So many students do not have a sense of their strengths and weaknesses, or what they want to do when they "grow up". For students who know exactly what they want, going straight to college is a fine choice, but for those who don't, which I believe is a higher % than those that do, taking a break and gaining real life experiences is a great option. It should be clearly emphasized that choosing an alternative path does not been they will not be successful in life.
After spending sometimes thirteen or fourteen years in school, most students want to have a little break. Perhaps get a job for a year or two before they decide what they want to do with their lives. There are some people who even want to travel, backpacking across the country or Europe. I do think, however, that going to college as soon as possible is very smart.
There are a lot of things one can do in life that are valuable, and not all of them require college. I value education a lot, but what would we do if everybody did jobs that required a college education? Who would do everything else? And even if someone does want to go to college, they may not be able or ready to go right away.
People's priorities vary. A fraction of graduating seniors are pursuing other options, or have committed to different lifestyles. For example, some enter military service, commit to raising a family at a young age, or join the workforce directly out of high school. In conclusion, it is not correct to assume that high school seniors will go straight to college after graduation, as these examples illustrate it is not in everyone's best interest.
High school seniors do not always go to college right away, and I do not think that we as people should just assume that they do. Some travel for a bit exploring the world and learning new things on their own without books and classrooms. Others might join the military or take a year off to work, so that they can help pay for their college.