March 3, 2019

Parents, Be Advised that a Gap Year Can Benefit a Student's GPA and Mental Health

Marcia Morris, M.D., is a psychiatrist at the University of Florida
What we at the Center for Interim Programs have been witnessing in the thirty-nine years we have been counseling students through the gap year process, is finally being seriously considered and researched by colleges and mental health counselors: the value of gap time in terms of student maturity, college attendance, academic performance, and mental health.

Marcia Morris, M.D., a psychiatrist at the University of Florida, looked into the benefits of a gap year after she was interviewed on NPR's radio show, On Point. The subject was the rising rate of mental health problems on campus and the role this played in one of three students leaving college during freshman year. A discussion on the show brought up the subject of a gap year and how elite colleges have long encouraged a gap year to increase maturity before college.
Dr. Morris wanted to learn more about the gap year and if it might offer a solution to the high freshman drop-out rates in our country. She was also curious to find out if gap year students experienced improved mental health.

The article referenced here, Is a Gap Year Good for Your Child’s Mental Health and GPA? outlines  Dr. Morris' research on the gap year and how she now recommends a parent/student gap year dialogue. Her conclusion is that "the gap year may be a solution for some students to grow socially and emotionally, to gain maturity, or to get a stronger financial footing, so they can achieve success in the college years."

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