Taking a Gap Year


By: Alima Mootoo

A whole year without any schoolwork sounds like a dream to students, but is it really what they should do? The White House’s announcement that Malia Obama is taking a year off before going to Harvard University has caused controversy across the nation.

Some universities allow students to postpone their entry for a year, or (on the rare occasion) two, upon receiving their acceptance letter. All they have to do is outline their plans for that year, and the school will accept it accordingly.

Studies have shown that students who wait to go to college end up in more satisfying careers and do better in school in comparison to those who don’t take time off. Many Ivy league schools tend to encourage students to consider the delay, including Malia Obama’s future school. Harvard’s dean of admissions, William Fitzsimmons, declared in an essay that students are self-destructing because of how fast they’re expected to grow up. The solution for this is to pause and take some time away from the books. Harvard students who have taken up this scholarly advice have shown “uniformly positive” results.

During their year off, students spend time volunteering, studying abroad, or even learning foreign languages. However, taking a year off can be very costly. Many of those who choose to partake in gap years tend to be from higher-income households. However, some schools, like Florida State University, have started providing financial aid to students in order to expose the students to more things before entering college.

Taking time off from school would allow students to prepare mentally for the years of school to come.


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