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“Gap Year” Between High School and College


A gap year is generally regarded from various perspectives, and while some consider it useful for students, others do not agree that such a gap may be useful. Considering the fact that the opinions are opposite, the thorough research of the considerations should be arranged, with the further assessment of the qualitative data associated with these opinions. Therefore, the problem will require several perspectives for analyzing the regarded opinions, as well as defining the required theoretic concepts of the revealed phenomena.

Literature Review

As for the matters of the gap, the opinions and considerations are mainly associated with the benefits and disadvantages of such a year. However, few live types of research have been arranged for evaluating the effect of the gap year for the students’ successes or failures. Regardless of the outcomes, most advice are associated with the aim of such a gap. Hence, a person should clearly realize the usefulness of this gap for him/her, and have a detailed plan of further actions.

In general, a gap year may be a reasonable break for lots of students, however, this may also cause frustration. The instances are numerous, and there is no need to discuss the pros and cons of the gap year on the instances available. Nevertheless, it should be stated that it is important to have a clear reason for making a break and decide how a person is going to spend his/her time.

The gappers are mainly regarded as more experienced, and reasonable in their decisions. This is explained by the fact that most of them prefer spending this year working, hence, they are no longer kids who have just left school, however, they are not adults. In comparison with those who preferred to enter college at once, the gappers know the value of the time, hence, they learn to allocate their time resources more effectively. Additionally, they have an opportunity to have a rest from the school formalities, and feel the taste of freedom previously to getting bound with the college rules, principles, and requirements.

However, it is also stated (Ikpa, 2007) that students that feel their dominance in the study, life experience, or skills, can resort to violent behavior towards their younger mates. In fact, such violence is never groundless, however, in accordance with the statistical data, violence is more common for older students. In general the gap year problem is not studied properly from the perspective of violence, therefore, the only basis that may be available is the theoretical basis of qualitative researches, as well as the assessment of gap year effectiveness for various students in different colleges. On the other hand, the violence related problems are generally studied without consideration of gap year problems. However, they may be helpful for defining the communication patterns of the students.

Analysis Perspectives

The observational study of the matter of gap years should be mainly based on the values of the benefits and the opportunity of the problems associated with making this gap. Therefore, the possible benefits of gap year outlined by observers are as follows:

  • A higher value of time, money, and knowledge
  • Larger life experience
  • Better organizational skills
  • Rest from norms, formalities and requirements
  • Clearer aims and attitude towards learning


  • Possible loss of curriculum fitness
  • Opportunity of violence (it is stated that older students may abuse their younger mates)

In the light of the fact that most researchers emphasize the opportunity of violence based on the age difference (Brown and Calder, 2000), it should be emphasized that the actual importance of gap year is explained by the opportunity to reevaluate the life values, and get back to studying with fresher impressions and attitudes. Additionally, the studies regarded above do not focus on the reasons of these conflicts and violence. As a rule, gappers who have already tried the taste of free life, and have tried to earn their own living, and become essentially calmer in everyday surroundings (Ikpa, 2007). Hence, the origin of college violence may be associated with the attempt to suppress a too noisy or cocky younger class- or roommate. In general, college violence is not defined by the age of the students, moreover, gappers, who have made this choice reasonably, often participate in social activities that make them deal with violence. Therefore, they try to avoid violence in their mature life. As it is stated by Ikpa (2007, p. 138):

Because gap years conform to no pre-set mold, the sky is the limit in terms of designing rich experiences. Most gappers pursue personal enrichment through travel, service work or educational programs. Their chosen challenges range from City Year, a non-profit tutoring and mentoring program, to backpacking independently abroad.

Qualitative Research Approach

The research of violent behavior among gappers and non-gappers should be performed by a thorough study of their communication patterns, educational successes, as well as impressions of their tutors. The qualitative approach towards thee research will be helpful for the entire assessment of the causes and effects of the problem, while most researches associated with college violence do not focus on the actual causes of violence, and prefer judging by the results of other violence researches.

The focus of the research will be placed on the matters of the psychological image of the gappers and non-gappers. Additionally, the origins of these gaps should be studied. Hence, if a gapper participated in a social initiative associated with helping the victims of domestic violence, he/she is balanced enough to avoid violence in college, unless the reason of this violence was reasonable. Additionally, the actual importance of studying the origins of the gaps, and the nature of students’ occupation during the gaps, is required or proper assessment of their skills and psychological features. The principle of studying the origin is explained by the conceptualization process offered by Trochim and Donelly (2008), and is needed for deeper study of the cases.

The qualitative approach for studying the regarded aspects will help to identify the requirements for the study frameworks, as well as assess the behavioral aspects of the students. Since the year gap is regarded from several perspectives, the qualitative approach will help to consider all the aspects, and synthesize the results of the study into single research. Additionally, the conceptualization process will be helpful for crystallizing the causes of violent behavior, and regard the problem from various perspectives.


The effectiveness of the gap year is generally beyond any doubt. However, the problem of possible violence originated by gappers is not studied properly, and requires deep study for defining the origins of the violence and aggression. The study of communicational patterns will be the necessary aspect for creating the research framework.


Bedi, R. P., & Alexander, D. A. (2009). Using Multivariate Concept-mapping for Examining Client Understandings of Counselling. Canadian Journal of Counselling, 43(2), 76.

Brown, J., & Calder, P. (2000). Concept Mapping the Needs of Foster Parents. Child Welfare, 79(6), 729.

Ikpa, V. W., (2007) It Takes a College Degree to Break the Traditional 2-to-1 Black-white Unemployment Gap. The Journal of Blacks in Higher Education. 39.

Trochim, W., Donelly, J. (2008). The Research Methods Knowledge Base. Mason, OH: Cengage Learning. 3rd edition.


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