Thursday, September 06, 2012

The Gap Year

Is a gap year for high school graduates a good idea, as some people suggest? Taking a year off to work or travel, the argument goes, turns young adults into serious students and enhances their college experience.

It sounds appealing in theory. But in reality, a gap year may not be such a great idea. So finds economist Jonathan James of the Federal Reserve Bank of Cleveland in a comparison of the college completion rates of both types of students. Among students who enter a four-year institution immediately after high school, 62 percent earn a bachelor's degree within six years. Among students who take a gap year before going to college, only 32 percent earn a degree.

"One of the strongest correlates with bachelor's degree completion is the timing of postsecondary education," says James. The sooner young adults go to college after high school, the more likely they are to earn a college degree.

Source: Federal Reserve Bank of Cleveland, Delaying Enrollment and College Completion

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