As the end of 13 years of schooling comes at a screeching halt for thousands of young Australians, the pressure is real.
The ol’ ‘what are you going to do after school?’ has become less curious discussion starter and more anxiety trigger for the one in three Gen Zs who are unsure of their post-school pathway (see more in our data story below).
So what if you’re not sure about your next steps?
Well, going straight into a university degree or some other course you’re not interested in just to fulfil expectations (family, society etc.) or to make sure you’re keeping up with your friends is the worst thing a year 12 can do.
Did you know that one-fifth of first-year uni students in Australia drop out of their degrees each year? We reckon the ‘wing-it’ vibe might have something to do with it.
Thankfully, there is an alternative that can be a lot more productive when done right – taking a gap year instead.
Don’t just take our word for it – the iconic Harvard University in the USA actively encourages prospective students to take them.
“Each year, between 90 and 130 students defer their matriculation to Harvard College, and they report their experiences to be uniformly positive,” according to Harvard.
“We encourage admitted students to defer enrolment for one year to travel, pursue a special project or activity, work, or spend time in another meaningful way.”
One Harvard student told the college’s Student Voices that gap years were “invaluable opportunities to work, travel, learn and grow”.
“Taking a year off from school can seem a bit intimidating. However, taking a gap year between high school and college was an integral part of my journey to college.”
But there are questions the student recommended asking yourself when deliberating taking a gap year:
- Do you need a break? And what does that look like?
- Do you feel like you need time to mature? How?
- Do you wish you had more money?
- Would you like to have had some hands-on experience before starting university?
- Do you have a skill you want to hone?
- And (perhaps the most obvious) do you want to travel?
Source: Harvard Student Voices
If you or your child has answered yes to any of these questions, they say it might be wise to consider designing a productive, nourishing and meaningful year off. Click here to find out all the gap year options available in Australia and overseas.