Applying to college is onerous enough. Asking to defer enrollment for a year can be even more intimidating. Here’s how to navigate the gap-year process.
When to Apply to College
Delay freshman year, not your application. Students interested in a year off should still apply to college their senior year of high school, advises Michele Hernández, co-president of Top Tier Admissions and a former admissions officer at Dartmouth. It ensures that you’ll have access to your school’s resources and won’t be bogged down with applications and standardized testing during a year that may include travel abroad.
“You’d be surprised how quickly your high school forgets you,” Dr. Hernández said. “It’s really hard to go back and ask for teacher recommendations and the other materials you might need after a year has passed.”
It’s also a good idea to keep options open should plans suddenly change. You might not get that internship or job you were counting on, or you might get into a college with even better options for a bridge year, like the tuition-free international program at Princeton or Tufts’ “1+4” program, offering both national and international service opportunities.
When to Ask for a Gap Year
Harvard has long encouraged applicants to consider a year off, but that won’t increase your chances of getting in. While more and more institutions are seeing value in a gap year, it’s better to inform them of your intentions after you’ve been accepted.
“It might work against you because admissions’ priority is filling that year,” Dr. Hernández said. “They don’t know what the next year is going to look like.”
If your plans have merit — education, work or service components — they are likely to agree. But, she said, “depending on what you’re going to do, a gap year can be viewed as slightly frivolous. So that’s why I say, get in first and then propose an idea.”
If a college has no gap year program, write to the admissions director before deposits are due. Describe plans for the year ahead, and ask whether time off will affect any scholarships the school has offered for freshman year.
Where to Find Resources
USA Gap Year Fairs organizes events where students can hear about an array of programs and speak with professionals in the field: 39 were held this winter; a list of locations for 2018 will be published in the fall (usagapyearfairs.org). The American Gap Association accredits independent programs that offer skills- or service-based learning experiences. It maintains lists of the programs, which run a few weeks to a year, and their scholarships, as well as university policies on deferring enrollment (www.americangap.org).
The association tracked $2.8 million in need-based support for gap year programs in 2015. Some universities even provide funding for service-based experiences. Florida State University offers $5,000 gap year fellowships, and the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill offers fellowships of $7,500, with a focus on students from rural school districts in the state.
Chapel Hill is impressed with the results.
“Students in the gap year fellowship don’t struggle like other freshmen do with the transition into college,” said Richard Harrill, who helped design the program. Instead, he said, participants “become even more intellectually hungry.”
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IELTS Writing Task 2 Sample 412 – Should students take a gap year before attending universities
- Last Updated: Sunday, 04 March 2018 13:15
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IELTS Writing Task 2/ IELTS Essay:
You should spend about 40 minutes on this task.
In many countries, students take a year gap after finishing school and work or travel during this period. Should students take a gap year before attending universities? What are the advantages and disadvantages of it?
Give reasons for your answer and include any relevant examples from your own knowledge or experience.
You should write at least 250 words.
Model Answer 1:
One of the most conspicuous trends among today’s pupils is taking a year off for travel or job before commencing the tertiary education. This is a phenomenon which leads to both problems and advantages. In my opinion, a year break for the students has both positive and negative effects. This essay will discuss the influence of a year gap on the teenagers and will lead to a reasoned conclusion.
A deluge of merits can back this stance to take the break. The most preponderant is that students can alleviate their stress during the holiday period. For instance, students after studying for a long period, get a break to relax psychologically and physically. In addition to this, this would be the opportunity for them to travel outside the country, learn foreign culture and current market trends. So meanwhile they develop maturity and possess an enthusiasm for the university education. Hence it is apparent why students need a vacation before joining the university.
On the contrary, many students get deviated from their studies and feel difficult to start the academic education after having a long break. Some of the teenagers get attracted to the lavish lifestyles and prefer to adopt obnoxious habits. Needless, to say all these demerits have a far-reaching impact on the students.
In view of the arguments outlined above, we can conclude that the potential drawbacks of having a break after secondary education are too dire to ignore despite some merits. Hence, the parents and the students have to consider the consequences before deciding to a year break from studies between their school and university education.
[Written by – Sripuja]
Sample Answer 2:
In recent days, it is quite common for young adults having a break time after graduating from secondary school. It is not the case of rich people choosing travelling as a destination while poor young adults prefer to work in spite of entering university for a period of time. I personally believe that there will be a number of positives and drawbacks in both cases.
