As the end of the school year draws closer, many seniors may be worrying about which college they will attend the following semester or looking for a job that will provide for them. However, some students decide to take a gap year: a period of time taken off before going on to pursue a higher education. Gap years usually consist of gaining work experience, travelling, or volunteering. Senior Mara Tack plans to make the most of her gap year.

This summer she will go to Italy to teach a family friend’s children English in return for staying with them. Tack explains that it is similar to an exchange program, but more casual.
Then, on Oct. 1, she plans to start 10 months of service in AmeriCorps NCCC (National Civilian Community Corps).

“I loved the idea of being able to go to completely new and different places outside of my comfort zone and to grow and mature in non-academic ways,” said Tack. In AmeriCorps NCCC, members work in teams of eight to twelve as they are assigned to community service projects around the region served by their campus.

“I chose this route instead of going to college because I know that for myself personally, I didn’t want another five to six years of nothing but studying and academics without some kind of real world experience first,” said Tack. According to, members are trained in CPR, first aid, public safety and other skills before starting their first service project.

“I feel like so many seniors now think that college is the only option and really cut themselves off from a lot of great opportunities that are available to young adults,” said Tack. After successfully completing the 10 months of service, AmeriCorps members are eligible to receive a Segal Education Award.

After her time with AmeriCorps, Tack is hoping to attend the University of Pennsylvania in the fall of 2013 and double-major in nursing and health management.

Megan Varde / Graphics

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