The Student Room Group

Is there any point in doing a gap year?

I got rejected by Cambridge earlier this year and my sixth form coordinator and parents suggested doing a gap year. I have a chronic illness/chronic illnesses that isn't/aren't completely diagnosed yet (they recently suggested a possible diagnosis of inflammatory spondylarthritis) so I guess taking a gap year to get my diagnoses in order some more, try to see if I can get my symptoms under control without the stress of school, and just to have time off, would be beneficial. My health is unstable right now and I don't have much independence or a proper treatment plan, so jumping into uni right after a-levels might not be the best idea. But is there really any point in reapplying? I still don't have feedback from the college I applied to, but even with the feedback what would I even improve on if I wasn't good enough the first time? I doubt my nerves were the only reason I didn't pass for an offer, so I don't have much hope that the experience of having been to an interview will help me much.

I just don't know if I'm ready to accept that I might just not be good enough or suited to Cambridge, even though I was so sure that their learning environment is something that would allow me to thrive. It's something I was so desperate and eager to experience - and I know it's not a supreme, elite, academic utopia of the utmost perfection, but it's as close as I'll get. It's still something that I really wanted and felt like would be great for me, even though I'm sure most people who are rejected say the same thing.

But it also might be that I have an older sibling at Oxford, and a younger one applying for 2025 entry, who I am certain will get in (as certain as you can be for something like uni entry). It might just be the embarrassment of being the only sibling to not get in that's making me consider re-applying, because I don't know how I'd even get over that. Not getting in after my older sibling is already tearing me apart. I haven't even spoken to them since getting rejected, and it's in no way out of anger but pure embarrassment, like they're going to look at me with pity or something. As students, the 3 of us are really similar, so I don't know how I could handle knowing they were successful, and I wasn't, because despite all my doubts I know that my academic ability isn't any lesser than theirs, or at least not significantly so. It feels like I don't have an 'excuse' for not getting in if the two of them can do it. I genuinely feel so embarrassed and ashamed and disappointed in myself, like this is eating me alive, even though it has literally been over 2 months now. Reapplying the same year as my younger sibling and watching them get accepted whilst I'm rejected is a probability that has me tearing at my hair, and I'm tired of worrying that I'm potentially dragging my siblings down with guilt they shouldn't have to feel.
(edited 1 month ago)
Reply 1
Original post by TeaOnRice
I got rejected by Cambridge earlier this year and my sixth form coordinator and parents suggested doing a gap year. I have a chronic illness/chronic illnesses that isn't/aren't completely diagnosed yet (they recently suggested a possible diagnosis of inflammatory spondylarthritis) so I guess taking a gap year to get my diagnoses in order some more, try to see if I can get my symptoms under control without the stress of school, and just to have time off, would be beneficial. My health is unstable right now and I don't have much independence or a proper treatment plan, so jumping into uni right after a-levels might not be the best idea. But is there really any point in reapplying? I still don't have feedback from the college I applied to, but even with the feedback what would I even improve on if I wasn't good enough the first time? I doubt my nerves were the only reason I didn't pass for an offer, so I don't have much hope that the experience of having been to an interview will help me much.
I just don't know if I'm ready to accept that I might just not be good enough or suited to Cambridge, even though I was so sure that their learning environment is something that would allow me to thrive. It's something I was so desperate and eager to experience - and I know it's not a supreme, elite, academic utopia of the utmost perfection, but it's as close as I'll get. It's still something that I really wanted and felt like would be great for me, even though I'm sure most people who are rejected say the same thing.
But it also might be that I have an older sibling at Oxford, and a younger one applying for 2025 entry, who I am certain will get in (as certain as you can be for something like uni entry). It might just be the embarrassment of being the only sibling to not get in that's making me consider re-applying, because I don't know how I'd even get over that. Not getting in after my older sibling is already tearing me apart. I haven't even spoken to them since getting rejected, and it's in no way out of anger but pure embarrassment, like they're going to look at me with pity or something. As students, the 3 of us are really similar, so I don't know how I could handle knowing they were successful, and I wasn't, because despite all my doubts I know that my academic ability isn't any lesser than theirs, or at least not significantly so. It feels like I don't have an 'excuse' for not getting in if the two of them can do it. I genuinely feel so embarrassed and ashamed and disappointed in myself, like this is eating me alive, even though it has literally been over 2 months now. Reapplying the same year as my younger sibling and watching them get accepted whilst I'm rejected is a probability that has me tearing at my hair, and I'm tired of worrying that I'm potentially dragging my siblings down with guilt they shouldn't have to feel.

