What’s the Rush to Go to College?
After 12 years of elementary, middle, and high school, why are kids so anxious to go straight to a 4-year college, and then possibly grad school? With the pressures they face to get top grades, study for SATs/ACTs, volunteer, and do extracurricular activities, kids burn out and lose focus on what and why they’re doing everything. I believe that when kids take a GAP YEAR to find what it is students are interested in and get involved, they’ll make smarter decisions about their future careers and where they want to live. They’ll also BE HAPPIER!
This one or two-year period gives students time to pursue a project – something they’ve always wanted to do but never had the time to do it. They can build a tiny house, they can lead others on an expedition, they can offer relief to victims of climate disasters, and more. Kids need to feel useful – either as part of a team to help others or as an individual doing a project to start something on their own. They can also start a business!
College will always be there and they’ll probably get into a better college if they take a gap year to show their interests and passions. Many other countries require that kids give a year or two to support their military so they build patriotism and camaraderie. Some religions require students to do missionary work before starting college or moving on to the adult world.
While I have concerns about pushing kids into the military or missionary work, I do strongly believe that all kids can benefit from taking a breather from the stress of getting into top colleges and doing a project to benefit society or help them figure out what they really want to do when they grow up.