November 8, 2008

What a Difference a Year Makes in Australia



Taking a Year Off after High School Graduation in Australia

Are you ready to take a break from learning while sitting indoors in rectangular classrooms for High School years? Are you wondering how you’re going to stay motivated for another four years of academics? Do you ever wish you could learn by doing, or by being in a very different culture or country? If your answer is yes to any of these questions, you may want to take a “gap year” between high school and University.

You take a gap year to get out of that stale classroom, explore your interests in a way that you want to, experience a different culture, learn by doing something real, let your well fill back up, and learn by giving to others. During a gap year, you get to determine where you go and what you do – and in the process you get a break from jumping through academic hoops.

Australian Universities and High Schools are looking more and more favorably on gap years, understanding that people who take time to explore their interests before college become better motivated and more effective students. It doesn’t make sense to make start your first year of university or college if you don’t have a clear reason for being there. And unfortunately, for many students their freshman year becomes a year off as they major in partying and procrastination.

The end of high school marks three major transitions: high school to college, family to independence, and adolescence into adulthood. A year between high school and college can be one of the freest times in a person’s life to explore the world while contemplating these three big life transitions, before college obligations and responsibilities begin to weigh on you.

So how do you put together a gap year? The great thing about a gap year is that it can take any form that you like. It’s your life, after all, and a gap year is a great time to remember that while coming out of the trance induced by sitting in school for many years.

Here are important elements to consider making part of your gap year:

As you are planning, consider these important questions:

  • Do I want to travel with a group or alone? Group travel is more expensive, but it’s a great way to start a year because it gives you the safety net of a group, adult leaders and formal orientation. Definitely plan some alone time into your year – you will learn a lot about yourself.
  • Do I want to the freedom to take initiative and find my own way, or do I need a firm outer structure?
  • How much money do I need to pay for this year? A gap year is a great way for your parents to take a financial breather since gap years generally cost significantly less than college.

If you don’t feel up to setting things up on your own, there are consultants that you can pay a fee to help you plan and set up all the logistics of a full and well-structured year. And now there are even college programs that incorporate all of the best elements of a gap year with college credit so that you can keep making progress toward your degree.

Remember that life isn’t a race. Those who take a gap year universally report that they have learned much more than they did in a year of school. Rest assured that your college of choice will still be there for you when you are done. A gap year is a great way to get a life before getting the rest of your education.

to apply

or to contact us

IEA-A Sydney

International Education Agency-AUSTRALIA


185 Elizabeth Street   |   Level 3 No:310   |   Sydney NSW 2000 Australia

T: +61 2 9266 0238   |   F: +61 2 9261 1560  | [email protected]   |


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