Your child doesn’t seem quite ready for college yet. Would it be a good idea for him or her to take a gap year? Malia Obama did it, after all. Here are 5 good and 2 bad reasons for students to take a gap year between high school and college.
5 Good Reasons to Take a Gap Year
1. <Good Reason> Your son’s fallen into a pattern of being unwilling to work hard in high school.
Has he gotten mediocre grades? Is he dragging his feet on filling out college applications and applying for scholarships? Taking a gap year where he lives in a tiny studio apartment and works for peanuts can actually teach valuable life lessons that no college program can.
2. <Good Reason> It could do your son great good to learn what life without education or job training is actually like.
Here’s a good line for parents to practice saying: “Well, you’re welcome to live here at home with us, as long as you’re enrolled in (and succeeding in) a full time academic or job training program. If you’re going to stay out of college and work during this gap year, let’s go find you a small apartment you can rent!”
The struggle to pay for rent, food, transportation, and a cell phone may help your son feel eager to apply to (and work hard in) college or technical school at the next possible opportunity.
For more help on this subject, see this article I wrote on the 7 things every parent should carefully think through anytime kids over 18 ask to–or expect to–live with you.
3. <Good Reason> Colleges will still accept a student who takes a gap year. No problem.
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