Taking a year off before college?

I went to school right after high school even though I had no idea what I wanted to do and wasn't even sure I wanted to be there. I ditched all the time and got kicked out in a year.

For the next two years I worked for a state agency as a secretary. The first year was ok, but the second I started to feel down on myself for not staying in school. I took a few community college courses the second year to get back in the swing of being in school and to get some prerequisites out of the way. Then in the spring of 2002, I started school full time at a state university.

It was the best decision I have ever made in my life so far. It didn't take me long to figure out what to major in, and I finished in 4 years, with honors and as crimson scholar meaning I maintained a GPA of over 3.5 most of the time there (actually I maintained over that the ENTIRE time). I took my time, didn't overwhelm myself and only worked during the summer. Most of all I was there for me and only me.

So yes. Totally worth finding out who you are and what you want to do first.

As for the issues brought up by other posters:

Financial Aid: The federal govt make you report both yours an your parents income until you are 24. I started again at 22, so for 2 years I had to take out loans to pay for school and all that comes with it. However, once I turned 24, I no longer had to report my mom's income, so I was considered below the poverty line being that I had no income. The govt. paid my tuition and books after that. I took out some loans after that to pay for housing/living expenses. I'm currently about 20k in debt, but since consolidating I only pay about 200 a month. Sometimes my mom helps me, but I can manage without it. Whats also nice is you can claim the interest you pay in loans on your taxes.

Health insurance. When I worked from 18-22, I had my own health insurance. When I went back to college, my mom was able to put me back on hers and she was able to keep me on until I was 25. Granted she is a state worker, but its worth looking into. My last year there I didn't have insurance, but the health clinic services at my school were pretty affordable, and they did offer insurance plans should you need one. I imagine other colleges do as well.

Well that is my story and I'll leave you with this: Don't go to college because its something you are supposed to do. Go because its something you want to do.
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i'm 42 and i don't know who i am.
go to school, find out who you are later.
Financial Aid: The federal govt make you report both yours an your parents income until you are 24.
Originally Posted by riotkitty
I just filled out the FAFSA. Once you are finished with college, you are considered independent. There are a couple of other situations that can make you "independent" when it comes to federal financial aid, but I can't remember what they are.

Unless you are already well into a career as a supermodel or something, I think it's really important to get a college education if you can. College graduates are preferred for a lot of jobs, and it's just a really great opportunity to learn and explore.

Last edited by Eilonwy; 04-04-2009 at 06:34 PM.
Financial Aid: The federal govt make you report both yours an your parents income until you are 24.
Originally Posted by riotkitty
I just filled out the FAFSA. Once you are finished with college, you are considered independent. There are a couple of other situations that can make you "independent" when it comes to federal financial aid, but I can't remember what they are.

Unless you are already well into a career as a supermodel or something, I think it's really important to get a college education if you can. College graduates are preferred for a lot of jobs, and it's just a really great opportunity to learn and explore.
Originally Posted by Eilonwy
The things that make you considered independent with FAFSA are military service, having a child, being emancipated from your parents, your parents being dead, or being over the age of 24. At least that was the case in 2004 when i turned 24. Plenty of people go to college when they are older and they aren't expected to say what their parent's income is. 24 is (or at least was) the cut-off age. It was totally worthit, I didn't even have to pay for my books.

The OP never said she was never going to go, she said she wanted to take some time off. I went when I wasn't ready and it was just a big waste of my time and my parents money. When I went on my own terms with my own money, thats when it really meant something to me.

And while I'll value my college education and experience, I've also learned that its not the end all be all to making good money, especially if you go into the arts. I have a decent job as a graphic designer, admin assistant, web consultant and a bunch of other things for the small company I work , but my fiancee who never went to college actually makes more money than me as a postal carrier.
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Financial Aid: The federal govt make you report both yours an your parents income until you are 24.
Originally Posted by riotkitty
I just filled out the FAFSA. Once you are finished with college, you are considered independent. There are a couple of other situations that can make you "independent" when it comes to federal financial aid, but I can't remember what they are.

