After taking more than a decade of classes, some students choose to delay their transition into the “real world” after graduation even further by taking some time off before entering graduate school or going to work.
Lynne Sebille-White, assistant director of Career Planning and Placement, said there are many reasons for deferrals. Sometimes a lack of financial support makes attending graduate school immediately impossible.
Sebille-White said other students need a mental break. “Some need to be away from the academics,” she said.
The time when students choose to begin their job search also influences post-graduate decisions. The time chosen often depends on the economy, Sebille-White said. “When the economy is strong, students feel more safe to wait,” she explained. “There is not necessarily a perfect time to job search. You need to start when you are ready.”
Some pre-med students take classes in different medical programs to raise their grades in order to get into their desired medical schools, Sebille-White added. Students who either did not get into their first choice school or any medical school at all typically make this choice, she said.
Many students decide to take a break from their undergraduate studies in Ann Arbor. One favorite is a study abroad program, which may include internships in a career field (most unpaid), short term work abroad, volunteer work that provides services to under-privileged people and teaching English.
The University”s study abroad program is highly popular with students. “We are probably the number one (study abroad program) in the entire country,” said Bill Nolting, director of the Office of Overseas Opportunities.
According to a 1999-2000 survey he conducted, the University had 51 students more than any other American university studying abroad through the British Universities North America Club. The University had the highest number of study abroad participants through International Association of Students in Economics and Business and International Co-operative Education, among others. Tied with Harvard, the University also had the highest number of U.S. State Department interns in the country serving overseas.
Nolting said there are several benefits of going abroad. “It”s a different culture that they are in,” he said. “There is a different pace of work, value of work, different ideas about class and gender.”
Nolting said working abroad provides educational benefits different from coursework and that overseas experiences sets applicants apart when applying for graduate school.
Not everyone chooses to take time off.
LSA senior Erica Nuechterlein, chose to not break up her college years. “I want to get done with my coursework as soon as possible,” she said. “I feel that it is just the norm,” she said,. “And if I take a break I probably wouldn”t come back. I”ll get a job and stick with it.”
Walter Stoerkel, a Texas A&M University alum visiting Ann Arbor, spent four and a half years consecutively in school while he was an engineering student in college. “(I did it) so that I can get out in four and a half years. As soon as you get out to the real world you start making money,” he said.