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. There are pros and cons to each side, do you go and soak up the culture of another country or do you go onto university and not fall a year behind? Well check below and see if we’ve helped sway your opinion.
New Life Experiences: The experiences that you gain whilst 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. Maybe if you’re looking for something like History, you can learn more and more about different cultures and civilizations and brush up ready for when you start university, you can be ahead and save yourself a headache of learning and late night library sessions too!
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. You’ll be at university, but when that’s over and done with you’ll be going into to 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!
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 possibly need.
Work Experience: Apart from looking very good on your 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, 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.
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.
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 onto 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 that 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.
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.
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.
So there you have it! University Compare’s pros and cons of a gap year. The thing that you have to remember is that this is your decision and your decision alone. You have to weigh up the pros and cons of both and see what you want to do, if you need any help, speak to friends, family, course advisors, teachers, anyone and good luck for the future!