By Steve Kelman

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The Lectern: Post-high school 'gap year' and public service

The New York Times had an interesting article earlier this week that Princeton is establishing a program to offer admitted high school seniors a year of Princeton-organized public service in a country outside the United States. Princeton would not charge students to participate in such programs, and needier students would be offered financial aid for participation.


This program is designed to build on the "gap year" that more high school students are taking before going to college. There are some public service programs, such as City Year, that offer such public service opportunities domestically. And various for-profit organizations organize gap-year programs, including public service abroad, for which they charge money.


This is a good idea, even though the idea comes from one of Harvard's biggest rivals (just kidding!). Princeton's program contributes to making it more and more a matter of course for young people to engage in public service of some sort as part of their maturation. That is great, in my view. The idea of service to others is something that should be part of what every young person in our country learns.


I'd like to hear from readers, particularly parents of teenage kids. Share some thoughts about how to encourage public service among young people. Post a comment on this blog (registration required) or send your comment to [email protected].

Posted by Steve Kelman on Feb 22, 2008 at 12:09 PM


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