Some Vermont students are looking to take a year off before enrolling in college. The American Gap Association says Green Mountain students' interest in the gap year is at an all time high.
The year allows students to defer college enrollment to pursue enrichment opportunities.
"As soon as I got into UVM I knew I wasn't going to go that year and I was dead set on taking a year off," says Lucy Crane.
Instead Crane decided to travel to Southeast Asia where she helped repair villages in Cambodia.
The UVM junior says it was the year she needed to see if college was really for her.
"When you are dedicating four years to something you want to make sure your whole heart is in it."
And she's not alone. “If I am going to be spending $60,000 a year, I want to know what I want to do," says recent Burlington High School grad, Lily Weissgold.”
But whether it’s to volunteer with AmeriCorps or explore the world, the interest in the gap year, taking a year off before going to college, is growing among Vermonters.
"One measure of that interest is in our annual gap year fair, which is run by USA Gap Year, says Julia Rogers, who is on the Board of Advisor for the American Gap Association. She says last year the fair saw a 20 percent increase in attendance, with Vermonters from Bennington to Burlington eager to learn more.
“Most colleges in Vermont are ok with the deferral," says Rogers.
Some even encourage it. Middlebury College outlines the option of a gap year in their undergrad acceptance letters. For some it means earning money to travel or give back. "I didn't have one day off in the summer just so I can make my dream come alive,” says Crane.
But, it paid off. Lucy, now a Geography major, says the gap year helped her inside and outside the classroom with real world experiences.
The American Gap Association says some service-based programs that will help cover travel and living expenses.
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