Editorial: Taking a gap year

June 12, 2017

After nearly two decades of school, it can become difficult to remember that life exists beyond the classroom. Taking on a four-or-more year degree after years of study is daunting. In order to have real-world experiences, it’s important to step outside of the classroom, and taking a gap year in between high school and college offers people that opportunity.

Committing to years of study in one field is a big decision, and it’s one that often can’t be made after just a few years of high school. Gap years allow for time to gain real-world experience in a field before committing to an education in it. In taking a gap year, someone considering a degree in education could take the opportunity to teach abroad. This person could figure out whether or not they actually want to go into that field by taking part in one of many teaching abroad programs available to gap year students before committing thousands of dollars to an education in it.

This real-world experience could prove to be valuable in applying for jobs. As opportunities for dream careers become steadily more rare, having legitimate experience in a field becomes increasingly valuable. Taking a gap year allows time for people to expand their resumes by taking on jobs or internships. These, in addition to a future degree, make applications much more appealing to employers.

In some cases, the opportunity to work during a gap year might make all the difference when it comes to paying tuition later on. For those who can’t afford higher education, gap years allow time to make the money needed to cover a few years of tuition. This is helpful in the long run because those who work during a gap year will face less student debt after they graduate.

Although gap years are often helpful, there are a few situations in which they might do more harm than good. For instance, if someone is certain that they will take on much more than a four-year degree, they might not take a gap year in order to avoid graduating even later than they already would be. For those that need many years of education in medicine or law fields, a gap year might just postpone their final graduation even further.

For those not pursuing graduate school, especially, gap years can provide the perfect break from rigorous schooling. For students that can’t face the continuous grind of academia, gap years are the chance to temporarily leave the halls of a school and see what the world has to offer.

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