I, personally do not know anyone taking a gap year before college, but in the recent past it seems to have become a growing trend. A small handful of college such as--Princeton and the University of North Carolina, among them—offer scholarships and fellowships to incoming freshmen who take a gap year. Harvard has long encouraged the practice. And in February, Tufts University launched its 1+4 bridge program, which, starting in fall 2015, will offer gap-year opportunities for national and international service regardless of a student’s ability to pay. Meanwhile, organizations that promote a gap year, including the American Gap Association and USA Gap Fairs, are expanding very quickly.
Parental figures like to stereotype that a gap year would make their child or children lazy. They would grow accustomed to being away from an academic environment. A gap year would be unrealistic for someone like me for a multitude of reasons. 1. I don't believe my caretaker wants to see me at home past this coming September. 2. I don’t have the resources to do anything but work. Although, in a world full of endless opportunities like Malia Obama’s, a gap year could be extremely beneficial. It can give her time to mature, sort out her dreams, and experiment with different interests. She can travel, because learning about different cultures could help her learn more about herself. She can intern in different career related fields or volunteer at an orphanage in Haiti. She could write, read, or create expressive art. Whatever choices she makes during her gap year, I’m sure she will stay productive and busy resume building.
To be able to take a gap year seems so glamorous, because an ambitious young person like myself would be able to explore their dreams without the stress of making A’s while paying for $60,000 of tuition or maintaining the perfect GPA for law school. Hopefully as this trend continues to become more popular, more scholarship and learning opportunities will emerge for lower income students wanting to take a gap year- and also the expectation that taking a gap year is perfectly okay.