Taking a Gap Year: Good For Student Education or Detrimental? Counter point

Jessica Rivera, Opinions Editor

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   Graduation is fast approaching, and high school students are all to familiar with the stress that comes with it. Choosing colleges and career paths can feel virtually impossible, so some students may toy with the idea of taking a gap year. Although it may seem like a plausible, even beneficial, option, gap years can be detrimental to student academic and social development.

   According to a website about different schooling options, “…not going directly to college after high school increases the chance that they will never go at all” (transcriptmaker.com).  No matter what students may do during their gap year, whether it be travel, work, or just enjoy their lives, the fact is that they will not be in school. This may just lead them to lose the motivation to go to a university the following year.

   It is understandable that some students may feel they are not ready to head to a university right after high school, but there are more productive paths that can be taken instead of gap years. Community College can be a wonderful transition between high school and a vigorous four-year university and is a good way to take a break of sorts while still furthering one’s education.

    Most students will choose to travel during their gap years, which no doubt can help develop worldly awareness and allow them to have experiences they could not have any other way, but this can be very costly. According to U.S. News and World Report, gap years cost an average of 10,000 to 20,000 dollars per year (usnews.com). This is vastly more than the cost of going to Community College, which costs an average of 4,834 dollars per year, and would not only have saved the student money, but would  also have gotten all of the General Ed requirements out of the way (communitycollegereview.com). After dealing with the expenses that come with taking a gap year, students may not even be able to afford going to a university.

   Students also may feel that the makeshift arrangements they have made for themselves during this gap year satisfy their lives’ goals. According to Senior Ella Ruff, “I know people who worked during their gap years and decided that their job paid enough for them so they decided not to get an education.” While the amount you can make with a high school diploma may be enough to get by, a college degree widely opens that span of employment  possibilities. According to a statistics website, the employment rate for college graduates is 86 percent while it is only at 72 percent for high school graduates (nces.ed.gov). The pay at a job when one is a teenager may seem satisfactory at that time, but later on in life, when one may have a family and no longer the time or means to go to college, it may cause serious regrets.

   Along with all of this, students will miss the opportunity to graduate among their peers as their academics have been delayed for an entire year. By delaying their education, their prospective job opportunities will also be delayed. Along with this, their social development may be stunted because they are not in the environment that they have been primed to be in since they started school.

   Even if students do somehow muster the motivation to go to university after taking a year off, they may have lost the knowledge and mental capability to keep up with the curriculum after not doing any coursework for an entire year. Entering a college-level chemistry class, for example, after not having studied chemistry for over two years, will not likely result in success.

   All in all, taking a gap year is not a good idea. It wastes time and money that could be spent gaining an education and furthering careers. So do the right thing — stay in school, kids!

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