Why you should take a Gap Year or Work before going to University

Many teenagers find that, by the time they are in high school, there is either an expectation that they should go on to university, or they simply don’t know what else to do. If you are in this situation, you might want to think again before making a final decision and if necessary, take a gap year to give yourself time to work out your next steps. There are a number of reasons to delay going to university. 

*Financial reasons

Going to university is expensive. Even if you manage to get a grant or scholarship, you will still need a certain amount of money to keep yourself going. Many students have to work while they are studying, but this can distract you from your studies, especially if you do a course that requires a lot of extra work. By delaying going to university, you can save up enough money to get you through the hard times without having to work, or by working for a minimum number of hours. 

*Gain work experience

Depending on the area that you want to work/study in, it may be more advantageous to get some work experience first and then decide if you want to study later. Some employers prefer actual experience to qualifications. If you’re thinking about setting up your own business, then getting some work experience could be vital – you can then make an informed decision about whether you actually need a university degree at all. 


You may have worked yourself into the ground in order to do well in your high school exams. The couple of months you have off before going to university may not be enough to recover and, if you’re exhausted, you might not make the right choice of course or university. You could, however, spend a year or so working to gain a different outlook on life. Once you’ve had time to recover and can think straight, you will make a much more informed decision about your future.

*Not ready to leave home

Some teenagers simply aren’t ready to go to university at the age of eighteen. You may be emotionally immature (whether you want to admit it or not) or there may be health issues for which you need support from family. Staying back for a year or two can really improve matters. Finding a job locally can be helpful to build up your confidence and ensure that there is some money put aside for your university years. This is something to discuss thoroughly with parents before making a decision. 

*Personal circumstances

Everyone is different and everyone has personal circumstances that they have to deal with. If yours are complicated – for example, you could have a child, or a sick relative, or be ill yourself – then it may simply not be feasible for you to move too far away from home. If you want to study a subject that involves you moving to a university that is not local, then you may want to delay going for a year or two. Alternatively, you could look at long distance study options. 

*Not sure what to do

You may be really struggling with what to do at university. To a certain extent, it may not be important – many graduates take on jobs that have nothing to do with their major. However, it may be worth you staying away from university for a year or two before you take the plunge, because you will get a lot more out of university if you have a clear career path. The most important thing of all is that you don’t do the subject your parents want you to do – unless you’re sure it’s right for you. 

You don’t need to delay going to university by more than a year or so, but it could be the right thing for you to do in the long run. The more ready you are for university, the more you are likely to achieve as a result.