Gap Year Comes to America

The quintessentially British tradition of taking a year off between high school and university is becoming popular in the U.S. where teens seek to broaden their horizons.

College-admission letters are starting to roll in, but a growing number of students will decide instead to take a year off to try out potential careers or broaden their horizons. Gap-year activities range from doing volunteer work or taking classes, to working for pay, traveling or tackling outdoor adventures. Gap years have long been common in England, but organized programs are gaining traction in the U.S. While many students take a year off to earn money for tuition, programs involving international travel or service work are more common among affluent students or those from competitive high schools, where pressure to get good grades and gain admission to an elite college is most intense.

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