Should I Take a Gap Year?

Wondering, “Should I Take a Gap Year?”. This is a tricky question for most students, so explore the pros and cons of taking a gap year before making any decisions.

Should I Take a Gap Year? – This question tends to leave students who are just finishing up matric, puzzled. The truth is, there is no right or wrong answer. It depends entirely on who you are as a person and what you are hoping to achieve. Think it might work for you? Explore our reasoning below before you make any decisions. 

What is a Gap Year? 

A gap year is defined as a period after high school, but before college enrollment. The aim is to give students a break from academics to discover themselves. It also gives you time to decide what type of education and career you would like to get into.  

What Can I do During a Gap Year? 

Your gap year shouldn’t be compared to someone else’s. It’s all about your preference. If you would like to do a combination of things, you can go ahead and do so. It’s completely up to you. Some common things you can do are listed below: 

  • Travel 
  • Volunteer 
  • Intern
  • Study or Work Abroad

Should I Take a Gap Year? 

Feeling undecided or confused? Before you make any life-changing decisions, make sure you have all the facts first. This will give you the chance to explore different sides so you know exactly what to expect. 

Pros 

Gaps years tend to offer a range of benefits. It gives you the opportunity to rest and recharge while you consider your next move. It’s also a great time to recover from academic burnout. 

  • Boosts Academic Performance – Taking the time to do research can help you make better decisions when it comes to picking a major.
  • Builds Important Skills – The skills you develop during your gap year can be useful down the road. You can learn a new language or gain hands-on experience. 
  • Looks Good on Your CV – A productive gap year can lead to activities that can be added to your CV. Did you volunteer or gain new skills? Add them to your resume. 
  • Broadens Your Horizons – Traveling and living abroad can be a great experience. Embrace the culture, learn the language and see the world from a different view. 

Cons 

As wonderful as a gap year may sound, there are disadvantages that come along with it. It’s important to be made aware of them. 

  • Potential Waste of Time – An unstructured gap year is a recipe for disaster. You could end up wasting valuable time by playing video games or lounging around the house. 
  • Expensive – University can be very expensive, but so can a gap year. This is especially true if you plan on going overseas. 
  • Feeling Isolated or Behind – Watching your friends go off to college and share similar experiences can leave you feeling like you’re missing out.  
  • Transition Back to Normal Could be Hard – Getting back to academic life can be difficult after a year-long break. 
Student walking down a road, wondering, "Should I Take a Gap Year?"

Gap Year Planning Tips 

To enjoy the benefits of a gap year, you need to put a lot of time and effort into planning. Without clear direction, it could end up being a waste of time or a complete disaster. Make sure you plan ahead and prepare for any challenges. 

Figure out What You Want to do 

The most important thing you need to consider is what you would like to accomplish within the year. Do you want to volunteer, travel or earn some money? Once you have a set goal, it will be easier for you to work towards it. 

Decide on a Timeline and Budget 

Setting your goal isn’t where the hard work ends. You also need to consider the time frame and how much money you are willing to spend. Gap years can become quite pricey. This is why it’s important to plan your savings, as well as your itinerary. 

Keep Yourself as Busy as Possible 

Regardless of what you plan on doing, make sure you use your time wisely. You don’t want to feel as if your year wasn’t productive. Be careful to not overwork yourself. Try to find a good balance between work and play. 

Gap Year Completed – What’s Next? 

So you finished your gap year and you’re not sure what your next step is. No need to panic or lose hope. You still have many options available to you. Use what you learnt during your gap year to help you decide. You can: 

  • Get a job 
  • Learn a trade 
  • Further your studies 
  • Start a business 

Fill the Gap! Don’t Leave it Empty! 

If you want to learn new skills or gain a qualification, take a look at our distance learning courses. For more information, simply contact our course experts by: 

Last Updated: November 13, 2020

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ABOUT THE AUTHOR:

Thiana Pretorius
Thiana Pretorius
As an avid reader and writer, Thiana aims to create content that is both interesting and useful. She also has a passion for creative writing. Most of her free time is spent either reading or letting her imagination run wild while crafting her own stories. View my LinkedIn profile

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