Why Your High School Senior Should Take a Gap Year

TIME

Earlier this month, more than a million high school seniors across the country committed to attend college. But a growing number of them aren’t going to set foot on campus in the fall, electing instead for a gap year—a trend that is leaving some parents feeling anxious and uncertain.

Many educators tout taking a gap year, saying that kids who step off the academic treadmill after high school to work, travel, volunteer or explore other interests are more mature when they arrive at college and more engaged in their education going forward.

With this in mind, a handful of colleges—Princeton and the University of North Carolina, among them—offer scholarships and fellowships to incoming freshmen who take a gap year. Harvard has long encouraged the practice. And in February, Tufts University launched its 1+4 bridge program, which, starting in fall 2015, will offer gap-year opportunities for national and…

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