Gap Year Gains Favor Among High School Graduates

Industry grows to help them put off college
By Harry Kimball,  Newser Staff
Posted Dec 30, 2008 7:08 PM CST
A student asks a question of a panel of experts.   (AP Photo)
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(Newser) – As more high school graduates decide to take a so-called “gap-year” before college, a veritable industry has sprung up to offer these seekers advice on how to go about it, the Wall Street Journal reports. Given the increased popularity of a year off, which some educators advocate because “not every 17-year-old is ready to enter college,” even universities are getting into the game. Next year, Princeton will become the first school to offer a gap-year pilot program for accepted students.

For those not lucky enough to have a future alma mater shepherd them through a year of off-campus discovery, private programs cost between $10,000 and $20,000. And if students are having trouble navigating the landscape of 8,000 programs, they can hire a consultant for just a few thousand dollars more. But educators say it can be worth it. A freshman with real-world experience will “approach college much more deliberately,” one admissions official said.