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College, enlistment, or travel: where is Cotter’s class of 2018 headed?

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Although there had been a steady trend in Cotter’s past for students to go straight to a university after high school, the times are changing.

Cotter’s class of 2018 is proof of this, with students heading off in a variety of different locations: gap years of work and travel, enlistment into the military, and higher education.

According to Suzy Strutner, a writer for the HuffPost, it is normal in many other countries to take time off (usually 1-3 years) after high school, before heading to a college or university. Even though it currently is not extremely common in the U.S. to take a gap year, the popularity is steadily rising because students are beginning to see the benefits.

“On an educational level, universities are reporting an increase in GPA, greater engagement in campus life, increased likelihood that students will graduate ‘on time’ or within four years, and of course greater clarity with career ambitions from students who took a gap year” (Gap Year Association).

Gap Year Association also states that on a more personal note, students that took a gap year reported being 75% happier or more satisfied with their careers after receiving a degree.

A few other benefits of taking some time off before entering a college include better performance in college, a better knowledge for what you want to study, adventure at your prime, better adaptation and real world skills, time to think, and a new perspective on the world.  

One of the students who has decided to take a gap year is Riley McGill.

I decided to take a year off because I wanted to travel and figure out what I wanted to do in life, and I figured the best way to decide was to experience new things,” said Riley.

Like many students that decide to take a gap year, Riley plans to take time to travel, and she plans on going to Spain and other parts of Europe, Colombia, Australia, and different parts of the U.S.

I feel like this is beneficial for people because it can be new and fun experiences and you make a lot of memories. I do plan to go to college after the year is over but who knows, anything could happen” said Riley.

This writer is another student that has decided to take a year off to travel and gain a new perspective. I think that college is a true blessing, but we should not feel pressured to go right away. Instead I am going to explore Italy and Slovenia, grow as a person, and then embark on a degree when I am ready.

Bled, Slovenia: One of the beautiful towns I plan on vistiting during my gap year.

Another path that one might feel they should go after high school is enlistment in the military.

Although most people do not always consider enlisting as an option for themselves, according to military.com, many should look into enlistment after high school because it offers a variety of benefits including:

Educational Benefits, Cash Bonuses, Tax-Free Housing & Food Allowances, 30 Days of Vacation per Year, World travel, Health & Dental Care for you and your family” (military.com).

There are two students in Cotter’s class of 2018 have recognized the various benefits and feel like this is the best option for them: Sean Livingston and Keagan Cranor.

“I didn’t want to go to school for another four years and most of my family enlisted in the military as well…Plus you get paid right off the bat, and the military trains you and gives you certificates for the job you chose for free,” Livingsotn said.

Like Sean, Keegan also has had relatives that served in the past, and he hopes to enlist in the army to serve something greater than himself.

“I chose to enlist into the U.S. Army because I wanted to help make an impact in other’s lives by serving in the military. I also wanted to join a brotherhood and become apart of something greater than myself,” Cranor said.

Both Keagan and Sean are not quite sure if they will go straight to college after their four years of enlistment or if they will serve longer, but they both have the option of debt-free college.

Riley, myself, Sean, and Keagan have all decided to go down a path slightly different then most; however, many people do still feel strongly that college right after high school is the best option for students.

According to Christi Given of Project Inspired, some very important reasons you should go to college right after high school include the possibility that you won’t go at all if you take time off, you will learn new skills that are priceless, doors will be opened that you cannot open yourself, you will make lifelong friends, and the earlier you go, the more jobs you will be qualified for.

Most students at Cotter still feel that college right away is the best option for them, with very good reason.

Ben Herber is on of those students who feels that he will benefit the most from going to college right away, specifically Princeton University.

“I wanted to go to college right away especially because Princeton offers so many opportunities to grow myself in other areas and subjects as well as travel abroad and explore new cultures! It gave me the best opportunity to balance personal growth and experience with continuing my education,” Herber said.

Another student that is excited to go straight to college is Jennifer Lai.

I’m excited for starting a new life and meeting new people at college in Hawaii. I want to complete my degree ASAP so I can work and make a lot of money for my parents,”Lai said.

Both Ben and Jennifer’s reasons for why they want to go to college right away are very important.

Overall, Cotter’s class of 2018 has a variety of unique students with their own unique talents, dreams, and paths, and this has led many to different destinations after high school. Whether it be traveling, enlisting, or continuing an education, Cotter wishes them the best of luck.

 

Sources:

https://www.huffingtonpost.com/2016/05/01/gap-year_n_4325969.html

https://gapyearassociation.org/benefits.php

https://www.military.com/join-armed-forces/military-benefits-overview.html

httpds://www.projectinspired.com/why-i-think-you-should-go-to-college-right-after-high-school/

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College, enlistment, or travel: where is Cotter’s class of 2018 headed?