Gap Years--- an alternative to 'direct to college'
Gap years---a year between high school and college spent variously on internships, travel, service, personal growth--- are becoming increasingly common especially for those who are looking for a chance to experience something of life outside of academe before they committ to four years in college and, if well planned, can be life changing; if not, they can be worse than a waste of time.
Gap years give students the opportunity to grow in so many ways: athletes can develop their skills, mature and/or repair academic deficiencies; fine artists can use them to develop portfolios; regular students can 'Gap' in order to explore new fields or dig deeper in a familiar one. But there are many other aditional uses.
In addition to these more obvious 'school like' uses, gap years can be spent in service or in devloping types of personal growth unlikely to be explored on a college campus. What follows are some examples of the cornucopia of opportunity available.
Third Party Gap year Programs
As one might expect when planning is paramount, there are a number of formal gap year providers and the best of these are likely to belong to The American Gap Association ( http://www.americangap.org )
Here is another site to get you started looking at third party gap year programs:
these guys are in it for the money BUT they do provide some useful
Do it Yourself
The site that is to be found at the end of this section is probably the best available for either creating your own Gap year--- should you choose to go that direction--- or exploring the various
options with me or any other counselor. It should be a mandatory minimum reading for anyone thinking about Gapping as it carfully sets out the parameters of a sucessful Gap year, the options,
the perils and the advantages.
But before you read that read this article from USN&WR:
I'm not a big fan of that ex-magazine, but if the link at the end of this section is a good primer on the Gap year, the above is a nice intro to the whole field: