Some people believe that a gap year between school and university is a good idea, while others disagree strongly. Consider both sides of this debate and present your own opinion.

While gap years are increasingly popular, they continue to be rather controversial because the benefits are hard to quantify exactly. There are arguments on both sides of this very topical debate, and I will discuss them now. On the one hand, opponents of gap years point to the cost involved in areas such as airfares, accommodation and living expenses. All this money has to come from the student’s family, or even from borrowing to be paid later. Secondly, it is often said that gap years take a young person’s focus away from studying, and allows them to get involved in distractions such as travelling. This can make it hard to adjust to university life, damaging the student’s performance. Finally, there is a concern over the safety of young people if they are travelling to remote places. Being kidnapped or mugged is a poor start to an academic career, after all. On the other hand, supporters of gap years say that the skills learned outweigh the disadvantages. They highlight the independence and assertiveness that a student will acquire, in areas such as time management and interpersonal skills. They also say that these skills lead to greater career success later in life, thus cancelling out the costs involved. Furthermore, there are many examples of young people using gap years to achieve something significant, whether in voluntary work or in a sector of business that interests them. In conclusion, my own feeling is that a year off can indeed be a useful activity, with the experience leading to improved skills that are invaluable in the future. Of course, this is provided that the year is planned carefully and used for something genuinely worthwhile.
Submitted by Tolib Latipov on
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