Many young people decide to take a gap year between finishing school and starting university. Do you think this is a good idea? Particularly in western societies, an increasing number of students who complete secondary education choose to take a year out in order to work or travel before going on to higher education. Some experts involved in education are worried by this trend. However, I think it is an extremely positive development and hugely beneficial for the majority of prospective undergraduates.
There are several significant arguments in favour of a gap year. At the age of eighteen, many school-leavers are not actually mentally mature enough to cope with university life. Some adolescents have had a sheltered upbringing and are not yet ready to be thrown into adulthood. It is very important that they are given a year to mature intellectually, socially and perhaps spiritually.
Even more important is the idea that slightly older students will benefit more from university study. An undergraduate who has taken a year out to earn money or see the world is far more likely than other university applicants to appreciate how lucky she or he is. Such a student will realise that it is a privilege to study and will take full advantage of the opportunity.
It is fair to say that there are drawbacks to taking a year out. Some teens are genuinely ready for study at eighteen. Others leave school, take a year away from academia and never return. It is therefore reasonable to suggest that each student should decide - with the support of family and teachers - whether a gap year is appropriate or not.
To sum up, I believe there are major advantages for most students in taking a period of time away from education before embarking on a degree course. Individuals will often become more mature and well-rounded and appreciate how fortunate they are to have the chance to study. Although gap years should not be made compulsory, I am strongly of the opinion that educational organisations such as colleges and universities should make sure that all prospective applicants at least consider the possibility of taking a year out.
prospective = expected or expecting to be the specified thing in the future
to cope with = to deal successfully with a difficult situation
a sheltered upbringing = a life in which someone has been too protected by their parents from difficult or unpleasant experiences
a privilege = a special advantage
embarking on = starting
well-rounded = having a personality that is fully developed in all aspects
Try to avoid overusing the word 'people' or 'students' in an essay like this. Look at all the underlined words/phrases that can be used instead.