A Detour Before College May Be Your Best Decision
I recently read an article published in the Denver Post titled, Attention College Bound Seniors, by Ryan Brown. The author, a Duke University student, encourages high school seniors getting ready for college application process to consider a gap year before going straight to college. Ryan didn't take a gap year, but says she wishes someone would have told her it was okay to take time out between high school and college. She says, "think of the cool things you could do with a free semester, or year, like hold down a full time job, learn a language or join AmeriCorps."
After her freshman year at Duke University, Ryan landed an internship at a media nonprofit but discovered she knew little about building web sites or writing press releases. Instead she found her skills limited her to writing essays and doing research on the web: "There, as I struggled to make myself useful, I made a startling discovery, one that my college education certainly had not prepared me for. I have no practical skills."
We are hearing more and more stories like Ryan's, students are not only ill-prepared for college, but also lacking the skills needed to survive in today's high tech work world. Many will only discover what they didn't get in college after the fact.
Taking a gap year to explore career interests through work or internships, can help develop practical skill sets in real life situations, experiences that lecture halls can't provide! So, before you launch yourself directly into college after high school, think carefully, you may be missing an opportunity that could help you succeed in school or career.
Good job Ryan! Thanks for trying to flag down college bound seniors and rattling them a bit about the benefits of the gap year option!