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by Amy A '11

Doing A “Gap Year”

You have just spent an amazing night out at prom and have graduated from high school. Now it is time to start your freshman year of college. But instead of packing up for your freshman year, you decide to buy a plane ticket to Madrid, Spain. Doesn’t this sound surreal? Taking a year off between high school and the first year of college is becoming more popular among teenagers. Guidance counselors and college admissions officers have begun recommend more often that students take a gap year.
The percentage of incoming first year students to Princeton, Harvard and MIT who took a year off between high school and college has increased over the past decade. Although taking a gap year is a new experience, it is often costs around the same amount as one year’s tuition to a university. Some study abroad programs that students planning on taking a gap year can take advantage of are Beyond Borders, Global Gap and CIEE. Beyond Borders, is very expensive and allows students to volunteer in third-world countries. It costs $39,000 while another program, Global Gap, costs $30,000. CIEE is another travel abroad gap year experience that broadens students’ global awareness by giving them a taste of international experience. As part of CIEE, one can choose to live with a host family, volunteer, or try to learn the native language of the country they choose to live in.
Research has been collected regarding how taking a gap year affects students’ academic performance once they enter college. According to Robert Clagget, an admissions officer at Middlebury, “a single gap semester was the strongest predictor of academic success at his school.” When students take a break from school, they tend to enter college with more energy. In opposition to Clagget, Stefani DeLuca, a professor at John Hopkins University, found to be that students who took a year off to delay college were 64% less likely to receive their bachelor’s degree than those who entered their college directly after graduating high school.

By Mr. Lakhaney

TOK Teacher

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