Unless you are already well into a career as a supermodel or something, I think it's really important to get a college education if you can. College graduates are preferred for a lot of jobs, and it's just a really great opportunity to learn and explore.
Originally Posted by Eilonwy
The things that make you considered independent with FAFSA are military service, having a child, being emancipated from your parents, your parents being dead, or being over the age of 24. At least that was the case in 2004 when i turned 24. Plenty of people go to college when they are older and they aren't expected to say what their parent's income is. 24 is (or at least was) the cut-off age. It was totally worthit, I didn't even have to pay for my books.

The OP never said she was never going to go, she said she wanted to take some time off. I went when I wasn't ready and it was just a big waste of my time and my parents money. When I went on my own terms with my own money, thats when it really meant something to me.

And while I'll value my college education and experience, I've also learned that its not the end all be all to making good money, especially if you go into the arts. I have a decent job as a graphic designer, admin assistant, web consultant and a bunch of other things for the small company I work , but my fiancee who never went to college actually makes more money than me as a postal carrier.
Originally Posted by riotkitty
Yeah, I am for SURE going to college. I am just having a hard time deciding whether I want to go in 2009 or 2010. I guess my main concern in taking a second year off would be that I might miss out on the "college experience"...

Thank you for the advice, everyone! I needed people to convince me to go this year. I can always go back to my job AFTER I get my degree...

Now the hard part is going to be breaking my decision to my boss!! It's just a weird situation...I work in a restaurant as the only closer who knows how to do all the paperwork/finances (I basically have the same responsibilities as an AM, I just don't get paid like one yet). It's going to take my boss at least a month to train someone into my position, which is why I feel bad for leaving. BUT, I'll have to get over that. I know I would probably regret waiting until 2010 to go to college. It's just hard to keep perspective on things, because I really do love my job right now.

Oy.

Last edited by Jasha_1.9; 04-05-2009 at 05:50 PM.
The things that make you considered independent with FAFSA are military service, having a child, being emancipated from your parents, your parents being dead, or being over the age of 24.
Originally Posted by riotkitty
And applying to post-college education (masters program, law school, med school, etc.) also means that you're independent.

(I wasn't sure if you were disagreeing with me, or if you were adding on the qualifications that I couldn't remember.)
Aren't you also independent from your parents when you get married? I got married at age 22 when I had one semester of college left. I was able to qualify for a Pell grant because my parents' income was no longer counted on my FAFSA.
Aren't you also independent from your parents when you get married? I got married at age 22 when I had one semester of college left. I was able to qualify for a Pell grant because my parents' income was no longer counted on my FAFSA.
Originally Posted by sarah42
Being married qualifies you as emancipated
"Well I love that dirty water. Oh, Boston, you're my home!"
The things that make you considered independent with FAFSA are military service, having a child, being emancipated from your parents, your parents being dead, or being over the age of 24.
Originally Posted by riotkitty
And applying to post-college education (masters program, law school, med school, etc.) also means that you're independent.

(I wasn't sure if you were disagreeing with me, or if you were adding on the qualifications that I couldn't remember.)
Originally Posted by Eilonwy
I thought you might be arguing the actual age of independence under FAFSA. But it turns out you were just pointing out that post-undergrad, no matter what your age, you will be considered independent. Its cool.
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Actually, in my case, it would be two years now.

I graduated from high school in 2008, and took a year off in order to travel overseas. Since I've been back in the country, I've been working a full time job for the past two months and have planned on quitting so I can go to an awesome out-of-state college this fall 2009.

Now my boss has offered me an assistant manager position. I LOVE LOVE LOVE my job, and it's great money. I am also not looking that forward to college. I have always made good grades and cannot wait to be a teacher, but now I'm thinking it would just be fun to take another year off so I can keep keep my assistant management position. I could go to school part-time at a community college (save boatloads of money, rack up some credits...) and go to my school of choice NEXT fall.

