Seniors Take A Detour From Main Street
May 23, 2011
Filed under News
While most seniors prepare for college, several decide to take an alternative route as they embark on a “gap year.”
As school slowly comes to a close, the most frequently asked question among seniors seems to be “Where are you going to college?” For a small fraction of senior students, however, college is the least of their worries…at least for now.
Whether it be a personal choice or a result of money issues, some WCA students have opted against jumping straight into college after senior year and taking a year off.
While other students may be under the impression that not attending college the first year is a personal choice, sending a kid to college does not come cheap, and in some cases, not going to college right after high school seems like the most logical thing to do.
“My parents and I both considered the idea that it would be best for me to spend a year working and saving up money for the tuition,” said Taylor Wiggins, senior.
All money reasoning aside, there are indeed some students that are choosing to take a year off to slow things down a bit.
“After twelve years of school you just feel burnt out, and taking a year off to rest and focus on music sounds much more appealing than the rush of college life everyone else is dealing with,” said Andre Cataldo, senior.
Focusing on the non-academic aspect of their lives, some teenagers straight out of high school choose to take a year off to travel or be involved in mission work.
“I spent my first year after high school in Israel doing a mission trip and building houses. It was a good getaway to focus on someone other than myself,” said Shakked Halprin, graduate of Parkway Central High School.
While it may appear that engaging in a “gap year” before college is more nerve-wracking than actually getting ready to leave for college, studies show otherwise.
“Taking a gap year can actually make kids more focused and ready for the rigors of academic life. And better-prepared students means higher completion rates,” said MSNBC Today Parenting.
Some universities feel so strongly that a year off will improve their graduation rates, that they are even encouraging a gap year for undergraduate students.
Princeton University offers a bridge year program that allows incoming freshmen to spend a year doing community service in a foreign country.
“The goal of the program is to not only give recent high school graduates time away from academic pressures, but also to increase students exposure to the rest of the world earlier,” said Sandra Bermann, head of the program, in the Daily Princestonian, Princeton’s school newspaper.
Though it may seem that the year may disconnect students from the academic mindset, the year off could do the exact opposite.
“In most cases, the student taking a year off doesn’t have a lazy mentality but rather a determined purpose for doing so. One year wiser is one year older and one year more mature,” said Karen Aaberg, WCA administrative assistant.
The normal routine of WCA students is to jump straight into college directly after high school, which could easily intimidate some from taking a different path.
“It’s ‘the norm’ for students, at WCA especially, to stick to that life plan,,” said Kate Kindbom, college counselor, “but my hope for students is that they will take a risk, and do what they feel is right- not what most people say is ‘right.’”