Bridging the Gap Between High School and College

Sophia Jamille

From May 2011:

With the school year coming to a close, many seniors are in the final stages of deciding where they want to attend school in the fall. Some are bound to leave the nest and go out of state for college, others will stay home and attend an in-state institution.
But jumping into college fresh out of high school is not necessarily the path for everyone. “I considered taking a year off to just be on my own and decide which path is best for me,” said senior Nick Glickman (’11). “I ultimately decided I will most likely go to a state college, but I may take some time off later on down the road. That way, I can take time to myself and really discover exactly what it is that I want to do with my future.”
Recently, not only have more and more students decided to take a “gap” year, but more and more colleges are encouraging it. Big wigs like Harvard University and MIT are encouraging students to take a year off and get some much needed time to themselves. The Harvard admissions website even has a section on the page specifically advocating the option of taking time off. The ivy league school claims approximately 50 to 70 students defer their admission in order to take a year off. If you are wondering why, the answer is simple. Most students have been in school the majority of their lives, going from elementary school all the way through high school, without a break. Students go on to college afterwards being burned out and in some cases, unprepared.
“I can see the appeal of taking a year off,” said senior Nia Johnson. “That isn’t necessarily what I myself am going to do, but there are some people that want to take breaks and get a clear idea on what they want to do for the rest of their lives.”
Taking a gap year, while the thought may be difficult for some to grasp, can be beneficial to a student. With a year off, a student can have time to become more focused and mentally prepare themselves for the rigor that comes along with a college course load. Schools such as Princeton even ​​offer a “bridge year” where newly admitted students can choose to take a year off and travel abroad to do community service before starting their freshman year.
“Taking a year off after high school or after completing undergrad ultimately depends on the individual,” said SAT prep teacher Marti Macon-Gee. “Often many students need the break prior to continuing their educational journey just to prevent ‘burn out’. However all the variables need to be examined prior to making the decision. If you are a disciplined person and know you will only take one year off, go for it.”