As the students City Year serves are gearing up to go back to school, City Year alums all over the country are doing the same.
More and more young people are deciding to take what is known as a “gap year” before beginning or continuing higher education. A gap year is usually defined as a year where students take a break from school and pursue other interests such as art, travel, athletics, internships, or in the case of those who decide to serve with City Year or other AmeriCorps programs, community service.
What was once viewed as a path taken by few has now become a popular option among young people, and institutions of higher education are taking note. Many colleges, including Harvard, actually encourage students to defer enrollment for a year or two to pursue other opportunities.
Not only are young people having life-changing experiences, but it is actually setting them up for greater success.
According to an article published in The Wall Street Journal:
A recent survey of 300,000 first-time freshmen at four-year colleges and universities found 1.2% waited a year to enter college
Taking a gap year is linked to higher motivation in college, according to an Australian study of 2,502 students published in August in the Journal of Educational Psychology
5% of four-year colleges and universities have formal policies allowing students to defer admission
90% of students who took a gap year returned to college within a year
City Year corps members earn a Segal Education Award worth $5,550 upon completion of the program, so its no surprise that our corps members often return to school.
Based on data we retrieved from the 2010-2011 End of Year Corps Member Survey, we found that:
52% of City Year corps members planned on pursuing higher education after their corps year
Of these City Year corps members:
47.1% planned to attend graduate school
36.9% planned to start or return to a four year college
10.6% planned to return to a two year college
5.5% had other educational plans or were still unsure
This week, we will be sharing stories of City Year alums who are not only going back to school, but have received some really awesome scholarships because of the fact that they are a City Year alum.
Are you a City Year alum who is going back to school this year? Let us know in the comments!