A gap year. Previously a less common option, more associated with students considering their options or re-applying to university.
I chose to become one of the growing number of students embracing a year out of the education system, and embarked on a year of full-time employment with the prospect of summer travelling. Here’s why.
For those lucky enough to have the means to afford it, to take a gap year presents the opportunity to potentially travel the world or volunteer abroad. Alternatively, or in my case, with only the savings from a part-time job whilst studying for A Levels, becoming a global jet-setter is not an option, at least not without some considerable saving.
One definite advantage, if you’re fortunate enough to get a full-time job, in the words of Abba, is ‘Money, Money, Money’. Suddenly those meagre funds you have attempted to save whilst waiting for that dreaded envelope of results can be multiplied.
Less UCAS panic
There’s also the added bonus of receiving an unconditional offer without having to wait on results, and being at the top of the pile when it comes to accommodation choices. There’s no sleepless night refreshing UCAS Track hoping to know your fate, and no Clearing.
Additionally, completing your Student Finance application earlier in the year does increase your chances of actually receiving your loan on time, especially if Student Finance manage to confuse you with another student at a different university, lose your information or spend eight weeks procrastinating as to whether you’ve provided the correct figures.
Many people focus on the negative aspect of a gap year. Unless you have like-minded friends, it’s highly likely that the majority of your friends will head off to universities spread across the country and the only time you’ll see them is via a fragmented Skype conversation, or during the holidays. However, working or travelling can provide you with the opportunity to meet new people and expand your horizons.
You make it
A gap year can mean many things. For me, it means the opportunity to finally travel to Australia over the summer and be less financially-reliant on my loan at university. It has also aided my CV through work and life experiences that I would have otherwise missed if I’d gone directly to university.
A gap year may not be for everyone but it can provide time for those unsure on their next step to consider their options or allow students to experience unique opportunities, with less of a financial burden than after university.
Do you think a gap year is a good idea? Let us know in the comments below.
Photo: frontierofficial / Flickr