. To most grade-obsessed students at Pascack Hills, a gap year sounds insane. The plan is: work hard, take as many AP classes as possible, join dozens of clubs, put together a great transcript with a solid GPA and beyond average SAT/ACT scores, and then apply to the college of your/your parents’ dreams. Then, go straight to college, do the same exhausting, stress-inducing routine all over again, and then find a job.  Or, repeat the process yet again in grad school. Not many people realize that it’s okay to stop and take a breath.

Taking a gap year can do a lot of great things, in fact, some colleges would prefer it! Amazing schools in favor of a gap year or allowing it are Yale University, Johns Hopkins University, University of Maryland, Boston University, Princeton University, Rutgers University, Barnard College, NYU, Syracuse University, and Harvard University.

According to American Gap Association, “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.”

There are a variety of benefits to taking a gap year. If you truly take advantage of the time off, you can get so many incredible things in return. Global Citizen Year, an organization geared towards students taking a gap year, has listed the top 10 benefits of taking that year off, some of which are: experiencing different cultures, prepping for college, improving yourself and boosting your job prospects, among so many others.

Teen Life, a company that described itself as being “The Leading Source for College Preparation: Summer Programs, Gap Year Programs, Community Service and more,” also boasts that, “parents, teens, and educators can’t say enough about the benefits of taking a gap year before college.” There are also tons of gap year programs offered!

PH senior Connor Kravatz is one of the students taking advantage of the gap year option. Connor will be attending University of Vermont, but he has deferred for a year. When asked why he chose to take a year off, Kravatz explained that he decided to take a gap year because he “wanted to mature and grow up a bit” and prove to himself that he could live independently.

Kravatz made sure to mention that he wanted to “pursue a life passion of skiing and become a better skier” in order to show off his “dope tricks” to his new UVM friends. Many believe that a gap year is useless and for “lazy” students who are putting off college, however Connor is making the most of his time off. He is working at a ski camp for a month, and then coming home so he can work and save money for his trip to Colorado where he will be “skiing everyday ‘till the end of the season.”

If you don’t want to take Connor’s word for it, check out these articles confirming the advantages:

http://time.com/3896925/gap-year-college-count/

http://www.forbes.com/sites/deniserestauri/2015/03/13/a-year-off-before-college-isnt-a-gap-its-a-launching-pad/#16ff22444407

http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2014/03/31/college-gap-year-program_n_5064815.html

http://www.nytimes.com/2014/03/16/opinion/sunday/go-west-young-people-and-east.html?_r=0

A gap year is also great for kids who are unsure of their future plans. If you’re not certain of where you want to go or what you want to study, maybe it’s better to take some time off and figure it out rather than rushing straight into something you are not ready for, and throwing away thousands of dollars to fund your indecision.

Many look back on college as the best years of their lives, but you’re less likely to have the amazing time you deserve if you’re just not ready for it. College is a huge step in your life; you’re leaving home and living on your own for the first time, as well as deciding what you’re going to pursue. It’s okay to need time to process all of the unfamiliar opportunities.

That being said, gap years are not for you to put off college so you can sleep on your parents’ couch for a year. They are meant for working, traveling, learning, and discovering.

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The Eyes, Ears, and Voice of Pascack Hills High School
A great way to enhance your college experience: delay it