attn: parents of those hs grads that opted to defer college for 1 yr for gap year

<p>My D is currently a Sr that hopes to defer college entrance for a year to experience a gap year or grade 13 aka pg yr at a prestigious american boarding school or boarding school abroad. </p>


<p>I'm interested in getting the "real deal" or "inside scoop" on those schools and what kind of experience your child has had with these schools and gap year in general.</p>

<p>BTW, my daughter will have completed an intense IB program and is tired of the demands on her throughout hs. She's number one in her class and has been offered two full ride scholarships so far. She's interested in Exeter because of their small class/oval table discussion style and the boarding school experience. She doesn't need to improve her transcript or fill in gaps. She's just interested in going away to mature and gain independence and take classes/electives that she wasn't able to take due to the strict IB curriculum.<br>

She's just interested in going away to mature and gain independence and take classes/electives that she wasn't able to take due to the strict IB curriculum.


Isn't this what they normally do when they go to college?</p>

<p>My younger S took a gap year after h.s. by being an Americorps volunteer, and now is a soph doing well at a LAC. The gap year helped him discover more about his own interests while he gained experience in the real world that helped him approach college in a way similar to how many adults approach grad school: With gratefulness, an ability to connect in a mature way to professors, and an appreciation of the many opportunities -- academically, and socially that college offers.</p>

<p>Americorps can provide a fulfilling and educational gap year experience for students. They have full time volunteer jobs that allow them to implement their ideas and be treated as responsible adults. S was the youngest Americorps volunteer in our area, and often represented his agency at meetings with high ranking city officials and other adults who were decades older than was S.</p>

<p>S chose to do Americorps while living at home, but many choose to do Americorps in cities far from their home. A living stipend is provided. Mandatory training is provided as they enter the program, and it includes education on grant writing, time management, and other things related to careers.</p>

<p>Having had one son who completed an IB program, and another who did it for 3 years, it's hard for me to imagine that going to boarding school after IB would provide opportunities that a student wouldn't get in college.</p>

<p>S goes to a LAC, and has small classes with plenty of discussions (most classes have no more than 17 students), and has taken electives and participated in organizations that exposed him to subjects that he wasn't able to pursue in IB. In fact, S has decided to minor in theater after having experiences in college exploring activities and subject areas that he didn't have time to pursue in h.s.</p>

<p>I had college friends who graduated from preps like Andover and Exeter, and they used to say that the workload at Harvard was light compared to their prep schools. </p>

<p>And, of course, by going to college, one gains in maturity and independence. I think that college, particularly a LAC, or taking a year off to do something like volunteer work or structured travel would provide your D with more of the experiences she desires than would attending prep school for a year after graduation.</p>

<p>I think a prep school year might be beneficial to someone who went to a poor school, but someone who did an IB curriculum and is sick of school? I think another year would be torture - even at a great school like Exeter. I spent a year after high school living with a French family and learning to speak fluent French. It was a great experience - I ended up being able to use that French to translate a book for one of my architecture professors and used it to do research for my senior thesis as well. I'd never been any good at languages and it seemed to finally flip a switch in my brain so that other languages were not nearly as hard (I learned German in college and some Italian later.)</p>

<p>I also think Americorps is a great program.</p>

<p>For what it's worth, I am also considering deferring my acceptances and taking a gap year -- sometimes, it just seems more beneficial to be able to clear your mind and get ready for college while doing something productive like the Americorps, gaining experience abroad, etc.</p>

<p>I'd definitely consider something that is a step up and away from high school, rather than boarding school (I've worked in prep schools so this is said with a sense of what life there is like). She wants/needs a year from academic drill and can spread her wings some while she gears up for the 4 year committment for college. I'd definitely endorse something that gets outside her comfort zone but also has good program management. I think that is true of Americorps and City Year if she wants to stay domestic and do some social service. And going abroad is absolutely good for language skills and learning genuine independence and self-management. And those pay off big time when they then get to college campus life. You might look at the Athenian Center--an arts-based program (writing and visual arts) that begins with a month outside of Florence and then 3 months of studio and small group work in Greece. My son deferred his admission for a gap year and it was a great decision/investment I believe.</p>

<p>My son went on an ESU (English Speaking Union) scholarship to England and spent a year in a British boarding school. He loved the whole experience and has some wonderful friends from around the world. He took Art History which he never had time to do before and was able to travel and see many of the original works of art. He also took Geography which is a key part of the UK curriculum and found it very interesting. When he came back and started college he had a different perspective from many of the students that were just entering college. He would go back to Europe tomorrow if someone would give him a job.</p>

