In England and Australia, it is more common than in the United States for a student to take a year after high school to travel or experience the world before entering college. According to SmartMoney, it may not be such a bad idea.
The argument is that students who take a break from institutionalized education will come back to college — if they come back — with a fresh outlook on what they want to do with their life, their passions, and their attitude for learning.
This concept comes at a great expense. Delaying college for one year can mean increased tuition costs of 8% or more. In addition to higher education costs, the cost of the gap year can be large, depending on the activities the student chooses.
Delaying college for a year will also likely mean delaying the start of a career. The missed earnings in what would have been the first year of income, thanks to compounded interest, can mean hundreds of thousands of dollars forgone by the time retirement rolls around.
All things considered, I might have liked taking a gap year. For all I know, during that year, I might have changed my mind about my career path, which at the time was music education with the goal of becoming a high school music teacher.
‘Gap Years’ Can Be Smart Move for High School Seniors [SmartMoney]
Photo credit: malias
Updated January 16, 2010 and originally published July 20, 2007. If you enjoyed this article, subscribe to the RSS feed or receive daily emails. Follow @ConsumerismComm on Twitter and visit our Facebook page for more updates.