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The Milton Measure

Gap Years: An Alternate Path Before College

by Cameron Hoffman on Friday, June 9th, 2017

As the school year comes to a close on June 9th, many of Milton’s new graduates will be looking forward to a short summer separating them from his or her next academic chapter. A few senior students, however, are looking forward to a year away from a traditional school setting to pursue their interests outside the classroom. Such students are taking a gap year.

A gap year is when students take a year-long break from school between their senior year of high school and their freshman year of college. While taking a gap year may detach students from their academic rhythm, it offers a unique opportunity for risk taking and trying new things, such as traveling the world or interning at a firm. Although the concept of a year in which one can pursue virtually anything sounds appealing, making the decision to take a gap year is not simple.

Gap year proponents believe that students who choose to take a gap year tend to have higher GPA’s as well as better ideas as to what they would like to major in. The same article adds that gap years provide students with opportunities that they would not find in the classroom such as networking with people of different experiences and engaging in unparalleled opportunities.

Choosing to take a gap year could be the wrong choice to make for those looking to be employed directly after their college graduation. According to an article published in May of 2016 by CNBC, the graduate job market is at an all time high with 21% of graduates having a job lined up before their graduation. In 2015, only 11% of graduates had a job situated for them before their graduation. This drastic change in post-grad employment shows that a lot can change in the job market very quickly. For those hoping to get a job as soon as possible, the instability might make them fear delaying their entrance to the work force by a year.

Additionally, some students may find that it is financially impossible for them to take a gap year. Although it should be noted that there are programs that provide scholarships for gap years such as Dream Volunteers, some students may find that they need to enter the job market as soon as possible, and thus they cannot take time off from attaining an undergraduate degree.

Gap years can take many different forms. They most commonly seem to be opportunities for students to visit different parts of the world, intern at different companies, or just to generally expand their worldview. Ms. Figueroa, Class I Dean, says that the most common gap years she has seen are for backpacking trips and road trips. There are other options, however, such as what Lauren Oliver (I) will be doing on her gap year.

For the first semester, Lauren will be in a program called Where There Be Dragons, where, in her own words, she will “be conducting an independent study project as well as be learning the culture and language through homestays and classes” at an abroad location.

Although she has not solidified plans for the second semester, she thinks that she will be doing a “Seamester.” During the “Seamester,” she will spend a semester on a sailboat learning about marine biology and oceanography, taking leadership and seamanship class, and getting her scuba certification. The Seamester begins in Cape Town, South Africa and will sail to Antigua.

When asked about why she wanted to take a gap year, Lauren said, “when I was younger I really wanted to take one because my older brother did and I saw how that experience not only affected him in such a positive way but also helped him to grow into a much more conscious person.” She also added that although during the college application process she forgot her desire for a gap year, when decisions were close to being given she realized that she wanted “to take time away to grow and learn in a more unconventional way.”

A few graduating seniors will be taking gap years next year. It is clear their time away from academics will be valuable, whether it be experiencing a new culture or exploring a potential career.


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Posted by Cameron Hoffman on Jun 9 2017. Filed under More News, News, Recent News. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0. You can leave a response or trackback to this entry

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