Question: My son is going to be a junior in this fall and he is a high honor student at a prep school. He wants to take a year off, but I am worried. Will this hurt him when he applies to college?
Depending on what your son does with his "gap year," it might actually work in his favor at college-admission time. There are many valuable study-abroad and volunteer opportunities that could set your son's college applications apart from others with similar grades and test scores but which boast only the typical high school extracurricular activities. Joining the work force--even in a menial job that will help your son earn cash for college--would be considered worthwhile, too.