To GAP or not to GAP, that is the question…..
This is a topic that comes up a lot in my office as students manage to navigate the beginning of their tertiary studies and also try and work out where and when they will be studying. Parents who are nervous about their children not returning to attend university, have no fear. The data and evidence is out there that this is a very rare occurrence but a common parental worry.
If a GAP year is not for you, then continue on and get your studies underway. For some students, the idea of a whole year without structure, purpose and timetables can be daunting and that is usually the reason not to take one.
Some students are excited to be starting a course and just want to get a move on it NOW!
If you are trying to decide and feel it could be a good idea here are some considerations. If you answer YES to at least three of these questions you should perhaps consider a GAP year:
- Do you feel you need a mental break after Year 12 (remembering that you will have more than fout months between ending school and starting your course). YES/NO
- Do you feel you would like some unstructured time? YES/NO
- Do you feel ready to take on new adventures, meet some new people and feel you would like to get away from your parents/family/house/friends/familiar surroundings? YES/NO
- Would you like to earn some money or be a bit self sufficient? YES/NO
- Do you imagine going to places you have heard older friends, siblings, relatives talk about? YES/NO
- Does the idea of taking some time off and waiting until 2024 give you a good feeling? YES/NO (or a feeling of dread and worry like you want to get moving on your studies)?
Last week we were fortunate to have the amazing Zev Shteinman (Class of 2018) chat to our students about his GAP year travels. Zev covered some huge distances throughout his GAP year – just prior to COVID hitting and embarked not only on the usual Israel and European adventures, but also included an array of countries throughout Asia, the Middle East and Eastern Europe. He then went on to study Arabic and studied at the Cairo University for a semester in an Arabic immersion course, whilst also studying Mathematics at Sydney University. We were very grateful to have his experiences showcased to our students.
There is data to support taking a GAP year showcasing better retention rates, better grades and a better enjoyment of course.