A Counselor’s Perspective

September 22, 2017

Gap year opponents say once students leave the educational setting and get a taste of the freedom of the “real world,” they may never want to go back to the stress, structure and rigor of academic life, and may choose to omit college altogether.

Counselor Cindy Marshall said that while it may be appropriate for a student here and there, she generally doesn’t advise taking a gap year.

“It can be easy to fall out of school-related habits,” Marshall said. “Just think about the adjustment coming back from summer and then multiply it by four!”

She said a gap year can negatively impact student’s success when they return to school.

There are some subject areas that require continuity,” Marshall said. “I usually encourage students inquiring about a gap year to take at least one class per semester.”

In addition, students who work may enjoy making money and lose sight of the fact that further education may increase their earning power.

“I remember one student who didn’t want to go to college at all,” Marshall said. “He was doing well in his job and they wanted to promote him to management, but wouldn’t do it unless he was attending college, so he enrolled.”

Marshall said not many students at Centennial take a gap year.

“When we have students who aren’t going directly to a two year or four year college, they are sometimes going into the military or to a trade school,” Marshall said. “We’ve had students who attend school part time because they need to work to help pay for it, but they aren’t entirely out of school for a year.”

In addition to not being a popular option, gap years are also not often talked about at school.

“Whenever a student inquires about it, we will address it with them, but we spend the limited time we get with the large groups focusing on what will be applicable to the majority of the students,” Marshall said. “We feel that, for most students it is beneficial to go straight into college.”

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