Gap year not for all

Erik Burnell Reporter

“I haven’t actually seen any student take a gap year,” guidance counselor Colleen Pribyl said. “I personally didn’t take a gap year; I started college right away.”

When thinking about the future, a gap year is often not thought of or put into consideration for most students. Taking a year off before beginning the next step in the one’s educational journey might give students time to consider where to finish school, or what to explore during the gap year. There is time to consider options, to learn something about oneself and peers, and to spend time with family.

“There should be a point to taking a gap year. Not just to use this time as a long break,” Pribyl said. “It should be time for finding future plans such as employment, living, etc.”

Reasons for one person’s gap year may be vastly different from someone else’s. Students who are undecided about their future might feel like they need the time to figure things out and take a mental break, which they might need to achieve the best results. According Harvard College, between 90 and 130 students delay their attendance  every year and “report their experiences to be uniformly positive.”

“We encourage admitted students to defer enrollment for one year to travel, pursue a special project or activity, work, or spend time in another meaningful way – provided they do not enroll in a degree-granting program at another college,” Harvard stated on their website. 

Other colleges actually favor students that take their gap year, such as New York University who said it gives students time to learn about themselves, to learn  responsibility, and to refocus on school. 

“I suppose for some it could help with their decision of what to do tomorrow” Pribyl said. “For example, if they were on the fence about college or workforce, it could help them make that decision.”

While beneficial to some, taking a gap year can might not work for everyone, possibly leading to more unemployment because people might lose interest in working or learning anything. If a student doesn’t care or cares little about school, there’s a chance a gap year just means they’re free. Otherwise, students who are focused most likely use the gap year as a year of improvement by looking out for job openings, etc. Considerations like money can influence where and when students finish school.

If taking a gap year sounds like a viable option or something useful, students can consider how they can be productive during their gap year, and think of everything they can learn, whether it be about themselves or the world around them.