Getting into a university can be very competitive, and getting a job when you graduate is way harder now that it ever has been.
One way to potentially give you an advantage getting into and out of a university could actually be to take yourself a gap year.
Hey, we’re not talking about a year on the couch, mastering League of Legends and making regular withdrawals from the bank of mum and dad. Instead, a structured, planned gap year can really give you a point of difference over the competition, whatever field that may be in.
But does a gap year help you get a job?
With more students getting top grades, universities and employers can afford to be more selective and so are increasingly looking for applicants who bring something different to the table.
Employers today want more than just grades. They want someone who is motivated, confident, has life skills and who can work positively in any environment. Are you going to get all these in the library? Do courses alone really prepare you for the modern world of work?
Gap year business is booming
Gap years have moved well beyond you having a year off to figure stuff out. Today it’s an industry, one dedicated to preparing you for a career rather than sorting your last holiday before the real stuff starts.
All over the world there are businesses dedicated to helping you make the most of a gap year. International operations like Gapforce provide organised programmes in many parts of the globe, and there are a number of local organisations which can help you spend your gap year doing interesting, rewarding work in needy communities. Gap years have come a long way from just getting drunk on the beach.
What do the tertiary institutions think?
A common misconception about a gap year is that universities, polytechnics and employers are not keen on them. Wrong. In most cases tertiary institutions and employers actively encourage well-structured gap years as a way of helping performance and study and increasing employability.
Overall, gap years are viewed very positively. A well-structured and planned year out can really set you apart from others when applying to get into a tertiary institution or looking for work. You bring different experiences, the ability to look after yourself in a range of different situations and in most cases, a much greater commitment to what you are going to do next.
You also bring a greater range of what are called ‘soft skills’ such as communication skills, leadership, independence, confidence organisation and motivation. When you head to study or into a work situation, these are your tools for ultimate success.
Taking a Gap Year might just be the smartest move you make when school’s all over.