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## Learning Disabilities – Benefits of a Gap Year For Students With Learning Disabilities

You’re a senior in high school and it’s time to apply to college. All your friends are caught up in the frenzy of writing college essays, talking about first picks, early decisions, etc. and you’re just not sure. School has been very long for you and you are tired. You’re not sure if college has a purpose for you, since you don’t have any career goals right now. You feel an implicit pressure from your parents to continue school. What are you doing?

You have a range of options:

**Living at home and working for a period, while saving money and maturing**. I know your parents say, “If you don’t go to college now, you never will.” Not necessarily true. The average age at community colleges is twenty-seven. Working is beneficial because it gives you an idea of what’s out there with just a high school diploma. After doing this for several years and experiencing the “ceiling,” you may suddenly see a reason to attend college. Whatever you do, don’t let parental pressure force your decision. From everything I’ve seen as a college instructor, parents can pressure you to enroll, but they can’t force you to commit. In the end, coerced students fail and parents’ tuition money drops. Sit down with your parents and calmly discuss the benefits of working and putting off college for now. (In the meantime, you might consider applying now and deferring admission if you’re accepted. Sometimes it’s easier to “drop in” on the application process while everyone else is doing it. It can actually ease the anxiety from your parents about your acceptance. free time.)

**Do internships.** Connect with employers in the fields you’re interested in and ask if they take interns out of high school. Sometimes employers only want college interns, so you may have to use your powers of persuasion and offer your services for free to get your foot in the door. While this is an expensive option in terms of lost revenue, it is often a very valuable investment in the future. Having several internships will give you insight into what interests you, but just as importantly, what doesn’t. Internships allow learning in a ‘hands-on’ way which is particularly useful for those who learn better by ‘doing’ rather than sitting in a classroom. If your search for an internship fails, an alternative is to ask if you can “shadow” someone in a field that interests you. Seeing what a day in the life of a PR manager is like, for example, gives you the basis for judging whether you’ll find a fulfilling career. Finally, if you find a good match and impress an employer, the relationship may lead to a job offer later on. After all, if an employer is looking to hire, isn’t a reliable “known” quantity better than an unknown? In a competitive market, internships are one of the best ways to secure future employment.

**You can travel**. Even at a budget price, this is a luxury option. However, if you have money saved up (or parents are willing to fund it) and are independent enough to take care of your own needs, this is an incredible opportunity to experience new people, places and cultures that will expand your horizons even further. your own world Traveling requires taking responsibility for all your needs and can lead to greater maturity.

**Take the time to strengthen your academic skills**. If you didn’t do as well in high school as you would have liked, your academic and study skills are probably subpar. In this case, enroll part-time in a continuing education program (non-credit) or in developmental classes at your local university. Work to improve your reading, writing, math, and study skills so you can start college with confidence, possibly avoiding developmental courses.

**You can** **connect with a gap year program, either through an educational institution or a private agency**. Gap year programs can include a supervised residential program, along with beneficial work experience. A well-run program will offer counseling, mentoring, and maybe even college credit; it’s a good step before venturing out on your own for the first time. This is an excellent option for students who want to attend a residential college but lack confidence in their independent living skills. This type of program is reassuring for parents who want their child’s first experience away from home to include some degree of supervision.

** There are several advantages to taking a gap year:**

**you can grow **Taking time off to work or travel gives you real-life experience that can translate into greater maturity. This will help you cope with the social and academic pressures of college. A gap year can also narrow your focus on what you want to do. Students who enter college with a goal in mind find it easier to endure courses that hold little or no interest because they see them as a means to an end.

**You will have time to meet.** Students who take a break and explore different career fields often discover what they want to do with the rest of their lives. Equally important, they often realize what they don’t want to do; The upside of this is that they haven’t wasted their tuition money on a career, only to discover that they don’t care in the end.

**You will have the opportunity to prepare yourself mentally and academically for college. **If you weren’t a “student” in high school, taking time off gives you a chance to “reprogram.” Think about why you lacked motivation and what will change when you go back to school. Enrolling in a study skills course and taking it seriously will ensure you know how to prepare for exams. Students who take time off and are a little older can be more “financially” thoughtful. They may realize that putting in minimal effort results in failure and retaking courses and grades that are mediocre at best. While they may graduate, will their record earn them a job that pays well enough to offset the tuition dollars spent? Will they have built up an academic record that will earn them enough income to live independently and pay off any student loans they may have acquired? If taking time off leads to better preparation and greater fiscal responsibility, it’s worth it.

**You will appreciate college.** Once you enroll in college because it’s your desire, not your parents’, you’ll be more motivated. Add a few years of maturity and you have an equation for success.

Google “gap opportunities” for an extensive list of options.

All students thrive on their own schedule. If, for whatever reason, you’re not ready to head to college right after you graduate from high school, that doesn’t mean college isn’t there for you. It may very well mean that you need a quality break for introspective thinking, something a sabbatical can provide.

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