“While gap years have long been a common practice in England and other countries, they have only recently gained popularity in the United States,” reports Valerie Strauss in The Washington Post’s Answer Sheet blog. Gap years offer an opportunity to travel, explore different interests and gain experience and maturity before beginning college.
Instead of going right off to school, many students choose to spend their gap year in structured programs volunteering abroad or in the United States.
Holly Bull, president of the Center for Interim Programs, tells Victor Luckerson of Time Magazine that she’s seen an increase in schools urging students to take time off.
“I wouldn’t call it mainstream, but there’s way more awareness and support, and colleges are now beginning to endorse it as a really positive thing.”
Bob Clagett, a former director of admissions at Middlebury College, says taking a gap year can help students gain a renewed focus on academics, reports Luckerson.
“Getting a job for a year, even if it’s flipping hamburgers, still can be a productive experience and can help students just do something other than think about what they have to do to get into college,” Clagett told Time.
This week’s Color of Money Question: What do you think of high school graduates taking a year off before going to college? Send your response to firstname.lastname@example.org and put “College Can Wait” in the subject line.
Ungrateful Boomerang Borders
Advice columnist Amy Dickinson was right on the money when she responded to a reader who feels her daughter isn’t grateful enough for her financial support.
Here are the facts:
-- Mother let grown daughter and her boyfriend come live in her house.
-- The couple has been living with mom for two years.
-- The couple has never invited the mother to join them for a meal when they cook.
-- The couple does not pay rent. They do “pitch in” for utilities.
“I feel sad and angry about this,” wrote the mother. “I have been a generous person with them, and the least I expect is for them to share a meal with me. Am I overreacting? What are your feelings?”
Amy told the mom just what I would have said. Her advice, which a lot more parents with ingrate adult children living in their house should heed: “You will not receive gratitude by demanding it. But you can receive rent. You are not happy with this arrangement, so you should change the terms. Either charge this couple rent (in which case gratitude won’t be a factor), or tell them it’s time to find other housing.”