With the coronavirus pandemic raising doubts about the feasibility of in-person classes next year, a growing number of high school grads are considering taking a gap year.
But what should families know about this option? Education reporter Elissa Nadworny recently shared some important insights with National Public Radio listeners.
“Research has shown that those who do a gap year—so that’s (a) specific time away with a clear enrollment plan—they do really well when they get to college. They tend to be whiter and wealthier and have highly educated parents,” Nadworny said in a segment that aired earlier this month. “At the same time, we know that for many students, when they simply delay enrollment or they put off college to work to save money, the longer they wait, the harder it is to get a degree. And that’s especially true for low-income students.”
A group of admission deans and researchers have banded together to form a new coalition dedicated to studying gap year outcomes.
The new Gap Year Research Consortium—based at Colorado College—will seek to determine how students who take an intentional gap year before college fare upon their return to the classroom.
“As long-time supporters of the gap year movement, we believe that creating a clearinghouse for the research that is going on at colleges and universities around the country is the logical next step in better understanding the positive outcomes that can come from taking a gap year,” Colorado College Vice President of Enrollment Mark Hatch said in a news release.
Counselors who take time to discuss gap year options provide a great service to college-bound students and their families, says author Andrea Wien.
Higher education is an expensive endeavor, and the grades and connections students make as freshmen can set the course for the rest of their college career.
That’s why teens who are burned out from high school — or just not developmentally ready for college — may benefit from taking a gap year to work, travel, or explore an area of interest, Wien said Wednesday during a #NACACreads Twitter discussion of her book, Gap to Great.