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Gap year (a year off before going to college): Advantages and disadvantages
Topic Rating: 4 Topic Rating: 4 Topic Rating: 4 Topic Rating: 4 Topic Rating: 4 Topic Rating: 4 (1 votes) 
February 7, 2012
4:48 am
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February 6, 2012
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More general question about the paragraph order in a Pro contra essay:
The opinion you agree with is first or second paragraph?
Andd inside the paragrah start with more important and that go to less important subpoints?

Topic
In some countries, young people are encouraged to work or travel for a year between finishing high school and starting university studies. Discuss the advantages and disadvantages for young people who decide to do this.

Some people recommend students to travel the world for a year before starting university. Others argue a “gap year” is a waste of time and money. I will look at some of the advantages and disadvantages of spending a gap year traveling after school.

Many people think that a gap year can help a young person to gain some life and work experience prior to starting university, as well as develop as a person. For a young person traveling provides an opportunity to broaden their horizon and learn about different countries and cultures. Spending some time in a country while working also makes for a less superficial encounter than only being there as a tourist. Besides, travelers can gain work experience and potentially improve their foreign language skills. This experience can be an important advantage in a more international oriented economy.
Additionally, a “gap year” can aid a person in becoming more independent and grown up, as it will require some organization skills and the ability to manage their finance. It can also be argued that right after school is a good time in life to see the world as most young people don’t have any family and professional obligations yet.

However, there are valid concerns whether the time and money for a gap year are well spend. Probably the most serious problem about a gap year is it’s impact on future academic performance: young people taking a gap year may fall behind their peers or lose the motivation to study altogether. Moreover, school leavers are generally likely to end up with unskilled jobs abroad that barely cover their expenses; especially if they don‘t have advanced knowledge of the foreign language used in a country. Therefore, the work experience gained may not be very relevant to a person's career later and the work might not offer a lot of opportunity to practice a foreign language. From a more practical point of view it is also worth considering that not everyone feels comfortable living in a camper van, tent or hostel for months.

In conclusion, i think time is a valuable resource at any age. There are a number of good alternatives to taking a gap year immediately after school: studying abroad, interning or working in a foreign country once you have completed studies. These alternatives later in a person’s career might be a more focused approach that offers better work opportunies, and ultimately, may proof a better experience than a gap year.

February 23, 2012
1:23 pm
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Hello Katiss -  sorry for the delay in replying to your question.

Yes, I would recommend starting with the main point first, and then less important points (Layout A). But if you are careful and well-organized, the other way  (Layout B) is fine!

Layout A (the most common one -  from big idea to small idea)

  1. The main reason why I like watching movies in the cinema is... 
  2. Another reason why I prefer to go to a cinema... 
  3. Of course, another reason is that watching a movie in the dark is...

Layout B (less common -  from small idea to the biggest idea)

  1. One reason why it's better to watch movies is that...
  2. Another reason why I prefer to go to a cinema is that...
  3. But for me, the main attraction of watching a movie in a cinema is... 

I also suggest that you should give your opinion (in depth) in the third paragraph of a 4-paragraph essay (of course you may  already have given an overall opinion in the intro, and definitely in the conclusion). So these two layouts are both fine:

  • Introduction
  • Why Some People Disagree or What Some People Think
  • Why I Agree
  • Conclusion
  • Introduction
  • Why Some People Agree or What Some People Think
  • Why I Disagree
  • Conclusion

You can see a diagram at http://writefix.com/?page_id=1565

As regards your essay, it's excellent. The only tiny things I can find are some typos or spelling errors: in paragraph 3, line 1, change "spend" to "spent" and in Line 2, change "it's" to "its" (possessive).

 

Great work. 

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