Coronavirus: How to Take a Gap Year | Top Universities

Coronavirus: How to Take a Gap Year

By Chloe Lane

Updated March 17, 2021 Updated March 17, 2021

The coronavirus has brought with it a lot of uncertainty for prospective students. Currently it is unknown whether most universities will open as normal in September, or whether they’ll postpone and teach online.

The University of Cambridge have already revealed that they won’t be holding in-person lectures until Summer 2021 and Manchester University have said that their Autumn term will be held online this year.

Deferring your entry

With this information in mind, you may decide that you should take a gap year and wait until next year to start university, so that you will be able to attend lectures in person and get the full campus experience.

We have guides on how to defer your university offer, whether you live in the UK, US, Canada or Australia.

What to do in your gap year?

Gap year research

So you’ve decided to take a gap year. In normal circumstances, gap years would involve travelling the world, volunteering abroad, or gaining work experience.

But what is there to do during your gap year if you’re unable to leave your house? Read on as we explore just a few of the many exciting (socially distanced) things you can do if you decide to take a gap year in 2020-21.

Complete a virtual internship

Virtual internships are growing in popularity, especially since quarantine, which left many of us unable to leave our homes. Virtual internships are a great way to enhance your resume and gain connections, all while working from home. 

There are plenty of roles for which you can virtually intern, across many different industries. These include software engineering, fashion, sports management, business administration and many more. 

Read our handy guide on everything you need to know about virtual internships.

Try an online course

One good thing to come out of the Coronavirus pandemic is the rise in online courses in some of the world’s top universities. Taught by some of the world’s best minds, these courses are mainly free to attend. They also give you something to talk about in your personal statement and university interview. 

Online courses are great preparation for starting your university course. Alternatively, they are a way to expand your knowledge on a particular subject or hobby. 

Here are nine top universities offering free online courses.

Learn a new language

Perhaps you’ve always fancied learning a new language. Now is a perfect time to start! Learning a language is a great way to boost your CV and fully immerse yourself in a new culture.

The best way to stay motivated is to pick a language that is relevant to you – perhaps you have relatives or friends that live abroad or perhaps you holiday in a specific country quite often. Whatever the reason, you’re more likely to stick at learning a language if you will use it in the future.

There are plenty of ways to learn a language from home. This might be through Duolingo, which offers the opportunity to learn 36 different languages – for free. Alternatively, you can attend online classes, which are taught via Zoom, with websites like Italki. Many universities have started offering online language courses.

Start your own blog to gain writing experience online

Improving your writing skills will not only help you at university (especially if you’ll be studying an essay-based subject such as English literature or history) but will also develop your communication skills. Written communication skills are often one of the key things employers look for in graduates.

For an online platform to showcase your writing, you may want to start a blog. A blog will give you an online platform to showcase your writing. You can create a free blog on websites such as WordPress or Blogger, which both have a wide range of different layouts for you to use. 

Give your blog a specific theme and know who your target readers are. Try to use SEO whenever possible. These things will help drive visitors to your site.

Find out more about starting a blog here.

Work locally to save money

Working in your local supermarket, or restaurant (when they re-open) is a great way to help out during the Covid-19 pandemic, as well as a way save some money for university.

Working in a retail role can teach you customer service skills, time management, interpersonal skills and problem-solving skills – all of which are highly sought after by graduate employers.

Volunteer for a political candidate

If you live in the US, you can volunteer to help a political candidate in the run up to the 2020 presidential election, which will be held on November 3rd. Get involved with your party and candidate on a local level. Go on their website and take a look at the volunteering opportunities available.

What will you be doing? It depends on what you want to help with. You can help people get registered to vote, become a poll worker or manage the candidate’s social media channels. 

Volunteering for a political candidate will give you a deeper understanding of politics and prove that you can work well in a team whilst working towards a project.

Volunteer to help out during the Covid-19 pandemic

Volunteering to help during the coronavirus pandemic is one of the most useful ways you could possibly spend your time during your gap year.

Whether this is helping with health care, shopping for vulnerable people in your neighborhood or offering telephone support for elderly people, there are plenty of things you can do to help out.

Find out how UK students can help out during the coronavirus.

This article was originally published in May 2020 . It was last updated in March 2021

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