In recent years on the West Coast, students have become more interested in participating in gap year programs. To help students become well-informed, College/Career Center Coordinator Kristen Joseph organized a USA Gap Year Fair at the school yesterday, February 9.
The fair, in its 4th year at the school, featured 32 gap year program exhibitions, which drew close to 250 attendees from all over the Bay Area. While some of the programs are domestic, a vast majority are study abroad opportunities.
“[The fair] gives an option to students who may not know and are not aware of this opportunity,” Joseph said. “A lot of students in foreign countries do gap years, and gap years are very heavily promoted by Ivy League schools. The East Coast tends be more aware of gap year opportunities than the West Coast, so I wanted to make that information known to our students.”
Gap years are promoted largely to provide a student with the chance to find their direction in life. A gap year provides time to mature and develop a passion for a successful college career and life. Several universities even have formal policies for deferred admission in regards to gap years.
“I didn’t really know what I wanted to do,” junior Matt Sears said. “I was thinking about applying to the naval academy and there’s [a program at sea] that looks pretty fun, so I might apply for that.”
The increased popularity of gap years is tied with the drain that a lot of students feel, during and after high school. A gap year provides a less stressful chance for students to learn. The programs range anywhere from three months to a full academic school year.
“I [was] looking for other possibilities aside from the standard course for a LAHS student,” senior Nolan Brown said. ”There are a lot of interesting internship programs as well as teaching opportunities.”
The growing trend had a positive effect on the attendees, with many expressing their intrigue.
“I definitely have a better understanding of what a gap year is, “ Matt said. ”I think it was a rewarding day.”