A gap year is exactly as it sounds – postponing university or college for a year and spending that time doing something else. Some students simply live at home and work during the year, but others use the time for all kinds of adventures at home and abroad such as teaching, volunteer work, outdoor adventures or eco travel. But, is taking a gap year the right choice for you? Here are some advantages and disadvantages to help you decide what is best for you in terms of postponing university and taking a year off.
Taking a year off may give you a chance to mature before entering university; in secondary school, you probably leaned a fair bit about how to be a good student, but on the other hand, you likely learned very little about life experience. It gives you an opportunity to regroup–secondary school can be a very stressful time for students, and between preparing for university academically and searching for the right post-secondary institution, many students feel pretty beaten up by the time they graduate. Changing course and doing something besides school for a while can be a much-needed break mentally.
It can also give you a chance to figure out what you want. If you are not sure yet what university is exactly right for you or whether you’re intent in going at all, a year off can help you think about and sort things out. Taking a year off can also help if you have money Issues. It’s no secret how expensive funding a university education can be and depending on what you do during your year off, you might be able to save money.
For many students, the biggest disadvantage is losing momentum. It takes you away from the classroom experience, so you might be a bit rusty when you return. You will also have to remember that you will be a year behind your friends and a gap year will put you further back on what can be a long educational process. Some gap year experiences also don’t require money, like working for a year, or are inexpensive like teaching abroad for a year, but others can be quite pricey and can be an added expense to an already costly university education.