Has your child taken a semester off from college ? How did that turn out ?

<p>My child is taking a break for a semester . I understand her reasons ,and am wondering about other college students who took a semester off .</p>

<p>What were you hoping to learn? This is one of those situations where other people’s experiences are not necessarily going to be very informative for you.</p>

<p>People take a semester off for lots of reasons. </p>

<p>I know people who took a semester off to teach English in China and people who took a semester off to re-focus after an academic near-disaster; people who took a semester off after a suicide attempt and people who took a semester off after a summer job morphed into something that was too interesting to leave when fall begain; people who took a semester off to study puppetry in Hawaii and people who took a semester off because of mono.</p>

<p>The benefits, the costs, and the “re-entry” experience were just as varied.</p>



<p>That was me. I did return to school, though I chose a different one than I started at. Did much better, too.</p>

<p>One of mine took two semesters off in two different years, due to medical problems. Both times, she got better the first month. The first time she went to NYC for a month and stayed with a friend of mine in Manhattan, and engaged in the creative pursuit that is her focus at school. The second time, she did two internships, one of which she has continued for a year while back at school. All great experiences.</p>

<li>Son took off a year, which morphed into 3 years. Discovered his passion & likely career niche. </li>
<li>Son transferred to a different school, things worked out fabulously. Did better as a more mature student, won prestigious fellowship, big career boost. </li>
<li>Saved me lots of $$$ because I had told son I would only continue to pay for college if he returned within 2 years – he lost the “mommy scholarship” by waiting another year, but ended up with his senior year fully funded by fellowship + grants; graduated debt free. Quickly hired at good job because of strong work resume & impressive accomplishments during last 2 years of school.<br></li>

<p>Advice: (1) Support your kid emotionally. It’s his/her life. The kid is in the best position to make decisions.<br>
(2) Financially you are wasting your money to subsidize an education if your kid doesn’t want to be in school at the time you are paying. So be grateful that your kid has the wisdom to know when to take time off.
(3) However, financially you should not feel obligated to pay extra for the kid’s decision. Assuming the kid has a choice (i.e., not faced with health issues or other problems beyond his/her control), part of the choice includes financial consequences. Tuitions will continue to increase over time; financial aid may be reduced or lost. Be clear with your kid on the finances, in a nonjudgmental fashion. I suggest putting it in writing. At least in my case, it avoided confusion or hurt feelings down the line.</p>

<p>Great post calmom!</p>

<p>If your daughter has ANY intention of returning to Harvard, make sure she applies for a leave of absence.</p>

<p>My kids didn’t do it, but the guy who is now my husband did. He got sick during the first couple of weeks of the first semester of his sophomore year, realized that he had fallen hopelessly behind in his work, and with his parents’ agreement, left for the semester and returned the following semester. </p>

<p>Two points from his experience:</p>

<li><p>If you are in good standing, take a personal leave of absence. Do not withdraw. My future husband withdrew and therefore had to apply for readmission. (Withdrawing also almost got him drafted, but that’s not relevant now.)</p></li>
<li><p>Seriously consider how the semester off will affect your ability to fulfill requirements in your major. Some courses are offered only as full-year sequences, with the first half offered only in the fall and the second half only in the spring, so a one-semester absence can create havoc in some majors. In other majors, it’s no problem at all. My future husband discovered that he had a huge problem with two-semester sequences when he returned to his university. He solved it by changing his major from electrical engineering to math – and thereby changed the course of his entire life. He has regretted this ever since; electrical engineering was his dream career, and he gave it up just to graduate a little earlier. It would have been better for him to have stayed in the electrical engineering major and taken an entire year off to avoid problems with two-semester sequences.</p></li>

<p>I did. Here’s my perspective. I went to a school far from home as a dance major, but my home was outside nyc. During the course of the year I understood if I wanted to be a dancer, going to college was eating up some pretty valuable time. At the end of freshmen year I told my parents I didn’t want to go back and wanted to try my hand at a professional career. They actually went for it! I commuted from home every day taking classes and doing auditions in nyc. I had a really, really bad dance injury. I ended up needing pt and stopped dancing. I enrolled in the local cc while I got back on my feet. </p>

