BRB – I’m Just Taking a Gap Year.
Are you considering taking a gap year or taking a year out of education? Asking yourself whether you should go on a gap year, can be a hard decision and the choices on what to do during this time can be endless. The one thing you don’t need to worry about is how universities will see your choice, as no university is against gap years, in fact they welcome them!
If you have decided on a course and a university you can do one of these three things:
• Apply during your last year at sixth form or college as planned and ‘defer your entry’, which means your application will remain as it is and your choices will decide on offering you a place the next year.
• Apply this year as planned and once you have received your results and offers from your choices you can ‘defer your offer’, this means that if your university agrees, your offer is secure for the go ahead the following year.
• You can apply the next year once you have received your results and are in a better mind at choosing what courses and universities to attend.
In some cases if your course is very competitive applying after you have received your results or whilst taking a gap year can put you in a better position, with more work experience in your application and actual qualifications instead of predicted grades universities will appreciate the matured and well-rounded version of you, (trust us they will!)
Also, when completing your application make a point of mentioning your gap year in your personal statement. It doesn’t need to be a future dissertation, but a few sentences or a paragraph describing what you intend to do/or have done during this time. Universities like to hear about it, especially if it is experience related to the correct field or what you have learnt throughout the extra year.
It is a good idea when attending an open day to talk to the advisors at the University about what their policy of deferring your place or entry is, or you can contact them during the application process.
If you are thinking about a gap year try to make it count by making it relevant to you course; here are the most popular options previous students have done:
• Voluntary or paid work at a placement connected to your course, e.g. Veterinary, Childcare or Social work.
• Work and activities to enhance and maintain the skills you have learned during A-Level and BTEC courses and will continue to study in these areas in higher education, e.g. working at a summer school when studying Mathematics, Science or Language.
• Saving money for university. It costs to study and using a year to save for your education will produce positive feedback, universities will see that you take your studies seriously and accept social responsibilities that derive from growing up.
• Embarking on new adventures to discover the new you. An exciting opportunity could be to travel, whether it is another country, continent or just attending a photography class at your local learning centre. Gaining new skills or working on a hobby is something that education cannot offer.
Always prepare in advance, understanding gap year agencies is a simple research task and can benfefit you in a huge way!Ask yourself what you would like to do during this time and what you would like to get out of it. Apply for placements and work experience within the deadline and set up your chosen activities efficiently, you do not want to end up missing amazing opportunities. After all it is your journey and you decide which path to take.
The last thing to remember when deciding to take a year out is to make sure it is productive. It will only waste your time if you end up talking on Skype until 3 O’clock in the morning and watching Jeremy Kyle every day. Universities will be intrigued about why you took the gap year and may ask what you got up to. Let this be a chance to show yourself off, tell them the exciting things you did, the inspiring people you met, how this has changed you as a person and how this will aid you in your studies in your course. Remember there are both pros and cons of a gap year, so make sure you prepare what your options are!
So, Maybe, See you next year?!
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