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“A Gap Year Need Not Break the Bank”

Sofi Hernandez-Crade in the clay studio, fall concentration 2008.

Family Finance: A Gap Year Need Not Break the Bank, an Associated Press article that’s been picked up by several online news magazines, features Sofi Hernandez-Crade, a student in Brian Ransom’s Throwing Strange & Unusual Forms class in fall concentration 2008, talking about her time at Penland during a “gap year” between high school and college. With a  work-study scholarship and savings from a summer job, Sofi made a Penland workshop part of her year of experiential learning while she took the time to figure out what would come next.

Sofi Hernandez-Crade applied to a few expensive art schools during her senior year in high school in Woodland Park, Colo., but she knew long before her 2008 graduation she wanted a year off first. Her mother, Mary Crade, supported the idea, having taken some time before completing her own undergraduate degree: “She just didn’t seem ready for college.”
Hernandez-Crade was drawn to programs offering experiences like painting murals in South America, but the price tags were prohibitive. Such programs, often run by nonprofit organizations, typically do not pay or cover living expenses. “It was really sobering to realize that,” she said.
After saving money from working as a waitress, she enrolled in an eight-week program at Penland School of Crafts in North Carolina’s Blue Ridge Mountains, where she studied sculpture….

“Penland was eye-opening,” she said. “It was extremely inspiring, and a wonderful experience being in a community of artists…”

Click here to read the full article.

Note: The article refers to a Penland concentration costing about $7,500, however, Sofi attended with a work-study scholarship (including room and board), which would have put her tuition cost at around $2,900.