Dear Straight Talk: I'm slated to head off to college in August, but I want to take a gap year in South America first. My parents agree in principle, but will freak out if I don’t go to college right away. They worry that I’ll never go to college. I DEFINITELY will go to college after this. How can I make my parents agreeable? — Jeff, Perrysburg, Ohio
Jessie, 20, Eugene, Oregon: These days, many upper-division colleges actually encourage a gap year or a year studying abroad. It gives you real-world experience and looks good to future employers. I wish I had taken one.
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