<p>My niece went to Princeton and took a year off after she got there. She said she had worked so hard during high school she wished she had taken the year off before she started college like our son did. She spent most of the year in Paris working on her fluency and working to pay her expenses and felt the experience was wonderful. She came back to college with renewed enthusiasm and graduated near the top of her class.</p>

<p>How old is she? If she's graduating at 16 ... maybe a PG year at boarding school. Otherwise with her academic achievements to date IMO she will be bored and unhappy at boarding school. If she visits and interviews at the schools under consideration she will get an immediate impression about the advisibility of the PG year. The schools don't want kids that will be unhappy and will be quick to tell you it's a bad fit.</p>

<p>haha.. UCLA/UCSD DAD, you are absolutely right. The thing is she wants to take a break from the rigors of academics/grades. She'd still love to challenge herself academically but not full time and learn new subjects without having grades being recorded on a transcript. Thanks for your reply.</p>

Thank you for your thorough reply. We'll look into Americorps. I think my D would benefit from real world experience as you mentioned and the growth and independence that will come with that. I'm glad you mentioned that some of your college friends that attended Exeter/Andover Prep schools found the academic rigor there intense because My D told me that while she was at Northwestern's CTD Physics camp, a class mate from Exeter complained about how hard it was there. I thought of boarding school because she has really enjoyed living on campus/dorms during summers while taking year-long courses in short sessions. I thought perhaps she could to a PG/year 13 at a boarding school Pass/NoPass so she could just take in as much as possible without being concerned of her record/transcript. I don't know if boarding schools would go along with that. I'm thinking my D and I may be able to compose a structured year of new learning experiences and travel (language immersion). I just want to make sure the quality/safety of the programs are of the highest level. Again, Thanks.</p>

Thanks for your reply. I think you have a point. Boarding school may not be the best option. My D is interested in Language immersion so living abroad would def. be a great way to become fluent. She's interested in Spanish. What group/program did you use when you lived in France?</p>

<p>SKULLDUGGERY: thanks for your reply. There are so many gap year programs. Have you know of any that are especially interesting and reputable?</p>

<p>MMAAH: Thanks for your reply! We'll look into the Athenian Center. 3 months devoted to studio art in Florence/Greece sounds excellent. Please let me know if you know of any other reputable programs for language immersion. My D loves languages but is primarily interested in Spanish.</p>

<p>ATLMOM13: Thank you for your reply :) I'll look into the ESU Program in the English boarding school. Please reply with the specific name if possible. Geography would be interesting and she loves England so a year at a boarding school would be a great experience for my D so long she had control of what courses to take and if she could take them pass/no pass so as to not worry about her record/gpa. Feel free to expand on your Son's experience abroad. Again, thanks.</p>

<p>CNP55: To answer your question, my D will be 17 when she graduates from hs. We were thinking that she's be the same age as the Seniors at the boarding schools. Still, she might feel older and more experienced since she will be a PG. She would def. visit and interview at the boarding schools in question before deciding. Thanks for your input :)</p>

<p>I'm a student but i noticed the ESU suggestion - that's only for certain independent/boarding schools to participate in - I have a cousin at Woodberry and he did it, but I went to a different private school and mine didn't participate. There are no public schools participating.</p>

<p>Rotary exchanges. They attend school, though there is not much choice in what they take, and limited choice of country. My D became fluent in her year abroad in Peru. But they have to want to learn, and some don't apply themselves in learning the language.</p>

<p>PINKPINEAPPLE: Thanks for the info. MY D is graduating from a public HS so based on your knowledge of ESU, she wouldn't qualify?</p>

<p>My S graduated from high school at age 17 and elected to do a PG year. In his case, he needed a year to mature and be ready for college, especially physically as he was an athletic recruit for D1 sports. He had a very clear goal, which was realized during his year, but it would have been an extremely difficult year with his buddies away at <em>college</em> while he was still subject to high school restrictions if he hadn't had the carrot of his dream school acceptance riding on a successful completion of the PG year (academically successful as well as conforming to school community restrictions and requirements). </p>

<p>I would suggest a year-abroad option or a service year/gap year option.</p>

<p>GREATLAKESMOM: Rotary Exchanges? Would you please provide the name on the program your D participated in so I can look into it further? Thanks!</p>