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Gap Year

, 200 pages
October 2013



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Gap Year

How Delaying College Changes People in Ways the World Needs

With some of the most prestigious universities in America urging students to defer admissions so they can experience the world, the idea of the gap year has taken hold in America. Since its development in Britain nearly fifty years ago, taking time off between secondary school and college has allowed students the opportunity to travel, develop crucial life skills, and grow up, all while doing volunteer work in much-needed parts of the developing world.

Until now, there has been no systematic study of how the gap year helps students develop as young scholars and citizens. Joseph O’Shea has produced the first empirically based analysis of a gap year's influence on student development. He also establishes a context for better understanding this personal development and suggests concrete ways universities and educators can develop effective gap year programs.

Joseph O’Shea is director of Florida State University's Office of Undergraduate Research and an adjunct professor in the colleges of education and social science. O'Shea has been involved with developing education and health care initiatives in communities in the United States and sub-Saharan Africa. He was a Rhodes Scholar and holds a doctorate from the University of Oxford.

"O’Shea asks whether gap years are worthwhile with gusto and authority. His rich qualitative approach, packed with student interviews, provides ample evidence that the answer is 'Yes.' That year, done well, can be a springboard to college success by giving students strength, grit, confidence, inspiration, knowledge, curiosity, empathy, and more."

" Gap Year is a thoughtful, well-researched book and fine resource for learning more about why students choose to take a gap year and its transformational results. I particularly liked its in-depth look at the psychology behind, during, and after the gap year experience."

"O'Shea does more than present stories. By situating narratives within a theoretical framework, he makes a strong case for using the gap year as a means to further students' education."

"Higher education collections should consider this a basic!"

"A clear and concise book, proving the many benefits of a gap year."

"O'Shea is able to identify many of the greatest challenges in designing gap-year programs and offers some suggestions for how to maximize this pedagogical tool through the structure and administration of the gap-year experience."

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