Education

The Pros and Cons of Gap Years for UK Graduates

Could a gap year be the perfect choice for you?

By bsynergetic

Featured 19 Mar 2021
Graduates

We’ve made a list of pros and cons, just for you.


More and more graduates take gap years between obtaining their degree and entering the workforce or applying for Masters.

While gap years have jumped 300% in 2020 alone, university graduates in the UK are much less likely than undergraduates to embark on a gap year. UK students and educators debate the pros and cons; some swear by them, while others remain unconvinced. Here they are:

PROS

1. Take the Time to Find your Passion

Many graduates find themselves, with a degree in hand, and still, no clue what their calling is; gap years are the perfect opportunity to contemplate and explore your options. A gap year provides a well-needed break from the rigour of A-Levels and university. Internships can offer professional experience and the opportunity to try out specific fields without committing to them permanently.

2. Strengthen your Resume

UK grads can work to earn money (to save for grad school or start paying undergrad loans), learn new skills, and gain valuable experience, especially if the job is in their intended field. Some grad programs, such as an MBA, favour applicants with work experience. Many companies in the UK also offer 6-month extended placements and internships.

3. Learn New Cultures and Flexibility

Students can travel to learn self-reliance and flexibility and experience new cultures. Most graduate programs and jobs respect students that have matured during their experiences. Travelling doesn’t have to be costly either; getting a work or student visa during your gap year can significantly boost your resume while you travel the world without the danger of burn-out.

4. Prepare your Graduate School Applications

Taking time off allows you the free time to prepare for your graduate school applications which are intense and expensive in the UK. Take the time to improve graduate school entrance exam scores (GRE, MCAT, LSAT, GMAT) and strengthen grad school applications without distractions from your current academic commitments.


CONS

1. Delaying Your Career

Financial issues, whether from bills, looming student loan deadlines, or the potential loss of graduate assistant stipends or school health insurance, can cause economic insecurity later on in life. According to reports UK students who take gap years make £3000 less than their peers by the time they are 25.

2. Loss of Drive

Many graduates face loss of drive and work ethic, particularly among the less-driven students. Some may find it difficult returning to the study grind after taking a year off. If you begin graduate school right after undergrad, everything you have learned is fresh in your mind, and there is no loss in momentum.

3. The Plan Can Backfire

Undergrad accomplishments might not seem as impressive on a graduate school application a year later. Some employers may see taking a post-uni gap year as a negative thing, as it will mean that the student may lose touch with their work ethic and dedication. There is currently a highly demanding job market, so removing yourself may backfire.

4. Delayed Personal Advancement

Ramifications of postponing a future career another year include delayed position, salary, and personal advancement. The sooner you get done with graduate school, the sooner you get a full-time job and a steady income to pay the bills and begin adulthood. If you have serious responsibilities, then a post-graduation gap year without having a secure job for the following year is ill-advised.

 

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