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Reasons You Should Take a Gap Year Before Going to University

By Ella Patenall

Updated April 21, 2021 Updated April 21, 2021

By Shannon Clark

As your time at school or college comes to an end, one of the biggest decisions to make is whether you should head straight to university or take a gap year first. While there’s always the chance of going traveling after finishing your degree, there are several reasons why going before your studies start might actually be better.

Pre-uni gap years are so common now that universities are used to seeing them on student applications, so you don’t have to worry about it being viewed negatively. Deferring your entry to university also allows you to take a well-earned break and gain some invaluable life experience at the same time.

Here are our six reasons why taking a short break from education can be beneficial.

You’ll have more time to figure out what you want to do

Deciding to take a gap year is a big decision but choosing to go to university is an even bigger one, especially if you’re in a country where tuition is expensive. One of the biggest perks of taking a gap year before going to university is you’ll have months to decide exactly what it is you want to do next, rather than having to rush to a decision.

It will push you to be more independent

There’s no doubt that going to university forces you to grow up in some ways, especially if you move away from home, but taking a gap year will often push you to make decisions on your own in an entirely new way. Away from the safety net of home, you’ll find yourself having to make choices for yourself and get used to being independent.

You’ll have the opportunity to earn money

With tuition costs rising in many universities, it makes sense that so many students are now taking a year out before uni to work and save money. In many ways, it’s preferable to working alongside your studies, as that can add a lot of stress to your schedule.

If you’re not keen on the idea of working alongside your studies, then a gap year can provide you with the perfect opportunity to save beforehand. Plus, if you get a job that’s loosely related to the course you want to study then you'll add even more value to your gap year.

You’ll have the chance to gain volunteer experience

Volunteering can provide you with heaps of invaluable experience that won’t go unnoticed by future employers.

Combining your plans to travel abroad with a volunteer program can make the year quite costly but it can also be a life-changing experience. On the other hand, if you’re hoping to keep your costs to a minimum then there’ll be plenty of volunteer programs to consider in your home country too, all of which still offer a huge amount of value.

You’ll have the chance to live a little

When are you ever going to be this age again, with little to no responsibilities, and very few bills to pay? The answer is never. Even at university, you’ll find yourself lumbered with bills and responsibilities, so now is the only time you’ll ever be this free to do whatever you want.

Taking a gap year gives you a chance to embrace your freedom and broaden your horizons, without a huge hunk of student debt hanging over your head.

You’ll arrive at uni feeling refreshed

Chances are, you’ve been in education non-stop since a very young age, so it’s no surprise if you’re beginning to feel a bit fed up. Taking a year out can allow you to step back and live a little, outside of the education system. The break often does students good and most find that they return a year on feeling refreshed and motivated to get going again.

Shannon Clark writes for Inspiring Interns, which specializes in sourcing candidates for internships. To browse our graduate jobs London listings, visit our website.

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This article was originally published in April 2018 . It was last updated in April 2021

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