Taking a year off before starting college, known as a gap year, is popular in Europe and is becoming more common in the United States. The question is which students should consider taking a gap year and what do that do with the year off.
I have always encouraged students who are not sure about whether to attend college or who need a little maturing to consider a gap year. Most colleges are more than willing to allow a student to defer admission for a year as long as you plan on doing something productive with the year. The key to a successful gap year is that “something productive” takes place. Not all students need to travel the world or engage in humanitarian efforts during their gap year. If that is what you wish to do then enjoy yourself. But for many students, they just need time to explore their interests in more depth or better determine who they are and what they want from a college education. That does not mean lying around the house watching TV all day. But it might mean working at a job or an internship that you might have some interest in to see if it would be a good fit for you after attending college. Your options for a gap year are limited only by your imagination and your need to do something productive.