Wednesday, April 23, 2008

The Gap Year

I was reading this post about the concept of a "gap year" and I found the idea fascinating. Imagine you had taken a year (a whole year!) prior to starting college to participate in a year of global volunteer service.

Maybe you haven't started college yet and would like to try taking a year off before you go into college. The thought process behind taking a gap year is that you will have gained a better understanding of yourself, what you would like to accomplish in college, and perhaps even a new-found passion for volunteering.

Princeton is even offering financial aid to students who wish to participate in the gap year but may not have the monetary means necessary. Harvard even encourages students to participate in the gap year in their acceptance letters to incoming freshman. It's a concept that is not unique to Europe or UK students but it is fairly unique concept for Americans about to enter college.

I hope colleges do not make it mandatory to have a gap year prior to entrance into the college, because if it becomes requirement it has the potential to loose all the meaning behind it. People should be able to have the choice to participate in global service.

That being said I would strongly encourage any student out there to participate in a gap year program. I did not know of the gap year when I was entering college but I did get to study abroad my junior year in college.

Do I regret not being able to partake in the gap year? In a word, nope. But it may be something you want to consider.

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