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Gap year gives students - and parents - time to pause

Posted by Leslie Anderson  January 13, 2014 04:23 PM

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The high school graduates who take a gap year before going to college may be better off than their peers, according to an opinion column in Monday's Boston Globe.

Choosing to forgo school for a year can be intimidating as students worry about falling behind their friends and the possibility of tuition raises. But taking a year off to travel, volunteer, or work can help young adults find themselves and their academic interests.

An extra year can also give families time to sort out finances, Jennifer Graham argues in her column.

Those who take the leap will be able to hit the ground running when move-in day eventually arrives, rather than worry about spending a year’s worth of time and money “Undecided.”

Graham's own daughter took a gap year.

"Predictably, the eyebrows arched ever so slightly when I told family and friends she was not enrolling in college, but taking a year off from studying — first to earn money, and then to spend it in Europe. And in the fall, there were days she’d have rather been sitting in Psych 101 than working double shifts at Olive Garden," Graham writes.

"But in a week, she’s headed to Europe, possessed of a new backpack and a three-month rail pass, while her friends, many of whom have yet to declare majors, endure another semester of escalating student-loan debt and “Ferris Bueller”-like soliloquies of dubious worth."

Read the full column here.

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