Research + News

Gap Years Give Students a Break

site-masthead-logo@2xAn editorial in USA Today discusses the value of high school students taking “time off” before going college.  

USA Today’s national K-12 education writer, Greg Toppo, writes: 

“I hear this complaint a lot actually, both from teachers and students. School has become a kind of treadmill that many kids can’t wait to escape. Indiana University’s High School Survey of Student Engagement in 2010 found that 65% of students reported being bored “at least every day in class.” Sixteen percent reported that they were bored in every class

If you think that only marginal students seek a graceful exit from the treadmill, think again. Harvard University, that bastion of hyper-driven young adults, not only allows but encourages admitted freshmen to defer their enrollment for a year, suggesting they ‘travel, pursue a special project or activity, work or spend time in another meaningful way.’

Harvard admissions officials have been recommending this for 40 years, saying part of the university’s above-average 98% graduation rate may be due, at least in part, to the fact that so many students take time off. Each year, Harvard says, 80 to 110 new students defer their arrival on campus through a gap year.”

Read the full article here.