<p>I transferred to another college a year and a half after leaving the first school. I could not really go back into being a typical college student. I ended up getting a job and going to school full time and rocking through and graduating in 2.5 years at the new school. I did make great friends, but I didn’t really have the traditional experience. I also took some dance classes just for the fun of it.</p>

<p>I don’t regret it, I’d hate to be sitting here today wishing I tried. </p>

<p>It all depends, but from other posts you’ve made it sounds like your dd is struggling with fitting in at college and questioning things. Just because it’s an ivy doesn’t mean it’s right for her.</p>

<p>My child has not, but my nephew (who we help raise, since my SIL is incompasitated after a vehicle accident ) did recently take a semester off…not particulary by choice. His grades were terrible and he could have appealed, but for various reasons, decided not too.</p>

<p>He went back the first of the year, changed schools, majors, and habits and it doing wonderful. He needed the change, so for him it was a very positive experience, but it was a hard decision to make, especially thinking it was kind of a gamble and not knowing if he would have the fortitude to make the needed changes and go back.</p>

<p>From reading all the OP’s posts, I do not believe Harvard is the right fit for her daughter. As much as we might want something to work for our kids, sometimes it just does not. She might need to re-group and figure out what might work better. State U? LAC? Just taking some time to grow up?</p>

<p>Its nice that your daughter is going to come home to be with you after your surgery, but didn’t she just move off campus? What is she going to do when you don’t need help anymore?</p>

<p>My son took off a semester this past fall due to mental illness (he was diagnosed last spring). It gave him a chance to sleep a lot and regroup. Now he’s attending our small local university. Not what I hoped for him originally, but I must say I’m pleased at his perseverance in the midst of a very tough illness. He has a passion now to become an actuary! He’s making contacts and looking into internships. I’m really happy for him. The semester off was just what he needed.</p>

<p>Your daughter doesn’t seem to fall into any “typical” profile, so I wouldn’t really think anyone else’s experiences are going to tell you all that much.</p>

<p>One thing is pretty clear, though, she’s about as ambivalent as anyone has ever been about school and needs to figure out what she wants to do, for herself. Obviously she’s bright and marches to her own proverbial drummer. I’m sure it will all work out fine, and I would definitely put ALL choices in her hands at this point. </p>


<p>D will fly to Sweden early . She is trying to get a visa to do so .She will also visit 2 weeks in Germany with our former au pair ,who is married with a 1 year old baby .</p>

<p>Since when do you need a visa to visit Sweden as a US citizen?</p>

<p>Is your daughter planning to work in Sweden? Is she planning to stay an extended period of time? If not, she does NOT need a visa to travel to Sweden…unless something has recently changed.</p>

<p>I assume she is going to Sweden to be with her boyfriend? Is that why she is taking a semester off? Who is going to fund her one semester in Sweden?</p>

<p>Hi oldfort -nope ,she was already planning to go to Sweden and had a ticket .This is her third summer in Sweden and the boyfriend is only from last summer . You need a visa if you are staying longer than 89 days ,which she would do if she goes a month earlier . The reason she is taking a leave of absence is she enrolled in a class which she encountered a lot of difficulty .When she dropped the class ,it was 3 weeks into the semester .She switched to another class ,but as she had missed 3 weeks she was unable to catch up .If she just dropped the class and continued she would be short a class needed to graduate .That is why she decided to take a semester off . MOWC-because of your question ,I asked her if she wanted to consider a transfer , but she said she liked her school . Thank you for asking your question .</p>

<p>S1 took a year off between 2nd and 3rd years and it turned out to be a terrific idea. He performed volunteer work in China and South Africa, and ran his own business. He found he did not want to be an MD after all, …after finishing much of his premed requirements including calculus, physics, chemistry and o-chem, (spent a summer at Harvard after first year where he did a year of chemistry). He switched majors upon his return to school. He is now happily working in what he found to be his real love, global education.</p>