There has been quite a bit of talk recently about the “gap year” – when a high school graduate waits a year before starting college.  There are programs specifically designed for those utilizing a gap year, and opinions galore about who should utilize a gap year, how they should utilize it and how colleges view such experiences.

This blog has nothing to do with any of that.  (Well, almost nothing.)

I’m writing this to connect with those who did not go to college at 18.  Or started and then stopped.

I need to tell you something.

It’s time.

  • The ‘gap’ (pun intended) between the earnings and opportunities between college graduates and non-college grads has never been wider.  And it will grow.  Despite criticisms of the job and earnings opportunities for college grads, it’s better than the alternative.
  • The acceptance of adult students has never been greater.  You used to be the icing on the cake.  You are now the cake.  MOST students in this country are non-traditional.  Now, “non-traditional” includes some factors other than age (part-time student, parent of a child, full-time worker) but it still – mostly – represents the adult student market.  40 IS the new 20.
  • You will (probably) succeed.  There is some data that contradicts this, but I can tell you that while I often saw adults have to leave a program due to life’s twists and turns, I rarely saw an adult leave because of academic issues.  There is something to say about the quality of education provided by the School of Hard Knocks.
  • The resources and support have never been greater.  The expansion of Community College programming, the increase in Scholarships for Adults,  the increased acknowledgement of Life Experience in terms of College Credit, the increase in accepted transfer credit, the development of Colleges designed specifically for Adult Students (Thomas Edison State College would be one such example here in New Jersey) and the new GI Bill are just some of the resources that were either much smaller ‘back in the day’ or did not exist.  All of these things are there because of you – to help you succeed in obtaining a college degree.  It is time.

I said that this post had ‘almost’ nothing to do with the gap year.  I said ‘almost’ because I do think there are two important connections between the Gap Year and the Gap Decade (or Gap Score, as it were).  The first is that these gaps allow a person to mature – to ‘grow up’ as it were.

The second, related point is that these gaps allow a person to have a better sense of what academic program best suits their needs/wants/goals/strengths.  While the ‘What Do You Want to Be When You Grow Up?” question can prove elusive even when you are 48, 68 or 88, the added time allows for more meaningful thought being given to the question.

You may not know the destination, but at least you have a better sense of how you want to map out the journey.

So, while you may have been enjoying this Gap Decade (or two) that you have taken, it is time.  Welcome back and watch out for the Freshman 15!

As always, I welcome your comments and questions.  Please feel free to email me at info@cc4therestofus.com, call or text me at 908-403-3819, join me on Facebook on “College Counseling for the Rest of Usand join me on Twitter at @MichaelCCR.   And now on YouTube at http://www.youtube.com/user/CCRMichael?feature=mhee.

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