The Student Room Group

Take a second gap year or go to university?

So I'm in a tough situation. I decided that I wanted to do a degree apprenticeship but only applied to 2 . The reason being I didn't know what sector I wanted until quite late which was past the deadline for many companies. Unfortunately I didn't secure them I failed one after the assessment centre.

I have applied to university and have a place for September but in all honesty I don't feel passionate about any of the courses on offer and taking a loan out on something I'm not exactly 100 on is concerning me. Iv already taken one gap year to resit two of my A levels and a part of me wants to take another and try harder with apprenticeship applications and use this summer to improve my application. But on the other hand taking another Gap year sounds bad and I don't think my family are keen on it . Advice would be really appreciated!

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Reply 1
If you are not totally certain this is what you want, then don't do it.
Ask to defer your Uni offer to 2025 start - just email the Uni. This gives you more time to think about what you really want to do, and why. It doesn't matter if it takes you another year. Once you are at Uni no-one actually cares how old you are or how many gap years you have had.
Original post by justastudent05
So I'm in a tough situation. I decided that I wanted to do a degree apprenticeship but only applied to 2 . The reason being I didn't know what sector I wanted until quite late which was past the deadline for many companies. Unfortunately I didn't secure them I failed one after the assessment centre.
I have applied to university and have a place for September but in all honesty I don't feel passionate about any of the courses on offer and taking a loan out on something I'm not exactly 100 on is concerning me. Iv already taken one gap year to resit two of my A levels and a part of me wants to take another and try harder with apprenticeship applications and use this summer to improve my application. But on the other hand taking another Gap year sounds bad and I don't think my family are keen on it . Advice would be really appreciated!

If you are not interested in your degree and simply interested in enrolling purely to get on with the next step because everyone you went to school with has, then i think this is a bad manoeuvre.

You will be working till you’re 70yo probably. Spending an extra year to understand where your interests lie and you are pursuing a qualification (degree or degree apprenticeship) is worthwhile.

Taking a year out and using the time to get some experience, do some volunteering and maybe go travelling in the spring or summer (or whatever you want) can be a very rewarding worthwhile use for a year.

What I would say is if you take another year out don’t waste it: so have a plan:

have a list of degree apprenticeships and apply early, put lots of effort into the preparation for each application

Simultaneously have some backup plans if route A doesn’t happen what is plan B,C,D

If you are not interested in your degree and simply interested in enrolling purely to get on with the next step because everyone you went to school with has, then i think this is a bad manoeuvre.
You will be working till you’re 70yo probably. Spending an extra year to understand where your interests lie and you are pursuing a qualification (degree or degree apprenticeship) is worthwhile.
Taking a year out and using the time to get some experience, do some volunteering and maybe go travelling in the spring or summer (or whatever you want) can be a very rewarding worthwhile use for a year.
What I would say is if you take another year out don’t waste it: so have a plan:

have a list of degree apprenticeships and apply early, put lots of effort into the preparation for each application

Simultaneously have some backup plans if route A doesn’t happen what is plan B,C,D


Thanks for your response.

My problem is kind of that I don't really think university is for me but iv already taken one gap year to resit my a levels . My family think I should start university and apply to apprenticeships and drop out of I secure one. On one hand I don't want to go university but on the other hand I feel like I need to move on and progress with life which is also what the people around me are making me feel about the situation
Do you have a different sector in mind for apprenticeship vs uni? If you are unsure ab the uni side, it would not be a good idea to start it. You'll just be regretting the idea of being in an apprenticeship you prefer. Also if you took an extra gap yr, you'd technically still be ahead others by working + studying.
Original post by pepperstalk
Do you have a different sector in mind for apprenticeship vs uni? If you are unsure ab the uni side, it would not be a good idea to start it. You'll just be regretting the idea of being in an apprenticeship you prefer. Also if you took an extra gap yr, you'd technically still be ahead others by working + studying.

