The Pros and Cons of a Gap Year
Lots of students have to weigh up the potentially life-changing decision between taking a gap year and going straight on to university.
Gap year pros and cons, there are plenty of them, do you go and soak up the culture of another country or do you go to university and not fall a year behind? Well, check below and see if we’ve helped sway your opinion with our own pros and cons of a gap year.
New life experiences: The experiences that you gain while on your gap year can stand you in good stead for when you eventually start university.
You can learn more about yourself and more about the subject that you’re looking to study. Students studying subjects like Geography or History will have an instant advantage, as a gap year gives you the chance to learn more about different cultures and their ways.
Longest holiday ever: Let’s face it, if you go abroad or if you stay local, it’s still the longest holiday that you’ll be able to take.
This is a year out, your longest holiday after this will probably be, at best, two weeks give or take. You’ll be at university, but when that’s over and done with you’ll be going into work and what with holiday allowances and various work-related deadlines, any longer than two weeks out would be wishful thinking, so enjoy it while you can!
Also, why miss a chance to top up your tan if you get the chance? There are certainly worse ways to spend a holiday.
Learn new skills: You can learn new skills that will help you in later life. These skills could be things that you learn in the world of work, or they might even be something that you learn from other cultures, it’s best to be a sponge when on your gap year and soak up as much experience and as much information as you can so that when you start work or when it comes to writing dissertations at university you’ll have all the information and experiences that you could need.
You'll also learn a lot of life skills. Whether you're staying in a hostel abroad or trying to earn some money while still in the UK, you'll learn how to take care of yourself, manage your finances and you'll also have a good idea of what your time at university will be like.
Work experience: Apart from looking very good on your student CV, it’s also invaluable to you if you’re starting work.
Not only will it show admissions officers and potential employers that you’ve worked before, but it also helps you with your actual job because you now understand how things work, whether it be things in the office, or actually having life experiences with which to draw from. Who knows, you might even find a new career path too!
Languages: If you’re going abroad, it’s probably best to learn another language. This is particularly useful especially when you consider the fact that most of the world speaks English, but don’t be naive enough to think that this doesn’t mean you don’t need to learn a new language.
Especially when you’re going abroad, you need to do other countries the courtesy of at least attempting to learn a new language. It also means you can potentially have new job offers from abroad too.
Cost: The cost of going abroad for a gap year can be astronomical and can place students into even further debt before they’ve even started.
The idea of working can help this, but if you’re going abroad, you have to apply for visas and all sorts which certainly cause more problems than they solve, especially when you have to get a bank account in the country you’re going to and all the rigmarole that comes with it.
Don’t worry too much though, you will always be able to find some kind of financial aid to help you along the way.
Year behind: You’re now a year behind your friends. Your friends are going to university, and you’re still waiting a year before you can go.
There is nothing worse than seeing your friends go to the next step in their lives and you’re still yet to join them in it, it’s worth getting used to seeing your friends at university while you have to wait a year.
Planning: You’ll have to plan extensively for your gap year. It doesn’t matter where you’re going, you’ll have to plan, and you’ll have to make sure that it is achievable within the year, because let’s not forget, you have university the year after!
Although a year is a long time, it will go very quickly, so do the essentials, don’t faff around with stuff you don’t need to be doing.
If you go through a gap year agency, then your planning becomes extremely easy work. A gap year agency will help you plan your journey, your hotels and can help you with transport and flights to and from the UK.
Year late to work: Of course, many people take a year out to work, but many going abroad are actually delaying the time that it will take them to get into work, and the older you are, the harder it becomes to get a job.
You have to really think if it is worth delaying the opportunity to begin work, especially if you don’t know what you’re going to be doing during said gap year.
Many companies are happier if students have had a gap year, however. A year spent in the real world will likely give you a small advantage over other candidates, purely because you will already have an understanding of the corporate structure and other useful elements of the working world.
Loss of momentum: A lot of students that have taken gap years complain about a loss of momentum in various skills. Such as writing essays; you’ve come from many years of not only writing and researching various subjects that you end up essentially forgetting everything that you’ve been doing and the year they started university they were too rusty to make good on their first year.
This is a problem for a number of students, and we recommend that if you are particularly insistent on taking a year out, then we recommend writing a diary or an essay of your journeys, just so you don’t lose your touch too much.