Hi both of my brothers had applied for uni this year while one got into oxford and the other into aston. My brother was 4 years late to applying in 2023 for an illness also. Whereas my other brother was just applying for the first time. I just wanted to let you know that its never too late. Sometimes when you wait a better opportunity comes. Also unis have reasons for not accepting you that might not make sense to you. Remember everything happens for a reason.
I'd advise for you to wait until 2025, gap years are common and trust me your reason for not going this year is completely valid!
Original post by TeaOnRice
I got rejected by Cambridge earlier this year and my sixth form coordinator and parents suggested doing a gap year. I have a chronic illness/chronic illnesses that isn't/aren't completely diagnosed yet (they recently suggested a possible diagnosis of inflammatory spondylarthritis) so I guess taking a gap year to get my diagnoses in order some more, try to see if I can get my symptoms under control without the stress of school, and just to have time off, would be beneficial. My health is unstable right now and I don't have much independence or a proper treatment plan, so jumping into uni right after a-levels might not be the best idea. But is there really any point in reapplying? I still don't have feedback from the college I applied to, but even with the feedback what would I even improve on if I wasn't good enough the first time? I doubt my nerves were the only reason I didn't pass for an offer, so I don't have much hope that the experience of having been to an interview will help me much.
I just don't know if I'm ready to accept that I might just not be good enough or suited to Cambridge, even though I was so sure that their learning environment is something that would allow me to thrive. It's something I was so desperate and eager to experience - and I know it's not a supreme, elite, academic utopia of the utmost perfection, but it's as close as I'll get. It's still something that I really wanted and felt like would be great for me, even though I'm sure most people who are rejected say the same thing.
But it also might be that I have an older sibling at Oxford, and a younger one applying for 2025 entry, who I am certain will get in (as certain as you can be for something like uni entry). It might just be the embarrassment of being the only sibling to not get in that's making me consider re-applying, because I don't know how I'd even get over that. Not getting in after my older sibling is already tearing me apart. I haven't even spoken to them since getting rejected, and it's in no way out of anger but pure embarrassment, like they're going to look at me with pity or something. As students, the 3 of us are really similar, so I don't know how I could handle knowing they were successful, and I wasn't, because despite all my doubts I know that my academic ability isn't any lesser than theirs, or at least not significantly so. It feels like I don't have an 'excuse' for not getting in if the two of them can do it. I genuinely feel so embarrassed and ashamed and disappointed in myself, like this is eating me alive, even though it has literally been over 2 months now. Reapplying the same year as my younger sibling and watching them get accepted whilst I'm rejected is a probability that has me tearing at my hair, and I'm tired of worrying that I'm potentially dragging my siblings down with guilt they shouldn't have to feel.
It sounds like you're grappling with a lot of complex emotions and uncertainties right now. First and foremost, it's crucial to prioritize your health and well-being. Taking a gap year to focus on getting your health under control and obtaining a proper diagnosis sounds like a sensible decision given your current circumstances.
As for reapplying to Cambridge or any other university, it's important to remember that rejection doesn't define your worth or capabilities. It's natural to feel disappointed, but it's also an opportunity for growth and reflection. If you do decide to reapply, use this time to strengthen your application based on any feedback you will receive and your own self-assessment.Comparing yourself to your siblings and feeling embarrassed about not getting into Cambridge is understandable, but it's essential to recognise that everyone's path is unique. Your worth is not determined by where you study or whether you follow the same path as your siblings. Focus on your own journey and what's best for you.
Remember, your value as a person extends far beyond academic achievements or university admissions. Take the time you need to prioritize your health and well-being, and trust that the right path will unfold for you in due time.
(edited 1 month ago)
Reply 3
Your goal in life can’t be to go to Cambridge. That’s extremely limiting, especially as most people DON’T get in. There are many other universities. As with chronic illnesses you’ll have episodes where it’s good and times when it flares up, so a year out isn’t a miracle cure. I think you need to reevaluate your own goals and perceptions otherwise you’ll continue to go through life negatively.

Quick Reply

Latest