Should Students Embark on a Gap Year Before Starting College?
Debate Rounds (3)
In this argument, I will be discussing the benefits that come from high school graduates taking a gap year before they head off to college. Before I begin my opening statement, I would like to clarify a few terms.
"Students"- Recent high school graduates.
"Embark"- To begin or start.
"Gap year"- A year off of school to travel, work, or do whatever the student chooses to do.
Before heading to college, I decided to take what is commonly known as a "gap year". I figured that, since I did not have a clear vision on what career I wanted to head towards, that I could try some different paths and weed out what I liked and what I could do without. To me, this was a great idea. I traveled, worked full time, and got a taste of the bitter future we call adulthood.
I believe that it is a good idea for students, especially those who are still fuzzy on what they want to pursue once in college, to take a year off. There are many benefits to taking some time off of school to take a look at what lies outside the classroom.
Taking a gap year encourages independence and opens the mind. When a young adult travels abroad without their parents, it teaches them to think on their feet and to figure things out for themselves. They are introduced to new cultures and new people, so they are constantly learning and discovering. Even Time magazine covers the idea, talking about how it can help prepare these kids for college once they are ready to receive a higher education. (1) This article talks about how traveling at a young age can help build resumes and prepare them for the future. Many companies admire international experience. There is also no better time to travel. When these students are fresh out of high school, they don"t have a house to look after or kids to take care of. (2)
It allows students to sample different career paths. Even if someone has a certain future in mind, gap years give them the opportunity to try it out! For instance, if a young adult wants to pursue a career in zoology, they can volunteer with sea turtles in Costa Rica or study animals on a reserve in Africa. Even some colleges encourage it and some even help set potentials up with programs. (3)
Some adults are concerned about the kids not wanting to head off to college after returning from their year off. There are many statistics stating that those who take advantage of a gap year go on to be very successful in college as well as in life. Gap years also help students gain skills that can"t be taught in a classroom setting. (4)
While it is certainly not the traditional way to go, gap years are not only fun, but they are beneficial as well!
In this argument, I will be discussing the disadvantages of high school graduates taking a gap year before entering college.
I would like to make clear what a gap year is. A gap year is a year after graduating high school to earn money, work, study, travel, or whatever the student decides to do off of school. It is very new and is an untraditional way to go.
I believe that the benefits of students taking a gap year before college are massively outweighed by the disadvantages. After taking a gap year, the student is one year behind those who decided on not taking a year off. All their friends who decided not to take a gap year go on to college, while the students who took a gap year are left behind. In some cases, when the gap year is done, there is so much money spent that the student can't go on to the adventure of college.
Once you start your travels, you aren't a student anymore, you are in the real world for the first time. This is a big change and many students decide to make a slower transition. For some it may be scary being on your own, without parents, in the world.
Many institutions don't look upon gap year students very favorably, especially if there wasn't enough constructive activities in their year off of study. Gap year students may have many skills, but a long break from studies may have negative effects on their existing academic skills. Particularly for math and physics students, a one year break from school could make your skills on the subject fade.
A gap year takes a great deal of planning and preparation, and could potentially be a waste of time. The cost could be remarkably expensive depending on what you're planning to do with your year. Say you want to travel to India for the year, you would pay for the plane, the rental home or hotel where you will stay, the food, and much more. The cost might be unaffordable, and although the student might work to pay it back, it will most likely be unpleasant.
The biggest problem with gap years is the risk. The student is going into the real world for the first time, he/she has a large chance of losing something important on his/her travels. The student will very likely get sick at least once on the trip, it's going to be hard handling the virus by yourself. There are many more risks involved.
Gap years may have some benefits, but the disadvantages are much more.
I noticed that you have emphasized the fact that gap years are indeed "new" and "untraditional". Why is this so important? Yes, they are a different way to go, but that doesn"t automatically label them as a bad investment. Everything new is a bit scary and intimidating at first. Colleges were new at one point as well.
Yes, everyone who takes a gap year understands the fact that they will be a year behind all of their colleagues. Is there any proof that this detrimentally effects a student? You seem to only be discussing the matter of friends and feeling a little left behind. Well, making friends is usually easy in college, regardless of how old you are. Who says that you can"t remain friends with the others that are one year ahead of you?
You also discuss the subject of money. May we talk about the rising student loan debt in this country? (1) Many students can"t afford the tuition, regardless of if they took a gap year or not. There is no data correlating student debt to taking a year off before attending college.
As for paying for a gap year, there are several different ways. If the parents choose to help, they can easily chip in. There are also scholarship and grant programs offering assistance. (2) There are cheap, creative ways to travel, such as working for a host family abroad that will pay for your room and board. (3) The only expense you have to worry about is your flight ticket. Many kids also decide to make some extra money during their gap year and save up towards their higher education.
Also, I would like to properly define what a risk is. A risk is the possibility that something bad or unpleasant (such as an injury or a loss) will happen. (4) There is no denying the fact that there are risks to be taken in anything, including taking the chance of spending large amounts of money and going to college for the hope of a great, well-paying career. Several articles are surfacing discussing the growing student loan debt and how going to college for long periods of time isn"t exactly risk free. This article in the Wall Street Journal talks about how kids are taking out copious amounts of student loans and not learning the skills that employers are looking for. (5) Many kids who dive directly into college choose a major, spend time on it, realize it"s not exactly what they"re looking for, and then change majors. (6) How is this not a risk? With gap years, it helps a student try out something that they might think is their chosen field only to find out that it isn"t what they envisioned.
Yes, there are downsides and obstacles to taking a year off, but one seems to forget that college has its pros and cons as well.
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