Elise Cagnard, Opinions Contributor

Over the last few years, taking a gap year has become much more common. Whether it is because of the pandemic or to take time for mental health, many students have decided to put a pause on their education.

While I understand the motivation behind this action, I believe taking a gap year is a mistake.

When a student stops their education for any reason, it can become incredibly easy to lose academic momentum. Approximately 10 percent of students who take a gap year do not return to school.

This might seem like a relatively low statistic. But out of those 90 percent who do return, these students are half as likely to  graduate with a bachelor’s degree than their peers who did not take a gap year.

One explanation for this is that students can lose the routines they have followed for the past 13 years. After spending practically our whole lives in school, there are many conscious and unconscious habits we have built into our brains that allow us to succeed.

After taking a full year off, these habits might get lost lost. This means returning to writing papers and taking tests might be more of a shock than the student expected.

On a monetary note, when a student takes a gap year, it often affects their financial aid standing. A student who takes a gap year is 5 percent less likely to receive any kind of financial aid.

Past this, a student who has taken a gap year and returns to school is estimated to receive an average of $2,500 fewer financial aid dollars than other students, according to Saving For College.

Overall, there are many factors to consider about taking a gap year. It is important to make sure it is not a decision you will regret.

Columns reflect the opinions of the authors and are not necessarily those of the Editorial Board, The Daily Iowan, or other organizations in which the author may be involved.