Pros and Cons of Taking a Gap Year

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By statistics compiled by studies, the indication that a ‘gap year’ is of the benefit tends to prevail as the dominant outcome. In a study conducted by the American Gap Association 3, 98 percent of students stated it helped develop them as a person as a result of heightened awareness about one’s own behavior and its impact; 97 percent stated it increased their maturity; 84 percent indicated it assisted in acquiring skills for successful careers. A study on 900 first-year students conducted by Sydney University discovered that a ‘gap year’ had a positive effect on a students’ motivation, resulting in a boost in performance in their first year of studies. Milkround graduate recruitment Gap Year survey 4 showed 80 percent of gap year graduates report that their gap year had significantly added to their employability. This leads to the suggestion based on statistics that the statement can be considered as being an erroneous statement.

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Harvard University supports the notion of a gap year 1. Students that have taken a gap year typically graduate in four years or less compared to six years with no gap year. Mature and prepared students result in higher completion rates which may improve the dropout rate of 37.3 2 percent of first-year students in South African universities. This is related to the sense of purpose derived from a gap year, as it enables one to completely invest and immerse oneself in one’s actual interest in a possible career path. A person with a sense of purpose leads to an amplified motivation to excel and accomplish a goal. Increasing the completion rate. Further reflection in students having had a ‘gap year’ have higher GPAs. This expresses the elevation of success due to the ‘gap year’ which is in complete contrast to the statement.

Success is not reliant on the pursuit of tertiary education. Celebrities Steve Jobs, Oprah, Richard Branson, Michael Dell, and Steven Spielberg, Lebo Gunguluza, USN’s Albie Geldenhuis, Chicken Licken’s George Sombonos, and Netflorist’s Ryan Bacher 5, started successful businesses and inspired and mentored people without tertiary education. Success is not necessarily reliant on what extent one has pursued an academic life as expressed in the statement.

Given the apparent advantages, there remain disadvantages.

Potentially it may prove to be a waste of time. Students having recently graduated from school are not always fully aware of the preparation required for anything in this given life. Anything given in excess is detrimental including freedom. In a real-life scenario, a student may prove to be maladroit in such an area. A poorly executed plan merely results in poor use of time which may only add to the confusion of one’s identity and future decisions. With this one will only fall behind others who have chosen to go to university directly school leading to the possibility of failure.

Providing finance for a ‘gap year’ may hinder furthering an academic life. University of collage is an expensive endeavor, placing a strain on a family’s or one’s personal financial situation. Funds used incorrectly in a ‘gap year’ may result in one being unable to afford tertiary education. Saving proves to be difficult when attempting to be independent or experiencing life’s possibilities of exploration of oneself. If one does attend university consecutively after school it enables one to dedicate funds to one’s tuition fully thus further enhancing the chance of obtaining a sustainable career path. 

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