NPR ran a story by reporter Tovia Smith introducing and explaining the ‘gap year’. In simplest terms a gap year is a period (it can be a semester or a year) between high school graduation and college matriculation that a student uses to work or pursue an interest before settling into the strictures of college studies.
Gap year programs allow students to pursue a specific interest, learn about something new, and gain perspective. Programs can be academic, cultural experience based, and or work based. The goal is to make sure to make the time productive.
Smith does nice job of addressing two important issues:
- What thinking, questions, and answers lead you to the conclusion that a gap year would be a good experience for you or your student?
- Gap years cost money and the notion that gap years are the province of students with means who can afford to take a year off persists. Gap years can be based on income producing work.
It’s interesting to see that Princeton now offers support to students who enter public service during this bridge year.
You can hear Tovia Smith’s full report on NPR’s web site.
Interested in learning about specific programs? Check out AQ’s list of gap year opportunities.