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May 06, 2016 06:49 AM EDT

Student Tips on Taking Gap Year Like Malia Obama: Luxury or Necessary?

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There has been an increase in the number of students taking a gap year. The President's first daughter Malia Obama, who is also taking a gap year before enrolling to Harvard, might seem to confirm that taking a break before entering university live, is a good idea.

Gap year can either be effective or disastrous. Researchers have found that, a gap year can have negative impacts such as permanent detour, dropping out of school and landing on low-wage jobs. However, current research from Middlebury College finds that students who delayed college, graduated with higher GPA than of those who did not.

Meaningful work during gap year

The trick to have successful gap year that eventually leads to successful college performance, is to have transformative event. Jeffery Selingo, author of 'There is A Life After College' explains that fulfilling work or pursuing passion in gap year can create successful academic. Here, fulfilling, refers to working in a community service, traveling to broaden horizon, or taking a specialized study. By combining travel and learning, students can have higher GPAs and thrive during the study.

Bob Clagett, former dean at the Middlebury College, spoke to College Admission Book on the benefits of taking six months to one year break. He believes that students can benefit from the gap year as they can actually make better decisions of learning preferences.

Moreover, it also leads to higher productivity once they enter the college. According to the American Gap Association who promotes gap year, 98 percent of students found themselves developed to a better person with 97 percent of them are said to experience an increase in maturity. Since students have worked and gained something positive outside the college, they tend to be more aware and more mature as well.

Hence, gap year should not only be seen as a luxury only wealthy people like Obama can afford. Seeing the world through a different lens should mean a new experience, a time to find yourself and completely see the bigger picture.

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