IELTS Writing Task 2 Topic:
In some countries young people are encouraged to work or travel for a year between finishing high school and starting university studies. Discuss the advantages and disadvantages for young people who decided to do this.
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Band 8.5 Sample Essay:
There is a growing trend towards taking a gap year prior to entering tertiary education among school leavers in certain parts of the world. While it is true that such practice is not without its own disadvantages, I would argue that the benefits of going to work or traveling before one embarks on college far outweighs these disadvantages.
On the one hand, people’s concerns about delaying university are largely justifiable. To begin with, if a person opts to travel, there is the question of finance. Most high school graduates are unlikely to be able to fund their own travels, and as a result must ask their parents to pay for all the expenses of the trip. This is obviously undesirable, especially for families in developing nations, who have more urgent needs to address rather than traveling. Should they decide to go to work, there is a high chance that they would just end up doing part-time work with meager pay. In addition, these jobs often provide employees with little exposure to professional working styles and skills, so most fail to gain any substantive benefits from them. For instance, my friend spent a summer working at a fast food establishment in Hanoi, which he said was a complete waste of time because he could not acquire any new skills, nor could he procure any significant savings from the salary.
On the other hand, notwithstanding the described issues, I believe abundant advantages accrue to taking a year off before college. By going to work, youngsters can obtain valuable working experiences. The merit of this is they are able to put their study into perspective when they take university courses later. For example, an accounting major can better imagine how accounting theories and standards are applied in a corporate context if he has previous experiences reading financial statements and handling transactions as a cashier. By travelling, one has the chance to acquire useful life skills by living independently, especially if he journeys to a foreign country. I can personally vouch for this, as during my 3-year stay in America, not only did I materially improve my English, I was also able to learn how to live on a tight budget and manage personal finance.
In conclusion, it is my genuine belief that taking a gap year before enrolling in a university is a rewarding experience and definitely an option worth contemplating for those who are about to graduate from high school.
Mr. Tung IELTS