It is no secret that college requires dedication no matter what age that you decide to begin. That is why it is so important to know what you want to study before you begin college. However, it is hard for high school graduates to know exactly what you want to do when you have just graduated high school. This is why high school students should take a gap year.

Most people are against taking a gap year because they feel that not going right after high school will push them back. I was one of those people. However, if you are not set on what you want to do, going to college early will in fact push you further back. 

Now I am not saying that you will not be successful or you will not graduate on time without taking a gap year. However, most college students end up changing their major down the line or they have taken so many courses for their major that they feel stuck in a field that they do not see themselves in anymore. 

In my opinion, a gap year should be about growth. High school graduates should use this time to travel, try different jobs and even volunteer. 

Allow yourself this time to figure out how you want to show up in the world. I believe that these kinds of experiences open up our eyes to see the world at a larger level. A gap year does not just give a deeper sense of personal awareness but also professional and practical.

It is no secret that college is expensive. Many college students have more loans to their name than work experience. Constantly changing your major and trying to find yourself only deepens this problem. The feeling of being lost and stuck in a major that no longer resonates with you will only smother the motivation that you once had to finish your degree.

Although taking a gap year is a good idea for a lot of high school graduates, we can not discuss this without mentioning the cost. The idea of taking a gap year was not very appealing to families who were not bringing home a high income. 

According to the U.S. News & World Report “Verto Education has emphasized making gap years more accessible to students across all income levels, which means offering a single semester experience for as low as $5,000 through an “opportunity grant” for families making less than $100,000 annually or those affected financially by the coronavirus.”

If I could go back and take a gap year, I definitely would. I have completed so many majors that I do not have the gull to change it or the motivation. I can only trust that the girl who I was when I graduated from high school made the right decision. There is always that thought in the back of my mind that questions if this is the path I was supposed to take.

This is why I think high schools and colleges should promote gap years. I’m sure many colleges would be afraid they would lose money or have low admissions if they did, but think about how many dedicated students that you would earn. They should consider how much higher the grades and graduation rates would increase because now you have students who are not only dedicated but motivated to finish. 

For these reasons alone, I am convinced that maybe gap years should not be a requirement, but they should be highly recommended to incoming freshmen.