Is Taking A Year Off Before College A Bad Idea For A High School Grad?

Dear Dr. Bill,

Our son just graduated from high school and he’s asked us how we feel about him taking off school for a year.  He is very responsible in a variety of ways — he works part time to pay for his cell phone, car insurance, gas, entertainment and his “garage band.”  He’s earned college credits for the last few years of high school and he had a full semester’s worth of credit when he graduated.  What do you think about him taking a year off?  We’re afraid he might lose momentum.


Dear Becky,

It sounds like you and your husband have done a great job raising your son.  In this day and age when so many kids are selfish, spoiled, and irresponsible, you should be proud to have a child who studies hard, succeeds academically, works part time and acts responsibly.

I wouldn’t be concerned about his desire to take a year off from school before he starts college.  From everything you’ve told me, he is one thoughtful, goal-oriented kid.  If he wants to take a year off to work, travel, or simply figure out what he wants to study, I don’t see a problem with that.

Besides, your son is ahead of the game, having earned a semester of college credit while still in high school.

After a one year break, chances are he’ll be even more motivated to start college, particularly when he realizes that without a college degree, there are many careers that won’t be open to him.

But given your son’s excellent track record to this point, I wouldn’t be concerned about the year off.  Some of the most successful people I know didn’t go immediately into college out of high school.

The most important thing is that you continue to offer your son your love and emotional support, as well as gentle guidance when he requests it.

Thanks for writing, Becky.  If you have a question for me about family issues or Christian living, click the “Questions” link on the Family Expert page.

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Shine Family Expert