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Should I go straight to uni or take a gap year?

This article appears in:
Future and Focus, From High School to Uni

Mind the gap! Or, don’t.

So you’re in your last year of high school, wondering what you should do with your life. Maybe you know exactly what area of study you want to pursue and you’re keen to get started, or maybe you know what you’d like to do but aren’t in a rush. Perhaps you have no idea yet and you just want to take some time off.

The question is, to gap year or not gap year?

Those in favour of gap year:

I want to travel!

Maybe you’ve travelled with family a little over in school breaks, but you feel you haven’t travelled enough. You want to immerse yourself in different cultures, customs, beliefs and languages to gain a new perspective on life. You know that you may not get time to do this once you’ve settled in to study, so you’re ready to take time now!

I want to learn - just, away from the textbook

You’ve been in a learning facility for 12+ years. You want to continue to learn, just away from the textbook for a while. You want to do this through rich experiences and gaining new perspectives. Combining travel or work experience with your intended area of study might just be the best way to do this. For example, if you’re interested in studying humanities, you can volunteer while travelling – gather some insights that you can relate to when you start studying.

I want to be sure of what I want

Take a step back and consider, are you going to university because it’s just ‘the next thing’ to do? Are you certain of what you want to pursue? You can always change your mind later in life, but undertaking further study is a big investment, both financially and timewise, so you want to make sure that practising in this area is as great as it sounds on paper!

Alternatively, you might know what you want to do at all yet, so some use a gap year to start an internship, volunteer or travel to be exposed to new (and real) experiences in order to unearth passion.


Those in favour of heading straight to uni:

I’ve found my passion and can’t wait to get started

You’ve spent time exploring your options and you know exactly where your passion lies. You know what your skills and interests are and you’re ready to kick-start your education in that field. Why wait? You’ve got a few years of study, the sooner you get started, the sooner you’ll finish and dedicate your skills to practice!

I’m in study mode, why stop?

You’ve been in the momentum of studying for years – you know the exams and assignments well. It can be tricky for some to get back into the groove of studying after a break. Study straight away, stay focused on your long-term goals!


If you want to take a gap year, but want to secure you place at university, apply and then opt for deferred entry – easy! Uni is a great experience, regardless of whether you take the gap year or not – so choose what is right for you!


This article appears in:
Future and Focus, From High School to Uni

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