By Guest Blogger Kristen Daukas
It’s a common dilemma for parents of high school teens today – should their child attend college or not? On the one hand, there are many potential benefits to attending college, such as:
- Making connections with professionals in your chosen field
- Developing skills that can increase the likelihood of future financial prosperity
- Social aspects in making new and potentially lifelong friends
Yet, on the other hand, tuition and living expenses are often daunting and may not be worth it if a student is unsure of what they want to do after graduating. Navigating college indecision with your teenager is a process that requires open communication and understanding for both the parents and the child. Let’s discuss the pros and cons of taking a gap year and ways to support your teen in making this critical decision.
Taking a Gap Year – Pros
Taking a gap year between high school and college is becoming an increasingly popular option among today’s youth. A gap year provides an opportunity for students to explore the world, pursue internships, volunteer, or gain work experience before enrolling in college. Before making the decision to take a gap year, it’s important to weigh both the pros and cons of this life-changing decision.
The biggest advantage of taking a gap year is that it provides time for students to step away from academics and reflect on their goals and aspirations. Taking a break from one’s studies can allow for new perspectives on life and help students define their desired career paths more clearly. In addition, engaging in activities such as travel or volunteer work during a gap year can help students gain skills outside of the classroom which can be beneficial when applying to college or pursuing future careers.
Another benefit of taking a gap year is the opportunity to gain valuable work experience. Many students take this time to engage in internships, short-term jobs, or apprenticeships that can help them build their resume and network with professionals in their field. This type of real-world experience can be incredibly beneficial for college applications and career decisions down the road.
Taking a Gap Year – Cons
However, there are also some drawbacks associated with taking a gap year. For instance, many employers may view extended breaks as potential red flags when evaluating job prospects or potential employees. Since most colleges have admission deadlines and requirements that must be met by applicants each year, taking a gap year could result in having to delay enrollment until the following academic cycle. Additionally, suppose the student chooses to pursue unpaid activities such as volunteering during their break. In that case, they may face financial hardship upon returning due to a lack of income during that period.
Always Support Your Child in their Decision
As a parent, it is important to support your child no matter what decision they make regarding taking a gap year or attending college. Regardless of their path, be sure you provide them with the resources and guidance that will help them succeed in their endeavors. Encourage creativity and exploration during this time of transition from high school into adulthood. Most importantly, respect their decisions without judgement so that you can continue to have an open dialogue about any potential changes down the road. Taking a gap year between high school and college may not be for everyone but having options available is always beneficial as life often takes unexpected turns along the way.