So I want to do a degree apprenticeship in project management. The problem was I didn't know this was what I wanted to do until it was pretty late with companies deadlines for apprenticeships having closed by the time I knew what I wanted. In all honesty I don't think university is for me I really want to work as enjoy practical tasks and I don't think the uni lifestyle is for me. I do feel pressure from family to start uni especially with some family saying how iv already taken one gap year to redo my a levels
Original post by justastudent05
Thanks for your response.
My problem is kind of that I don't really think university is for me but iv already taken one gap year to resit my a levels . My family think I should start university and apply to apprenticeships and drop out of I secure one. On one hand I don't want to go university but on the other hand I feel like I need to move on and progress with life which is also what the people around me are making me feel about the situation

Im going to recommend you do a couple simple things:

make a mind map, around what things interest you and what types of activities you enjoy, as well as your core values

Make a list of careers you would want to pursue, and how to get into them

Make a flow chart of how to get into the main entry level opportunities (which may well involve a degree apprenticeship)

Then make a list of activities you can do during your second gap year that would be beneficial towards your flow chart and you as a person (stuff like get a job, work with a charity, save up and visit somewhere culturally interesting, run a half marathon…)

Why do this:
1) it will help you understand what you want
2) it gives you some understanding of how your going to use your time (even if after two gap years you end up deciding a conventional university degree is the right option, you won’t regret the second year out if you’ve done worthwhile things and you are pursuing something you are passionate about and have a plan going because you don’t have a plan will probably be just pushing the problem down the road when you are faced with not knowing what you want, university is a great option if you have a plan and are going to use the resources & opportunities, but it is a waste if you are going because you dont know what to do).
Im going to recommend you do a couple simple things:

make a mind map, around what things interest you and what types of activities you enjoy, as well as your core values

Make a list of careers you would want to pursue, and how to get into them

Make a flow chart of how to get into the main entry level opportunities (which may well involve a degree apprenticeship)

Then make a list of activities you can do during your second gap year that would be beneficial towards your flow chart and you as a person (stuff like get a job, work with a charity, save up and visit somewhere culturally interesting, run a half marathon…)
Why do this:
1) it will help you understand what you want
2) it gives you some understanding of how your going to use your time (even if after two gap years you end up deciding a conventional university degree is the right option, you won’t regret the second year out if you’ve done worthwhile things and you are pursuing something you are passionate about and have a plan going because you don’t have a plan will probably be just pushing the problem down the road when you are faced with not knowing what you want, university is a great option if you have a plan and are going to use the resources & opportunities, but it is a waste if you are going because you dont know what to do).

My family think I should start university this year and apply to apprenticeships and drop out if I get one . They really want me to start uni this year because I have already had one gap year. I personally don't want to go to university I don't think the lifestyle of it is for me especially as I prefer hands on work plus the "uni experience" doesn't appeal to me but can't help but feel pressure from people around me .
Original post by justastudent05
My family think I should start university this year and apply to apprenticeships and drop out if I get one . They really want me to start uni this year because I have already had one gap year. I personally don't want to go to university I don't think the lifestyle of it is for me especially as I prefer hands on work plus the "uni experience" doesn't appeal to me but can't help but feel pressure from people around me .

I’ve already provided what i think is the best advice so not much more i can say.

Ultimately this your life and you will have to live with the consequences of your decision.
Original post by justastudent05
So I want to do a degree apprenticeship in project management. The problem was I didn't know this was what I wanted to do until it was pretty late with companies deadlines for apprenticeships having closed by the time I knew what I wanted. In all honesty I don't think university is for me I really want to work as enjoy practical tasks and I don't think the uni lifestyle is for me. I do feel pressure from family to start uni especially with some family saying how iv already taken one gap year to redo my a levels


Sounds like you are only considering uni bc of your parents. You yourself know you'd rather do the apprenticeship. For something like project management, you should absolutely do a degree apprenticeship because so companies provide it so youre likely to get one next yr if you apply for more. I'd much rather take an extra yr out knowing I'll have a career at the end of it.
I’ve already provided what i think is the best advice so not much more i can say.
Ultimately this your life and you will have to live with the consequences of your decision.

Thanks for the advice!

I want to take another Gap year and really put everything into degree apprenticeship applications. I understand where my parents are coming from interms of starting uni but I don't want to take a loan out just to drop out. Do you have any advice on how to speak to family about it. My parents think if I take another Gap year I'm not going to do anything with my life.
Original post by pepperstalk
Sounds like you are only considering uni bc of your parents. You yourself know you'd rather do the apprenticeship. For something like project management, you should absolutely do a degree apprenticeship because so companies provide it so youre likely to get one next yr if you apply for more. I'd much rather take an extra yr out knowing I'll have a career at the end of it.

