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Mind the gap (year)

The A-levels exams are over and it’s time to look to further education. When I began my degree, the number of students taking gap-years was relatively small. Today, many A-level students want to escape the classroom before university and recharge their batteries using a gap-year. Would you support your child taking a gap-year?


A personal decision

Each year around 400,000 young people go to university and about 10% will have taken a gap-year before starting. Students may feel pressure to take or not take a gap-year, but it’s important that your child makes a decision that feels right for them.

What’s in a gap year?

Your child needs to decide whether they want to take part in volunteering, such as wildlife conservation projects or teaching children in a developing country. They may want to include travelling and discovering new cultures by backpacking across the globe. Some like earning money from paid employment at home or aboard, giving them a financial cushion. Others like experiencing work without pay, such as a work placement or internship lasting a few weeks or longer.

The Pros:

  • Gain life experience that can’t be taught in the classroom.
  • Revitalise and enjoy a year without assignments and exams.
  • Make new friends, meet new people and visit new places.
  • Add value to a CV, showing new skills to a potential employer.

The Cons:

  • Getting side-tracked and dropping out of the education system all together.
  • Feeling the financial strain of running up debt before taking on more debt at university.
  • Wasting time as the year translates into sitting around and doing nothing.
  • Losing the education bug, as it harder to return to formal studying after a year-off.

Whatever you decide, the key to a successful gap-year is careful planning. The stress of planning can be a real headache, making it a less productive time out. However, taking a year off allows your child to step outside of the education system and return a year later refreshed and motivated, ready to gain a degree. You will see them develop a maturity that will help in higher education and onwards into their chosen working career.

ChildMax pays your take home salary while you’re on 12 months’ unpaid leave looking after a sick child. Premiums start from £49.50 or pay monthly for easy budgeting. Get a quote with 5 questions in one-minute and buy a policy with 12 questions.

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Date: 01 July 2019 by Max Robinson