Once again it's application season, and, once again, it's time to ask yourself that question- to gap year or not to gap year?
If you're not sure that university is right for you, or if you want to take a break before continuing your studies, a gap year might be right for you! If you're thinking of doing a gap year, here's some questions to ask yourself that might help you make your decision.
If I take a gap year, what am I going to do?
A year is a long time to do nothing, so think about how you'd use your time well. Would you like to travel the world? Would you use the time to volunteer for a cause you're passionate about? Would you like to work to save up money for a car or to put into an ISA? Maybe there's something you've always wanted to try, but never had the chance to- now's the time to give it a go!
What's my plan after the year is finished?
The answer to this question might change by the end of the year, but it's worth having an idea in your head to help you make the most of your time. Are you hoping to go into full-time employment, or even start your own business? Would you like to go to university or do an apprenticeship? Would you like to move somewhere new and get a fresh start? It's always important to have a plan, even if it changes later down the line.
How will I fund my year?
Not everyone has access to the Bank of Mum and Dad, and even if you do, your parents might ask you to start paying your own way once you finish school. Regardless of if you're planning to stay at home or travel, you need to work out how you will pay for things during the year. You might get a part time job, or you might travel on a work visa. Opportunities like Camp America offer a job and the option to travel, giving you the best of both worlds. Other countries like Australia offer generous work visas. Even if you don't want to travel abroad, visiting friends and family can get expensive- consider investing in items like the 16-25 Railcard or using cheap options like National Express.
These are just some starters to get you thinking about your options after you leave school. Even if you don't go to uni after a gap year, it can still be very helpful to have a year out to decide what you'd like to do.
Are you thinking of doing a gap year? Maybe you've done one already!
Let us know your thoughts in the comments below.