The reasons for this issue may involve the recognition of restricting knowledge and experiences in entering university studies, comparison with deciding to work or take a journey which will give a broader view of life. The young adult will be better on the resources of the personal life because for both cases are able to develop them as the independent people. Students deciding work or explore the beauty of world definitely gain some practical experiences and recognise the meaning of life rather than spending much time with some papers or plenty of assignments.
On the other hand, the disadvantages of both cases perhaps make people not interested again in continuing their study. They may end their study because of enjoying their daily life. Moreover, they may face some problems in adapting academic environment after spending a lot of time in work field or adventures. Therefore they probably think that it is better to pursue a career in particular jobs or do something different which can make this life full of colours in spite of studying in university. However, it will be less of people deciding break because to obtain a better future academic qualification as a primary of requirements.
In conclusion, having off time for young adults after graduating secondary school is not a wrong decision. They may argue that spending time for gaining greater experiences is one way to enjoy this life before coming to the environment which has many differences from the previous study.
[by Tuty Starlet ]
Sample Answer 3:
Some people are in favour of students taking a gap year before university, while others believe such a break in education is disruptive. I believe that while there are arguments in favour of both views, that students benefit more from continuing their education straight from secondary to tertiary level.
On one side of the argument, a gap year provides opportunities for work experience, personal development and a period of relaxation away from the stresses of full-time education. High-school students are subjected to enormous pressure to achieve high grades, particularly in Asia, meaning that leisure time is practically non-existent and young people have little chance to indulge in hobbies or recreational activities After-school classes, summer schools and exam preparation courses also prevent many high-school students from engaging in sports which can develop teamwork and leadership skills, or from travel which allows them to gain cultural awareness and to develop as individuals. A gap year would provide just such opportunities.
Furthermore, work experience either in paid employment or in a voluntary capacity would give students practical skills, a sound work ethic and an appreciation of the value of money they have earned themselves. Such experiences help students to become more rounded individuals, enhance their CVs when they apply for scholarships or work after graduation and provide employers with valuable insight into an individual’s aptitude, personality and ambitions.
On the other side of the argument, many students returning from a break in academic study find it very difficult to adjust to university life, give up their ideas of a higher education altogether, or waste their gap year in worthless activities. Starting a university course after a year’s break is difficult. Gap-year students are a year behind their high-school friends and have forgotten many of the lessons learned in school, or indeed, how to study at all. Many also miss the income from unskilled gap-year jobs and decide that they would rather have money now than wait for a better salary later, prompting some to abandon their scholarly ambitions altogether. In the Philippines, for example, some students are enticed into non-skilled jobs with attractive salaries, forgetting that what they can earn after graduation will, in the long run, provide far better financial security. There are also many high school students who start a gap-year with good intentions, but fail to find work or a worthwhile activity and end up wasting their time – something they find hard to explain to future employers.
In conclusion, while some students may profit from taking a gap year, I am convinced that for the majority of students a year’s break is detrimental to both their educational progress and their final careers.
[by Jill ]
Sample Answer 4:
Taking a gap year off between high school and the university has become a popular choice for many students. There are a number of common ways they utilise this time; such as travelling abroad, volunteering or working. I personally believe that this kind of experience should be recommended to students more actively since they can offer youngsters several benefits.
Spending time outside of school indicates that students can encounter opportunities to interact with people who they are not used to communicating with. Foreigners they meet while travelling overseas or colleagues from volunteering and work enable them to develop exceptional social skills to talk to others with cultural, racial or age differences. Such experiences can subsequently motivate them to be a more confident and outgoing person, which is believed to help them establish a solid social network.
Another distinctive advantage that a gap year break can give to students is a time to try out different types of practical work. Many teenagers graduate from high school without having clear occupational plans. However, participating in work experience programs or working part-time before starting university can broaden their perspectives on career choices. An exemplary case can be illustrated by looking at my sister, who spent six months teaching English in Cambodia during her gap year. While she was looking after the disadvantaged local kids, she developed a desire to work for international charity organisations and she enrolled in an international studies degree.
In conclusion, I am convinced that the society should encourage more high school graduates because the process of establishing social skills and trials on different jobs can provide them with invaluable life experiences.
[by Kay Lim ]
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