Taking a Gap Year
Taking a gap year means taking a year off between finishing high school and starting further study or training. It’s also known as "Year 13" or taking a "Big Year Off".
If you’re not sure what to do at the end of Year 12 you might like to take a gap year.
Why Should I Take a Gap Year?
Here are some reasons you might choose to take a gap year:
- If you’re not sure what you want to do in the future
- If you don’t get into the course you really want to do
- If you want to take a break from studying
- If you want to gain skills and experience to get into a course
- If you want to make some money before going to uni/TAFE
What Can I Do In My Gap Year?
There are plenty of things that you can do with yourself during a gap year. Whether you want to improve your job prospects or get some experience that's relevant to what you'll be studying, or even if you just want a break, here's some ideas to consider.
This could be your chance to take that round-the-world trip you’ve always dreamed of. To get the most out of your travel, you could spend some time working abroad as well as doing the tourist thing. Or maybe you’d like to try student exchange and experience life with a host family.
There are lots of opportunities out there. Our Travel & Transport section is a good place to start looking for ideas.
Work placements can give you valuable skills and experience. A combination of formal study and on-the-job training looks really good on your resume.
If you want to study a degree in fine arts you might take a gap year to do a short course first and then spend some time creating your folio. If you want to make it big in business you could organise work experience with some successful companies.
You might just want to work for a year to put some money away to pay for study. You could talk to your boss about taking on more shifts, or transferring from part-time to full-time work. You could also just look around for a job to hang onto for a year.
Volunteering is a great way to learn skills while making a contribution to the community. There are lots of different volunteering options. You can volunteer on projects close to home or on the other side of the world. You can volunteer by yourself or as part of a team. You can volunteer for a short or long time.
Picture yourself building homes in Vietnam or preserving Amazon rainforest in Ecuador. Maybe you’d like to run after-school activities for indigenous children in Central Australia. Or maybe you just want to volunteer at the local op-shop or soup kitchen.
Check out our Volunteering & Work Experience section for more ideas.
Join a Gap Year Program
You can plan your own gap year or you can join an organised gap year program. Check out these websites for more info on working holidays and volunteering opportunities.
- Lattitude Global Volunteering provides volunteer opportunities for young people on their gap year
- Student Placement Australia places students and young professionals in jobs and training opportunities overseas
These are only two organisations that offer gap year programs - a quick online search should turn up a whole bunch more.
Make the Most of It
A gap year can be a great way to experience things you normally wouldn't as a student. Whether it offers a break from study or inspires a new career direction, a gap year can be amazing and memorable. The key is to know what you want to get out of it and then to work toward that goal.