Taking a gap year after you finish high school is not a “year off”. For many would-be university or college students, taking time off after the hectic schedule of the HSC and experiencing something outside of high school, is a wonderful way to enhance personal growth.
This is the time you branch out into the world as an adult on your own. Whether you choose to travel, work to save money for travel, volunteer, learn a language or skill or move out with friends and find a job, all of these options will improve your life stills as you find your way in the world.
A new study of more than 900 first-year students by Sydney University researchers has revealed that not only did taking a year off have a positive effect on students' motivation, it also translated into a real boost in performance in the first semesters at university.
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Gap year students are perceived to be 'more mature, more self-reliant and independent' than non-gap year students. [Birch, “The Characteristics of Gap-Year Students and Their Tertiary Academic Outcomes”, Australia, 2007]
Gap years can often be a lot of hard work. Organising your own travel plans or learning to make new friends overseas, can take young adults out of their comfort zones. Research has proven that skills obtained on a gap year significantly increase a student’s ability to cope with stress when they eventually begin their studies at university.
In today's work environment, people who work best with others - denoted often times as having Emotional Intelligence (EQ rather than IQ) tend to be more successful. A gap year will challenge students to work better with a more diverse array of people.
Gap years often solve issues of academic burnout with healthy choices and satisfy multiple learning types. This can reignite a sense of curiosity for learning, through real life situations and exploring possible careers through hands on field-work.
I came back from a year of travelling and working with a much wiser approach to the problems of the world. Now very little seems as stressful as learning to stand on your own feet.Emma - First year student