3 pros and cons of taking a gap year

Taking a gap year is becoming an increasingly popular after-school option for a number of reasons. Since university tuition is so high and the expectation to move into employment ASAP is pressing, many young people would rather escape the greyscale pressure of reality and travel for 6-12 months.

As our resident columnist and global nomad, Lara Lain, will tell you. There are an unlimited amount of advantages to travelling. But it’s also worth considering the other side of the coin. Here are 4 pros and cons of taking a gap year.

Pros

1. Social expertise

University puts your social abilities to the test more than anything. If you’ve spent the gap year travelling the world meeting people of all backgrounds and cultures, you would have mastered the hardest part of uni before you even arrive.

2. Volunteering turns your CV to gold

Regardless of neo-colonialist think pieces, taking part in volunteering expeditions like World Challenge is insanely rewarding. You’ll experience what life is really like in deprived areas and have 100 stories to tell to your uni friends or potential employer.

3. Gives you time to retake

If you’re on a gap year because of poor grades, you’ll have loads of time to study. Without a job or responsibilities you’ll reach a stage of boredom where your mind will force you to revise.

Cons

1. Travelling is never cheap

If you plan on travelling for the upper end of six months, prepare to shell out for it. If your parents are willing to pay for your gap year to get you out of the house, take advantage of that. If not, you might have to divide your gap year in half between working and travelling.

2. Your student finance could be at risk

Disappearing off the grid for the months prior to university is a risky move. There may be changes to your course placement or student finance package while you’re travelling.

3. You’ll have to rely on your organisational skills

To plan a full gap year full of gainful part-time work and life-changing travel experiences requires an intense amount of organisation – something a lot of sixth formers and young people don’t possess yet.