MSNBC.com posted an article today that I found surprising and interesting. Apparently some of America’s highest-regarded institutes of higher learning are suggesting that graduating seniors take a year off before they start college. Fascinating! From the article:
It’s called a “gap year.” And while it’s been a common and popular rite of passage in Australia and the U.K. for decades, the concept is now starting to gain significant steam here in America.
A gap year, huh? Lump me into that portion of the American public who went to nursery school, then immediately to preschool, then immediately to grade school, then immediately to high school, then immediately to college, then immediately to graduate school, and then immediately into the full-time workforce. I started my education at 2 years old and I finished it (for the time being) at age 25. No “gap” year for me…or most of the people that I know, quite frankly. More from the article:
A growing number of high school seniors are balking at riding the academic conveyer belt from preschool all the way to university. They’re burnt out. Or not quite ready. Or they want to explore a few interests before deciding what to study in college. So instead of packing their bags in anticipation of freshman year, they’re volunteering in New Orleans or teaching in Thailand. They’re starting the great American novel, or interning to help figure out what they want to do with their lives.
I love it!
What a brilliant idea, if you can afford it. Using hindsight as 20/20, I would have loved to travel for a little bit before going to college or before going to graduate school. Of course, I couldn’t do that before graduate school because if you don’t go back to school, then you have to start paying back your loans. However, taking a year off before college to do something else would have been a good idea – especially this idea of trying to get an internship or two in the off year. Good thinking.
I would have loved that internship idea because honestly, at 27 years old, I’m not entirely sure that my current field is one that I want to stay in for the long-term. Anyway, this is an interesting idea and I wish that there was some data to show that taking a year off after high school provided a net benefit for the student. I’m also lured by the idea of a “gap” year where you have no “real world” responsibilities! I was just telling one of my roommates that once I pay off my student loans and all other major outstanding debts AND I put aside enough money to live a scant life off of the interest, it has always been my plan to either take a sabbatical from my job or leave the workforce for about a year. Again, I’ve never really had a “break” from school or athletics or work and I’m not willing to wait until I’m 67 for my first long-term vacation!
But I have to get there first… Wish me luck! 🙂
Who says it has to be a vacation when you take this gap time. I was a screwup in high school so my parents would not pay for my college. Not that they had the money anyway with 6 kids 3 of which were older than me burning up the funds. Anyway, I had 3 jobs in the 4 years before I went on to college at Rutgers. One in Newark working in the pigments industry, one in the textile industry, and one in perfuming. I would say taking time off from school can be a very educational experience. Also it can be a motivator for a person with little direction, like myself at the time.
Oh, I need the vacation!
Both of my brothers have benefited (I think) from not going to college right after high school. I certainly have benefited FROM going to college right after high school – so I think it works differently for everyone. One of the unexpected positives that came out of me going to college so quickly is that I learned an enormous amount of information about the student loan system, etc. I’ve been able to use this information to make recommendations to my brothers and my friends about how to fund their college educations (Eddie, the guys who runs the wrestling part of this site, asked me a little bit about student loans, for example).
So again – I guess it works differently for each person. I could use a year-long vacation though!
I am sorry you had to learn about loans so well. I don’t know if you know this but many schools with large endowments have been shamed into helping their undergrads with more money in the last year. Especially the Ivys. So if your brothers are interested in going now is a better time.
Eh, I’m not sorry about my loans any more. They’re a burden, they suck, they’ll prevent me from making major financial moves for the next 5 – 7 years, but in the end I’ll have paid them off without ever missing a payment (hopefully) and my credit rating will continue to be through the roof (it’s already at 750+).
Of course I neglect to take into account that by the time I’m done paying these things off the Chinese will completely own the American banking sector, but that’s just minor details!
I have been following that endowment story and it’s glad to see that there are some real, positive movements in the student loan space. I’m a member of an Advisory Board to a large banking institution and at our quarterly meeting last week they reported that they – and some 45 other lenders – pulled out of the student loan market for the coming year. Financing education is about to get really treacherous.
LOL at the Chinese comment. I wish it were not so. Is the reason for the pullout from the student loan market more about recent scrutiny or just the reraction in so many credit markets these days?
More the reaction than the scrutiny. The VP of the bank was also telling us how new government regulations were making the industry all but unfundable from a private bank perspective. He expected that the regulations would be lifted in the summer months, but who knows with this weird Congress and weird President and it being a Presidential election year and everything. All I know is that I’m glad I’m out of school!