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Has your dc taken a year off in the middle of college?


klmama
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Oldest attended one college for freshman year, then transferred for sophomore year.  Dc really likes the current college, but wants to take a year off after this one is done.  Dc says that several older friends at college did that and it helped them come back with better vision for their futures and a renewed enthusiasm for their coursework.  Dh and I are concerned it will mean never finishing college. Did your dc or others that you know do this and successfully reenroll in college, leading to a degree?  Any specific issues we as parents need to consider as we talk with dc more about this over Christmas break?

 

 

 

 

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You need to check the school's policy--can the child take a leave of absence for a year or will they need to re-apply?

 

Does the kid have a solid plan for the upcoming year--a job lined up, maybe?

 

LDS kids take 1-2 years off school all the time to volunteer as missionaries, almost all return to school and do well but the intervening time is very focused and structured (making school seem easy by comparison). I did this between my junior and senior years.

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I think it means not finishing college much more often than not.

 

I would be a bit dubious about the 'several friends' bit, and probably push for a few more details. Does 'several' mean one person you actually met, who told you yeah, sure, lots of people do it? If it does actually mean several friends that you actually know, why did they take the break and what did they do during it? Meaning what did they do exactly, not, "oh, they worked." 

 

Friends aside, what are his reasons for wanting to take a year off? Enthusiasm and a clearer vision for the future are somewhat nebulous ideas; what are his specific reasons for his specific situation? What are his specific plans? 

 

Of course, in the end it's his decision to make, but it's important for the parents to clarify what they expect and what they will offer. If you are giving financial assistance for college, does that offer hold after the year off? What if one year turns into two? What about during the time off? 

 

This sounds like a typical sophomore slump to me, and I'd strongly encourage him to stick it out. If he suddenly starts to make dazzling sense during our discussions, well, I'm always willing to consider other viewpoints. 

 

It is very common for LDS students to take time off, but that's a very specific subculture with specific expectations. I don't think that experience carries over to the general population. 

 

 

Edited by katilac
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I took a year off in the middle to do just that. It wasn't highly structured or planned in advance, I just felt unsure about what I really wanted to do, and it didn't seem to make sense to continue paying tuition in that situation. I waitressed full-time and then ended up spending several weeks in England with my mom that summer. Came back to school with no money (slept on my brother's studio apartment floor the first several weeks!) but felt more confident about my major and a year's maturity meant I was more ready to study too. Then I finished out my degree. 

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Oldest attended one college for freshman year, then transferred for sophomore year. Dc really likes the current college, but wants to take a year off after this one is done. Dc says that several older friends at college did that and it helped them come back with better vision for their futures and a renewed enthusiasm for their coursework. Dh and I are concerned it will mean never finishing college. Did your dc or others that you know do this and successfully reenroll in college, leading to a degree? Any specific issues we as parents need to consider as we talk with dc more about this over Christmas break?

Kids, no. But I did, for many reasons having to do with a sick sibling and family upheaval. I worked for awhile and made very little and had to be subject to people with 1/10 of my brain power. It was very motivating.

 

When I returned a couple of years later, I was Dean's List all the way, graduated with Honors, and got advanced degrees.

 

Sometimes it's a good thing. Oh, and met my husband in grad school.

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Well,

My DD is doing just that. She is not going back to school after Christmas. I really tried to convince her to stick it out since she is so close to finishing up, but no luck. On the other had, college is too expensive to through away money when she doesn't want to be there and doesn't want to take classes.

Yes, I am prepared for the possibility that she will not go back. I hope I can convive her yo keep taking classes online to at the state university that is within daily commuting distance, but we will see.

Edited by City Mouse
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Does your child have any loans?  If so, I would determine whether repayment of those will start immediately.

 

My husband left university after (I believe) his sophomore year.  After a couple of years delivering and cleaning portable toilets and showers (these are set up for firefighters fighting forest fires), he continued his studies.  He went on to get a doctorate.

