A ‘real’ GAP Year refers to the year between finishing VCE and starting a tertiary course. There are many reasons students may choose a gap year. After perhaps 13 years of schooling, juggling part time casual work, extracurricular activities, sport, social activities as well as the school work, some students feel ‘burned out’ and not ready to face more formal education. Others may feel uncertain about their future.
A study conducted by Sydney University in 2013 indicated that a ‘constructive’ GAP year can have a positive effect on student’s motivation and a boost in performance for the first semesters at university.
‘A constructive GAP year? ‘………
Some things to consider
Planning your gap year
The process of deferment
You should go through the usual application process for tertiary studies, receive (and accept) an offer, then defer / delay starting the course until the following year / semester. Some universities have a midyear intake, so deferring can be for one semester. The usual deferment is for 12 months. Not all institutions and not all courses have deferment as an option. So do your research before applying and before asking for deferment.
Check the conditions of any scholarships you apply for – some have a ‘non deferment’ clause.
If your main reason for a GAP year is travel, consider the option of study and exchange programs while you are studying. Some tertiary institutions for example Deakin University have partnerships with universities overseas and even often scholarships to assist you.
If your main reason for a GAP year is to work, many courses have industry placement / work experience as an integrated component, providing assistance and support in securing relevant placements.
GAP years are being considered as a rite of passage by increasing numbers of Australian students, as well as overseas students. A spin off from this is the development of large numbers of GAP year industries that offer services for volunteer placements, travel, and study exchange and work placement. If you do a web search with ‘gap year’ as the key words, there are pages and pages of sites, so take your time with your research.
Below are some links to get you started. (Please note, that the sites or organisations listed below does not indicate endorsement or recommendation by the school)
Youth central is the Victorian Government Website for young people 12 – 25. It has a range of information and articles directly relevant to young people (health issues, rights, employment, study, leaving home, travel) as well as GAP year discussion.
Student placement : an Australian company which places students into work, training and study programs overseas
Projects abroad : operates in 27 developing countries providing support to over 1000 local initiatives through the people-power of our volunteers
IEP: working holidays
High School Volunteer Projects are a great way for students in years 10 and 11 to take part in constructive and worthwhile trip during their summer holidays.
With volunteers typically aged 16-17, the trips combine cultural immersion with community focused volunteer work or work experience.
For a list of High School Volunteer Projects : http://www.projects-abroad.com.au/projects/high-school-projects/