Gap Grads

The Pros and Cons of a Break Before College


Jaylin Paschal

Seniors Anna Fiske and Robbie Spilker consider taking a gap year.

Jaylin Paschal, Editor-in-Chief

Second semester means that the class of 2016 has approximately five more months to decide what they will do with the next few years of their lives. The word “college” finds its way into nearly every conversation, and the Counseling Center seems to broadcast a different “Attention Seniors” announcement every period.

Although college is the next step traditionally, many students are considering another path: a gap year, or a year long break from institutional education.Those who decide to spend this time away from schooling opt to take advantage of other opportunities. Some people travel, some people work to earn money, some pursue unconventional or artistic careers, some do charity work or mission trips, and some people just give themselves a year for mental recovery.

When deciding whether or not a gap year is in your future, you should consider many factors. A gap year, like every other option, has both positive and negative consequences.

The pros of taking a gap year include:

  • a chance to earn money, instead of going into the debt college often brings.
  • a chance to mature and taste the “real world.”
  • an opportunity to pursue unconventional or artistic careers.
  • having time to travel.
  • a mental break from the strain and pressure of school.
  • meeting new people and making plenty of memories.
  • learning outside of classrooms and lecture halls.
  • having more time to decide if college is actually for you or not.
  • the ability to do whatever you want–the world is your oyster.

The cons of taking a gap year include:

  • struggling to regain the discipline required for schoolwork.
  • losing momentum or determination to achieve goals.
  • spending money that could potentially go to tuition.
  • being held accountable for very little.
  • being a year behind.
  • potentially being homesick.
  • the likeliness to waste time.
  • dealing with the likely disapproval of others.

Students are encouraged to keep their options open and truly evaluate the potential benefits and risks of them all. A gap year can make or break you, so consider all of the factors and choose wisely.