I wish I knew about project management apprenticeships earlier! The pressure of going to uni is for many reasons my parents being one , if I took another year out and still failed to secure an apprenticeship starting uni when my original cohort would be finishing is kind of scary and makes me feel like I'm not progressing. I personally do want to take another year out and put everything into securing an apprenticeship but I can't help but think of these things.
Original post by justastudent05
I wish I knew about project management apprenticeships earlier! The pressure of going to uni is for many reasons my parents being one , if I took another year out and still failed to secure an apprenticeship starting uni when my original cohort would be finishing is kind of scary and makes me feel like I'm not progressing. I personally do want to take another year out and put everything into securing an apprenticeship but I can't help but think of these things.


Completely get that, am on a gap yr myself. 2 gap yrs is not unheard of, there are ppl doing 4/5 yrs of uni whether it be bc of foundation, integrated masters or bc it's med. So not everyone of your cohort finishes uni then. Rather than doing a uni degree in project management/business w no guarantee of job, you could be working already.
Original post by pepperstalk
Completely get that, am on a gap yr myself. 2 gap yrs is not unheard of, there are ppl doing 4/5 yrs of uni whether it be bc of foundation, integrated masters or bc it's med. So not everyone of your cohort finishes uni then. Rather than doing a uni degree in project management/business w no guarantee of job, you could be working already.

I want to take another Gap year and put everything into applications as when I think about where I want to be in a years time it's not university. I just don't know how to tell my parents they already thought taking one gap year to resit a levels was bad
Original post by justastudent05
I want to take another Gap year and put everything into applications as when I think about where I want to be in a years time it's not university. I just don't know how to tell my parents they already thought taking one gap year to resit a levels was bad


Do you think they can be convinced? Have you already resat or is it this may? If you have or will manage to improve your grades, you've proven what you can do. If you worked at all this gap yr/have savings you could technically move out. If they're disappointed in you for a yr but won't kick you out, I'd js endure it and get out as soon you get your apprenticeship. 👍
Original post by justastudent05
Thanks for the advice!
I want to take another Gap year and really put everything into degree apprenticeship applications. I understand where my parents are coming from interms of starting uni but I don't want to take a loan out just to drop out. Do you have any advice on how to speak to family about it. My parents think if I take another Gap year I'm not going to do anything with my life.

I would generate a plan for the year and how you will make best use of those 12 months, the plan will also include your apprenticeship applications and perhaps insurance options such as university.

Then I would show them the plan & explain, im an adult, id appreciate parental support and advise but understand this is my decision- and using 12 months to make the best decision for the rest of my life is what i feel is the best plan.
Original post by justastudent05
So I'm in a tough situation. I decided that I wanted to do a degree apprenticeship but only applied to 2 . The reason being I didn't know what sector I wanted until quite late which was past the deadline for many companies. Unfortunately I didn't secure them I failed one after the assessment centre.
I have applied to university and have a place for September but in all honesty I don't feel passionate about any of the courses on offer and taking a loan out on something I'm not exactly 100 on is concerning me. Iv already taken one gap year to resit two of my A levels and a part of me wants to take another and try harder with apprenticeship applications and use this summer to improve my application. But on the other hand taking another Gap year sounds bad and I don't think my family are keen on it . Advice would be really appreciated!

Can I ask when you applied for uni again how did you get a predicated grade. Because I am retaking 1 of my alevels and my sixth form is telling me because I will be an external candidate they can only provide my references and my application will be sent with no predicated grade. It’ll just say I’m trying to improve my grade.
Original post by alawuddin
Can I ask when you applied for uni again how did you get a predicated grade. Because I am retaking 1 of my alevels and my sixth form is telling me because I will be an external candidate they can only provide my references and my application will be sent with no predicated grade. It’ll just say I’m trying to improve my grade.

I didn't put any down . Contact the universities your applying to and say that you are retaking as a private candidate and usually they will log it on your application. Just explain that you have achieved X grade the first time and are retaking as a private student on your own
Isn't a gap year you take after completing undergraduate degree?
If you are certain university is not for you, then a degree apprenticeship may not be either, depending on what your problem is with the idea. You would still be attending university, just in a different way and still expected to engage in academic study.

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