 

Regards,

Kareni

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I did this for practical reasons, because 1. DD was born, and 2. We moved from one state to another, and by waiting a year I was able to establish in-state residency in the new state. I took a year off and went back to school when DD was about 10 mo. old.

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My oldest took one semester off. She did go back the next semester, but ended up leaving school again two years later. She is 9 classes away from having a BS, but doesn't want to finish her degree. I have encouraged her to take the one class she lacks to be able to get an Associate's Degree. It would be an AS in general studies. To get any specific AS, she would have to take 3 semester's worth of classes vs the 2 semesters required to finish her BS (although those 3 semesters at the community college would be a lot cheaper than two semesters at university).

 

She has worked a couple of part-time jobs (only one at a time) since she left school. She is mostly drifting. She has mental health issues that make everything more difficult though.

 

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Things to consider are the school's policy for reinstatement of enrollment after time off, what happens with any financial aid/scholarships, student loan repayment, and...a big one...health insurance. In our situation, though our daughter would remain covered, we would have to pay premiums if she is not enrolled full time in school.

 

My daughter dropped out mid-quarter one year, and missed the following quarter as well, for health reasons. It remains iffy for her every quarter, but that has nothing to do with the break itself, and everything to do with her chronic condition. Honestly, I wish it was feasible for her to take a significant break and figure things out, but, for many reasons, it is not.

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Oldest attended one college for freshman year, then transferred for sophomore year.  Dc really likes the current college, but wants to take a year off after this one is done.  Dc says that several older friends at college did that and it helped them come back with better vision for their futures and a renewed enthusiasm for their coursework.  Dh and I are concerned it will mean never finishing college. Did your dc or others that you know do this and successfully reenroll in college, leading to a degree?  Any specific issues we as parents need to consider as we talk with dc more about this over Christmas break?

 

My husband attended Knox College his freshman year, hated it, and transferred to state university on the west coast for his sophomore year.  He took two years off from school because he couldn't see the relevance to his studies and where he wanted to go in life.  Two years working in a restaurant for minimum wage helped him find his direction academically. He graduated with honors. It was an excellent decision.

 

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Ds2 stopped attending college for a year (aka dropped out since he never went back) after his freshman year. Dh and were very expicit about what we would contribute to his "year off" -- he could keep the car that was in our name and he could stay on our health insurance, but otherwise we would contribute NOTHING. If he couldn't make ends meet, he would need to go back to college to get our support.

 

He never went back to school, and in his case I am SO glad he didn't. He met with a much older (and very successful) man in his field right after he dropped out, and they developed a ten-year career plan for him. Well, he achieved his ten-year plan in about 18 months and is now a highly successful ( ......) in a field that usually does require a degree. Motivation, the ability to self-teach, and hard work can go a long way towards success! (And no, his ten-year plan wasn't a baby plan -- ds2 really is that successful!)

 

So please remember that college is not the be-all-end-all.

 

But yes, your son should have a plan in place. Taking a year off just to "find yourself" sounds like a recipe for trouble. The realization that he will need to support himself may be enough of a reality check for him to decide that college isn't so bad.

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I dropped out after the first year. I had very poor motivation for school, and the option to go full-time at my job, so I took it. 

 

I'm currently working on my Master's. Obviously, it's taken some time to get there, but I think I ended up in a reasonable place.

 

Being in school solely for the sake of being in school without a clear goal in mind isn't necessarily going to lead anywhere productive or beneficial.

 

I will say, the way you've phrased it, where he wants to do it because his friends did it, does make me raise my eyebrows a little. Is *he* struggling with his long-term goals? Or is he just following what his friends did because it seems fun?

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Actually, I think dc was having trouble navigating some obstacles and saw this as an easy way to (not) deal with them.  Since I asked here, dc has talked with us about the problems and has a better mind-set.  I don't think dc is planning to take a gap year now, but if so, it will be with a specific goal in mind. 

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