“You should consider a gap year.” I told Robby, a senior at Haddam-Killingworth High School. Robby was one of those boys who had “awakened” sometime during his junior year after putting together a cumulative GPA of 2.5 during his freshman and sophomore years. During junior year, we started working together because his mom had read my first book, Motivate Your Son and knew that something had to change.
Robby had shifted his social and athletic ambitions to now include academics ones as well. The challenge was the “cumulative” part of GPA. Even with mostly As during his junior year, his GPA was hovering slightly below 3.0. Robby’s desire for certain colleges was met with the reality of his transcript.
Robby noted, correctly, that the second half of senior year would be irrelevant to most every college admission committee and that even his first two quarters of senior year might not make much of a difference. As often is the case with these awakened teen boys, Senior year Robby was really mad at Freshman and Sophomore year Robby.
The gap year is great for many reasons. It provides an opportunity to do something interesting prior to college. It provides much needed maturation for many young adults (particularly boys) prior to college and, for some, it can dramatically shift college admissions possibilities.
In Robby’s case, he could apply as a senior with his middling GPA or he could apply post gap year with an enhanced GPA and, much more importantly, an interesting experience on his resume.
In Robby’s case he went to Africa for the half the year in a volunteer teaching gig. That made a radical difference in his college profile and post gap year, Robby wound up gaining admission at several colleges that he never would have a chance at had he applied senior year.