Takeaway Tweets from #CampusChat on The Gap Year

Tremendous info shared on #CampusChat's discussion of the Gap Year. A big thank you to Carol Christen (author: What Color is Your Parachute – for Teens) and Robin Pendoley (founder: Thinking Beyond Borders) for sharing their insider knowledge about the benefits and opportunities related to taking a Gap Year before enrolling in college. If you have not read about the Gap Year, check out these posts on Smart College Visit: The Wide World of Gap Years Discovering the Gap Year Here are the highlights from the March 16, 2011...

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The Wide World of Gap Years
Mar11

The Wide World of Gap Years

Part 2 in our Gap Year Series by: Robin Pendoley and Kathy Cheng (click here for part 1) Exploring gap year options is not always an easy task. Here are some quick tips to help you find all of the options and begin to narrow them down to the best fit for you. Where Do I Find Gap Year Options? Unfortunately, there is no single source for information on every gap year opportunity. However, there are some great places to gather the options: Your High School Guidance Counselor – Many guidance counselors encourage students to consider a gap year during the college planning process. Visit your counseling office to ask for brochures and recommendations from the educators you know and trust. The Internet – Searching for “gap year programs” on Google or another search engine will produce a wide range of results. Here are a few sites that offer a quick overview of the many gap year opportunities: USA Gap Year Fairs – Provides brief descriptions of over 40 providers in the US and links to their websites. Additionally, the site lists the dates and locations of 25 gap year fairs around the US. Teen Life – Includes brief descriptions and links to over 40 providers,categorizes them by interest area, and offers links to gap year consultants. Enrichment Alley – Includes links to over 50 providers, with some student reviews. Attend a Gap Year Fair – High schools have begun hosting fairs to provide students and families a chance to meet representatives from many of the gap year providers. The USA Gap Year Fairs is a national series of fairs in major cities around the US. Each fair includes 30 or more providers, allowing you to collect brochures, ask questions about the programs, and compare the options. This is a great way to get a good feel for the culture of each program. How Do I Choose?Once you have a sense of the broad array of options available to you, it’s time to narrow the field. Answering the following questions will help you hone in on the best fit for you: How Long? – Gap years can last from the moment you graduate high school until your first day of college (and for some, the first day of college is in the spring semester). Many students break their time up, spending sometime working and committing the rest of their time to travel of a structured program. Providers offer options that last from a few weeks to 8 months.While some students want to have a diverse year with lots of different activities, others choose a longer, more in-depth experience. So, have a sense...

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Discovering the Gap Year
Mar09

Discovering the Gap Year

By: Robin Pendoley and Kathy Cheng It’s a growing trend among high school graduates. Take a minute to learn about it whether it is right for you…What Is a Gap Year? A “gap year” is typically a period between completing high school and beginning college. This time can be either a semester or a full year away from traditional classroom studies. While there are countless reasons to consider a gap year, the most important is that gap year students are generally better prepared for college. Well-structured gap years provide opportunities to develop personal and social maturity, academic focus, and a sense of direction. With studies showing as many as 50% of college freshmen dropping out before graduation, it is clear that opportunities for this type of growth can be crucial. Beyond preventing dropping out, gap years can help ensure students get the most out of their college years. Recently, an admissions director at a prominent liberal arts college told me that analysis showed gap year students on his campus performing significantly better in the classroom and the college community than those who enrolled on the normal track. What does a typical gap year look like?  Gap years come in all shapes and sizes. They can include participating in an organized program, working or interning in a field of interest, volunteering with a local or national organization, pursuing athletics, or traveling. This time away from a traditional classroom provides students of all types crucial opportunities to: Gain “real world” perspective and direction that give the college years meaning and purpose Develop maturity and independence by joining professional communities as a volunteer or employee Attain the deep understanding of our local and global society that traditional schooling rarely provides Pursue various fields of interest to test or define a career path Should I consider a gap year? EVERY high school senior should consider a gap year. The benefits listed above make a good case for it. Yet, many students and families believe there are lots of reasons not to take a gap year. Let’s take a moment to dispel the MYTHS that stop them from taking a look at gap year options: They are too expensive – Gap year opportunities range from those that cost the same as a year of college to those that will pay you a stipend and an education award to participate. EVERYONE can afford a gap year. They are only for students who aren’t ready for college – Programs and individual options vary greatly, offering opportunities for essential learning and growth for all types of students. There is a strong risk that students won’t go back to school...

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