September is a time when many people are moving away from home for the first time and embarking on an exciting new chapter in their lives at university. However, this is not the case for everyone and for those who will not be starting university over the next few weeks, you might be asking yourself 'what next?' Many students go straight from school to university, but taking a gap year is another popular option. A gap year can help students decide what to do with their lives and is an opportunity to develop new skills. If you decide to take a gap year, make it count! There are many ways in which your gap year activities can add to your personal and professional development.
Exploring the world is a popular choice for gap year students. Independent travel can be a great experience; it can enhance your organisational and numerical skills and expose you to different cultures. When you return, you can reflect on these new skills in your university application. And if you've got the travel bug after your gap year, you can still do a lot of exploring while you study. London is the perfect gateway for weekend trips to other parts of the UK and Europe.
Gain work experience
You might decide to gain some work experience before you start university. Paid work experience is helpful to save money for tuition fees and living costs. It is also a great opportunity to enhance your CV and university application. Furthermore, if you are undecided about your career path and which university course to apply to, gaining work experience in different areas can help you figure out what you really want to do.
Learn a new skill
Use your gap year to build up a variety of skills, for example you could learn a new language and sign up for a short-course in coding. These skills look good on your CV and also help to show that you are an ambitious person open to learning new skills and techniques. University admissions officers and hiring companies alike will look favourably on candidates who actively want to learn.
Similar to gaining work experience, volunteering is a great way to develop your skills on a personal and professional level and has the added bonus that you are doing something good for the community. Some of the more competitive university courses, such as medicine and dentistry, expect students to have some relevant experience of working in the community and assisting others.
A gap year can be a great way to experience things you normally wouldn't and offers a break from studying between your school and university education. The key is to make your gap year count by enjoying the time while also building on and developing new skills.