As her father prepares to exit the White House, Malia Obama is making big plans of her own
regarding her future. In early May, the President's eldest daughter announced that she will be
amongst the thousands of students that will be taking a ‘gap year’ before beginning
their college experience.
The ‘gap year,’ is a practice that started in Britain, but was introduced into the American education system in the 80’s.
a period, typically an academic year, taken by a student as a break between secondary school and higher education.
Rather than risk academic burnout, more and more US students are choosing to ‘gap’ or take a break from textbooks, classrooms, and long lectures.
This idea is very common amongst students who believe it would be in their best interest if they
took a gap year to do independently based things such as travel the world, grow as an individual,
or do something meaningful to themselves. If all goes as planned, the student is expected to
begin their college experience the following year.
Harvard University is one of the highest ranking universities that encourages their students to
take this hiatus before stepping into a challenging collegiate experience.
According to the school's website,“ Harvard College encourages admitted students to defer
enrollment for one year to travel, pursue a special project or activity, work, or spend time in
another meaningful way.”
Harvard isn’t the only university that highly recommends a break for incoming students. Princeton University offers a tuition free, nine month “Bridge Year” that allows students to do community service outside of the U.S.
The ‘American Gap Association’ (yes, that’s a thing), reports number of students choosing gap year programs is up 30% from the amount of participants that were recorded in 2013.
The AGA also says that only 10% of students who take the gap choose not to return to college.
Many students return to school after the gap, ready to excel in their studies and graduate.
The author of “Gap Year: How Delaying College Changes People in Ways the World Needs,” Joe
O'Sea, said in TIME Magazine that, “we need more longitudinal studies on how to maximize student development and on the impact on communities where gap years are taken.”
The world will definitely get a lot of information about the gap year as our love affair with Malia is sure to continue well after she leaves the White House.
Her next big step is to plan what to do with her gap year. We know the family is going to stay in the D.C. area until her little sister Sasha finishes school. Meantime, we’ll all be watching Malia and wishing her the best!
To explore whether a gap year is right for you, click here: