Monday, February 27, 2017

Literature Review Blog #2

The Guardian: Education: University 2007: Gap years: The world is your Mollusc: Should you take a gap year?
Alice Wignall has the pros and cons - and the questions to ask yourself!

1. Visual 

2. Citation
Wignall, Alice. "Gap Years: The World Is Your Mollusc: Should You Take a Gap 
3. Summary
This relatively short article is about the basic questions, mindsets, and evolving views of both students and universities regarding the gap year and whether or not it is a helpful step for different students. 

4. Author
Alice Wignall has been writer for “The Guardian” since 2000, which is a British national daily newspaper.

5. Key Terms 
Legitimate: In reference to the topic of gap years, many have questioned the “legitimacy” of the process-whether it really prepares students for college life and to what extent. 

Practicality: When deciding to take a gap year or to continue directly to university, students must consider every aspect of their social, emotional, and financial lives in order to choose the most “practical” route. 

6. Quotes (article does not have pages)
“Once upon a time, anyone suggesting they might take a year off before moving on to higher education would have been regarded as at best a fanciful misfit and at worst an eccentric layabout. But not any more.”

“But if you are going to take a gap year, you need two crucial things: a plan and a genuine desire to take one.”

“Most universities see gap years as legitimate: you won't scupper your chances by taking one, or not.”

7. Value

This article, although short, is very helpful in getting to some of the major questions surrounding a students decision to take a gap year or not. It sheds light on many different variables involved in the decision, and how these choices are viewed by universities as well as society which will affect how I conduct further research on the topic.  

Tuesday, February 21, 2017

Literature Review Blog #1

1. Visual 

2. Citation
Works Cited
O'Shea, Joseph. Gap Year : How Delaying College Changes People in Ways the World Needs. EBSCOhost, Web.

3. Summary (Used from Research Blog #3)
Gap Year: How Delaying College Changes People in Ways the World Needs by Joseph O'Shea is the first empirically based analysis of a gap year's influence on student development. The book is broken up into two parts, Part 1: Experiencing The Gap Year, and Part 2: Understanding The Gap Year. In this book, O'Shea establishes a context for better understanding students personal developments over the years time ad also suggests various ways in which universities and educators can develop effective gap year programs for students. 

4. Author
Who is Joseph O'Shea?
Joseph O'Shea is the Director of the Office of Undergraduate Research as well as an adjunct professor in the colleges of education and social science. He has been deeply involved in developing education and health care initiatives in communities in the United States and sub-Saharan Africa. He was also a Rhodes Scholar and holds a doctorate from the University of Oxford. 

5. Key Terms/Concepts
Key Term:
Gap year providers: in the United States, these organizations offer structured gap year programs for students, curating the experience by helping place students in their gap year roles and supporting them during the year. (page 3)

Key Concept:
Motivations: students may have various motivations or reasons affecting their decision to take or not take a gap year. These motivations may include money, personal health, community service, lack of direction, and many more. When deciding whether or not to utilize a gap year, students motivations are the major factor in their decision. (page 13)

6. Quotations: 
"Among U.S. higher education institutions, Harvard has the longest tradition of encouraging students to take a gap year before matriculation, a position it has held for more than 30 years. Harvard saw a 33 percent jump in the number of students taking gap years in the past decade" (O'Shea, 3).

"Some students wanted to use the gap year (often their first extended period away from family) to challenge or test themselves in ways that they felt would help them to develop or learn about themselves and others. Students said the gap year was a response to a desire to “do something on my own,” to “accomplish something without much help from others,” or do be “independent” (O'Shea, 15). 

"The readiness of gap year volunteers may be an important factor in the process of changing the ways they understand the world, as volunteers may be more receptive to changes and influences" (O'Shea, 22).

7. Value of this Source:
I think that this book by Joseph O'Shea will prove to be very helpful to me when exploring my research topic. This book offers so much information regarding many different aspects of the gap year, from the decision making process to the eventual results of the time. There are many examples, studies, interviews, and fats in this book that will give me great insight into the world of the gap year. 

Research Blog #3: Three Academic Sources

The first article I chose is a brief explanation pertaining to Malia Obama’s decision to take a gap year before starting her college career at Harvard University. Although it has not been confirmed what she will be doing in her year off, there is great anticipation surrounding her choice. This article gives great information and quotes about support for the gaps year, as well as the growing recognition it is getting due to the recent decision of the President’s daughter. 

The second article I chose explains the recent changes in mindset and opinions regarding students taking a gap year. Many colleges respect and even encourage this “year off.” Alice Wignall touches on the pros and cons of taking a gap year, questions students must ask themselves when deciding whether or not to take the gap year, and finally factors that may affect their decisions.

The third source I chose is a book by Joseph O’Shea called Gap Year : How Delaying College Changes People in Ways the World Needs. This book is the first empirically based analysis of a gap year's influence on student development. The book is broken up into 2 parts, Part 1: Experiencing the Gap Year, and Part 2: Understanding the Gap Year. In this book, O’Shea establishes a context for better understanding students personal developments over the years time and also suggests various ways in which universities and educators can develop effective gap year programs for students. 

Works Cited
"Malia Obama Is Taking a 'Gap Year' before College. Should Everyone?" Middle Search Plus,
O'Shea, Joseph. Gap Year : How Delaying College Changes People in Ways the World Needs. EBSCOhost,
Wignall, Alice. "Gap Years: The World Is Your Mollusc: Should You Take a Gap Year?",

Monday, February 13, 2017

Research Blog #2: Scouting the Territory

I am going to stick with my original topic which is the gap year that many students are choosing to take after graduating college and before starting graduate or medical school. A major question that seems to be reoccurring throughout my research is “how will a gap year benefit me?” A few key terms and idea that are relevant to this topic are affluence and social class of different students (determining how and if a gap year will be utilized), as well as pros and cons to both sides. In the case of the gap year, either you chose to take one or you don’t. You must weigh your options and decide what the best and most beneficial step will be for you personally while keeping your financial status, academic life, and personal wellness in mind. Another interesting conversation about the topic is who the gap year is most practical for. 
There are different views surrounding the gap year, many of which depend on the students undergraduate major. 
After a few google searches, I found that the idea I had about taking a gap year is the complete opposite of what many people are saying about it. I always thought that students in the medical field chose to take a gap year (being that many of them are affluent students who may have the money to travel, or perhaps would want to get more volunteer hours). However, medical students for the most part are urged to continue straight into medical school without taking time off from a strenuous academic environment. Meanwhile, professional masters degree programs including those for majors like business and communication are very interested in seeing work experience, in which case a gap year is a great idea.
Since another main reason to take a gap year (besides to save money and gain more work experience) is to travel the world and maybe even do charity work, there are many books out about where to go and what programs to join. One book on the market right now is called “The Big Trip: Your Ultimate Guide to Gap Years and Overseas Adventures.” Another scholarly article based on the same topic is called “Doing development’: the gap year, volunteer-tourists and a popular practice of development,” by Kate Simpson who talks about how gap year programs make the practice of international development doable, knowable and accessible to young travelers.

Reasons to wait:
This article explains many benefits to taking a year off after graduation and before starting graduate school for a higher degree. It also offers great resources as well as questions to ask yourself when making the decision to take a gap year or not. 

Pros and cons of taking a gap year before medical school:
This article is geared towards students who are going to attend medical school. It explains in detail the pros and cons of taking a gap year before starting medical school. I like this article because it forces the reader (particularly a student trying to make this decision) somewhat personal questions about how and why they want to spend their next year. 

Saturday, February 11, 2017

Research Blog #1: Initial Topic Idea

For my final research paper I will be researching the gap year. Taking a year off after graduating from high school or receiving an undergraduate degree is becoming more and more popular and I would like to research why, who it is the most beneficial for, and what the time off is used for in various cases (example comparing between students from different social classes or majors).