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Gap years are a good idea(7 Posts)
Having read some things about gap years on another thread, thought I'd share this story that shows that gap years are good.
A good friend of ours has a bright son who all through GCSE/A Level had planned to study Geography. Over the summer after AS he had decided he wanted to actually study English. He wrote a personal statement for English and told the state comprehensive. The headmistress advised him that he had always wanted to do Geography and she was worried he didn't have the right skills to study English at university and so managed to convince him to apply for Geography. He didn't get into Cambridge to study geography.
He told his parents that he couldn't see himself studying at any of the other options to study and was gutted about Cambridge. They told him under no circumstances was he allowed to reapply as it was a waste of time and money. He chose one of his options (Durham).
He went for a term and thought the course was "crap" (his words!) and behind his parents back he reapplied independently and swore the school into secrecy to write his personal statement. He reapplied to Oxford for English and breezed the interviews, told his parents he got in and had dropped out and moved home, where he worked for the rest of the year.
He worked in a job that he loved and became a new man. He was so confident and so much happier in himself. It really gave him chance to grow up; I couldn't believe the difference in him when I saw him!
Not only that, he got plenty of time to read for his passions and to travel and have new experiences, before being tied down to studies.
So the moral of the story is, that students 95% of the time know what they want to do and what to do with their lives. They ought to be trusted,, and if they want a gap year then certainly should be allowed to take one!
DD wasn't sure that she had made the right choice about subject or university last year, so took a gap year instead. She will be starting university in September and is really looking forward to it.
If I ruled the world (cue Harry Secombe), I'd require all my undergrads to take a gap year before I taught them.
And it would not be a "gap yah" - it would be a year of productive work.
Perhaps rather, gap years 'can' be good, rather than 'are good' as a sweeping statement, although I've nothing against either taking one or not. They are not especially recommended for Maths degrees.
Maybe the issue here was the young person not being able to make his own choices in the first place?
I'm certainly glad the student is happy and thriving though!
* Perhaps rather, gap years 'can' be good, rather than 'are good' as a sweeping statement, although I've nothing against either taking one or not. They are not especially recommended for Maths degrees.*
Yes - if the kid has the good fortune to be clear about what they want to do, and gets the offers and the grades, and especially the subject is one which requires firm grasp of a level methods esp maths as a basis, then a gap year may not be beneficial at all.
But for those who aren't sure, or who don't get a place that really suits them, and if they can do something worthwhile in the gap year, yes, they should be more encouraged. The thing that is likely to be a 'waste of time and money' is doing the wrong course.
I think the view is changing re maths. Dh is head of a maths department and is very much in favour.
We hope ds1 will have one.
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