Is college or university the immediate next step after high school? For some students, it is, but for many, taking time off to focus on other areas of life is a better option. This is a gap year, and it can be a productive choice, resulting in several career-boosting opportunities. If you are not sure how to spend your first year after high school and you are considering a gap year, then continue reading to find out how you can get the most out of this time!
A gap year is when a student takes a year off, usually between high school graduation and tertiary education. This year is usually aimed at providing a break from academics, creating opportunities to discover yourself and consider what type of education and career you want to pursue.
According to this survey, there are two common reasons that students opted to take a gap year: to recover from academic burnout and to discover more about themselves.
If you are considering a gap year, you may be wondering how to make this year productive. There are many ways to spend a gap year, including:
✅ Pro: You can resume your academics feeling refreshed and recharged.
❌ Con: A gap year can become a distraction from your longer-term plans.
✅ Pro: If you spend your gap year productively, it can be a valuable addition to your CV.
❌ Con: If your gap year is unstructured, it might not add much to your future as it may come across as a year of not doing anything significant.
✅ Pro: You could spend the year earning and saving money towards tertiary education and other future plans.
❌ Con: When unplanned, a gap year can be expensive and you may be in a worse financial position.
✅ Pro: A gap year provides an opportunity to gain valuable work experience in your chosen field.
❌ Con: You may lose momentum and with it, the excitement to study and pursue educational opportunities.
✅ Pro: You can gain new life skills, such as how to budget, manage your time, cook, look after your home and navigate a new community.
❌ Con: The transition back to studying can be more difficult if you let your study habits and learning abilities slide.
✅ Pro: A gap year is a great opportunity to increase your confidence and independence.
❌ Con: It can be hard to justify a gap year unless you have a detailed plan.
Your gap year could be a fruitful opportunity or a wasted year. What sets those two experiences apart is how you plan to spend your gap year. Here’s how to get the most out of the year:
With all of this in mind, should you take a gap year? The answer is highly personal and comes down to you! A gap year is a valid option and can provide several opportunities to boost your career goals.
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