Underestimating the value of a gap year could be costly


Should gap years be given more weight in the post classroom decision making process?

A recent workshop survey of a year 12 group, showed that 70% of students would be interested in the options a gap year has to offer. Yet, 90% of the same group had no idea how to get one, or where to look for support for one. With the introduction of the Gatsby Benchmarks for all English schools in 2018, there will be a lot more attention and efforts placed on post school pathways.  We wonder how much of this will feature the option of gap years.

Check out our list of questions with some top tricks below: 

So what is a gap year?

A gap year is pretty much what it says on the tin where you take a gap between stages on your life ladder.

Who can take a gap year?

The most common times in your life are after 6th form or after university but many companies are recognising that many do not get the chance and as a benefit offer “sabbaticals”. With this in mind people can take gap years at any stage in their life.

What can you do during a gap year?

There so many things you can take on during your gap year – whether it be travelling, learning, volunteering, working or taking exams. One thing that should underpin all gap years is purpose. Those who choose to take on a gap year need to be honest with themselves as to why they are taking one. The stresses of exams and decisions weigh on everyone’s mind but this alone is not enough – remember your decisions and choices now should be with the aim to help you stand out in the future.

Things to consider

How will you describe your decision – this isn’t about defending it – it is your choice. This is about articulating your decision and understanding how it fits into your bigger picture. This will change over time so there needn’t be the full answer from the get go, but do think about it.

Gap years do need a plan – sitting on your parents sofa will do you more harm than good. Whilst the thought of having no plans may sound dreamy in the height of exam season this will not be true when you have nothing to do whilst all your friends are out “living their best life” or so there Instagram captions will read.

Research – you have time, anyone who says they are busy to think about a gap year is, quite frankly, lying.  It is so very easy to follow the crowd, and let it be known many people do. It can and often does all fall into place – but if you have time, do some research. 

The closing thought on this topic for now is that gap years are a serious contender for life after the classroom. That means you should give them the same weighting on decision making as the others. Start with a blank piece of paper just start brainstorming, what would you want to do and what would you need to do? You always know where we are if you have any questions! 

Keep your eye out on social media to hear Bec’s story having taken her gap year in 2016! 


Adelle Desouza

I'm the founder here at HireHigher, with the mission to ensure students can make informed choices on their options after education.


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