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NBC News Features Dragons Alumni!

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We love to see Dragons Alumni featured in the press.

Pictured: Shaina Watrous, Bridge Year India Program.

Here’s an excerpt from the piece titled: “Programs Aim to Make a Gap Year Possible, Regardless of Financial Background” by AMY DILUNA

“I was so tired after high school. It was a lot,” said Matthew Oakland, 20, a second-year at Princeton from Oak Grove, California, who took part in the Ivy League school’s famed Bridge Year program.

“Just the whole end part of senior year, testing, and getting things squared away and applying. And suddenly you’re just doing one thing after the other and I just wanted to slow it all down.”

Princeton, like Harvard, encourages its incoming first-years to delay the start of college. Programs such as Bridge Year offer incentives to make it as easy as possible, regardless of financial background.

It may seem counter-intuitive, but statistics suggest that a break between high school and college produces students who are more dedicated to their courses and more apt to get involved in service work.

RELATED: Taking A ‘Gap Year’ Changed My Life, Tom Costello says

And no, this isn’t the first step towards skipping college entirely. Nine out of 10 students return to a four-year college within one year of taking their gap year, said Knight. It may in fact be the year your kid needs to gain the maturity necessary to make the most of his or her college experience.

Shaina Watrous, 26, is a New York University law student who graduated from Princeton in 2014. She was part of the school’s inaugural Bridge Year, in India, where she worked with an organization that helped combat human trafficking.

The experience changed the focus of her career.

“I hadn’t been as interested in service before I went on Bridge Year, and then I realized it was this essential part of my life,” she said. “It kept me motivated to do my work in India, and my academic work in Princeton.” She signed up to tutor in area prisons, as part of the Petey Greene Program, majored in public policy, and will pursue issues of justice and incarceration as a lawyer when she graduates.

Read the full article “Programs Aim to Make a Gap Year Possible, Regardless of Financial Background,” and congratulations Shaina Watrous and Matthew Oakland!



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