Even as I type this, taking another year off seems kind of silly. But it's tempting all the same.

Any honest advice? Pros/cons??
Originally Posted by Jasha_1.9
and then next fall comes and the assistant position becomes a management position that you just can't pass up. and before you know it, you'll be 30, with a managerial position that may be good, but that probably won't allow you to go any further than that. you'll have no college degree, and while real-life professional experience is important and relevent, a managerial position with an additional business degree, for example, would make you more marketable to future employers. see?

some people have the fortitude to take breaks along the path of meeting their goals. others need to keep the momentum going from the start right to the end, otherwise they'll never complete anything and will have a life of regret.
"Dogs stink too, but I like dog stink." ~ rileyb
i say take the time off. particularly because you mentioned that youre not looking forward to going.

i went to college right after i graduated from high school and i was totally burnt out from all the hard work i did in high school. i went to a college prep high school and gradutated with a 3.8, so i was pretty studious. by the time i made it to my junior year, i was over the whole college thing. i was clinically depressed from the stress of working full time and school plus not wanting to disappoint my parents and everyone else around me. so i quit and it was seriously the best decision i could have ever made. i took 5 yrs off and i just started back this semester and my grades are better now than they ever were the first time around (4.0 here i come!). if i could go back i would have taken time off in between high school and college or quit when i first realized that i didnt want to be there at that moment in time.
My immediate response when reading the topic was 'don't take off from school... continue!', but then I read your whole scenario. First you are hesitant in going to colllege. Better to realize this while you are not in college than to rack up on studen loans only to drop our later. Second, you did something many don't do until they are at retirement age and that's travel overseas. It's not like you are lolly gagging and wasting your time with this break. If you do decide to take a break from school and work this job, do it for a year and then really get down to business and go to school after that year. My only concern would be scholarship money. When I was in school, it seemed that you really qualified for the scholarships upon graduating from high school. I am not sure how it works when you take off time from school.

Maybe this is the mental break you need right now. I proceeded straight from highschool, to college, then to a 4 year doctoral program. After I was accepted in my doctoral program, I should've taken a break. Maybe then I wouldn't have had a break down during those stressful years of study.



and then next fall comes and the assistant position becomes a management position that you just can't pass up. and before you know it, you'll be 30, with a managerial position that may be good, but that probably won't allow you to go any further than that. you'll have no college degree, and while real-life professional experience is important and relevent, a managerial position with an additional business degree, for example, would make you more marketable to future employers. see?
Originally Posted by rainshower
That makes so much sense! Thank you for putting it into perspective for me

I talked to the area manager when he came into our store today, and he is very supportive of me going to college this fall, even though he has a "management position waiting for me if I change my mind." I've been having trouble making a final decision about what I want to study...maybe this is making me realize I should get a business degree! I love the financial/managerial aspect of my job

And applying to post-college education (masters program, law school, med school, etc.) also means that you're independent.
Originally Posted by Eilonwy

Actually, that's not true. If you are enrolled full-time, not working at all, have no foreseeable means of supporting yourself, and are under 24 years of age as of January 1, then you are not considered independent, regardless of graduate status.

Depending on the state, your residency status is also that of your parents' until you can claim independence. That usually really pisses off Med and Law school students and understandably so.

I was a grant administrator in financial aid for 8 years until last month. I totally remember this after answering questions every day. I don't miss this part of it at all.

Also OP: GO TO SCHOOL. Really. You will be so glad to get it done while you are young.
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Don't even get me started on the residency...

I grew up in Texas, graduated college in Texas, both of my parents live in Texas, but I can't get residency because I lived NYC for four years.

Luckily, the head of the department gave me a scholarship. Although it's only $1,000, it qualifies me for instate tuition!

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