Can we have a discussion about Gap Year options?

(14 Posts)
ForgiveMeFather Wed 26-Feb-14 19:54:49

This may be an option for DD if she doesn't get the offers she wants this year.

She is applying for English Literature so should her gap year be something relevant to the subject?

Or is it more about personal development?

What did your DC's do on their gap year/planning to do?

Bonsoir Wed 26-Feb-14 20:35:05

She could do something sideways to English Literature, like a course in French language and culture (including French literature) at the Sorbonne or a course in History of Art in Florence where she will have plenty of opportunity to explore places and people relevant to English literature. Gaining really good language skills is always useful and English Literature, while lovely, is not necessarily the easiest path to employment so perhaps a good idea to widen/broaden her skill set and horizons?

www.csv.org.uk/volunteering
I did this in my GAp year. I think it was good for my applications (and for me too of course!)

rightsaidfrederick Thu 27-Feb-14 00:20:42

So long as she's doing something productive with her gap year (i.e. not just sat around in hometown getting drunk) then it rarely matters for Eng Lit.

However, anything that is relevant to her course will always boost her reapplication - it's just not compulsory.

Some admissions tutors say that they like gap years anyway because it gives people a chances to mature and get the worst of the partying out of their system and so they come to uni more focussed. There's a lot of truth in this IMHO.

It would also be fine to stay living at home working and saving money for university. I don't think a gap year has to be morally and culturally enriching necessarily. But if she does that she really needs to save, and she would benefit from doing an evening class or something at the same to demonstrate that she's an interesting and rounded person.

UptheChimney Thu 27-Feb-14 08:21:32

For Eng Lit in a highly competitive programme, the A2 grades will be the most important thing. I'm not sure there's an interest in the specifics of gap year activities in a way that's likely to "advantage" any candidate over any other candidate. although I'm never impressed by the stay-at-homes unless they need the money

But encourage your DD to take the longer view -- what might she do in her gap year that would nurture her life generally and in the long term? her career, both dreams and realistic ambitions? What might she do in the freedom of young adulthood that she may not be able to do once a serious adult with a job, bills, and so on?

It's not all about immediate advantage.

UptheChimney Thu 27-Feb-14 08:25:00

And yes, I think a gap year is always a good idea. Not just to give a candidate a perceived advantage (it doesn't) but to grow up.

But also - and most importantly IMO - it's about stepping off the education treadmill for a bit. Deliberately getting out of the habit of having to study, to see if the person actually wants to study.

Because if you want to read English Literature, you really really have to want to study. OTOH, undergrads nowadays barely read anything like enough in English degrees. They seem offended when you suggest this, but they're only punishing themselves.

I did a year working for PGL then a year at an independent outdoor activity centre. I did both after uni but there were lots of people doing it between Alevels and Uni.

ggirl Thu 27-Feb-14 08:31:22

My dd worked half of it to earn money to travel the other half. Lots of fun and gained valuable experience sorting out all the travel details/accomodation on her own. She focussed on french speaking countries as she is studying french at university.

Have her read this blog before volunteering

creamteas Thu 27-Feb-14 09:28:55

Like UptheChimney, I think all students should take a gap year.

It really doesn't matter what she does as there are no experience admissions requirements for English Lit. But she will need to demonstrate what she has gained from it.

Actually it is quite common on UCAS forms for applicants who have spend the year working in McDonalds to report more learning experiences than ones who have bought an extended package holiday gap year experience.

Pleaseandthankyou Thu 27-Feb-14 09:38:23

Six months working to fund a charity placement is a great idea. A 6 month placement does not have to be a holiday, it gives them time to actually do some good. The gain is on both sides. Have a look at this website http://www.lattitude.org.uk/. Sorry I don't know how to post a direct link. You just have to be careful about when university interviews may take place. It is easier to organise if you have a deferred place.

eatyourveg Fri 28-Feb-14 08:10:57

ds is doing English Lit - he took a gap year

Term 1 he worked in school as a learning mentor for GCSE English and Music students - he also took this mooc from Pennsylvania State uni

Term 2 he did an internship at The Guardian and worked part time in a pub to earn money for travelling and wrote articles for a sports website

Term 3 Had intended to do a voluntary stint with The Poetry Project in NYC but didn't have the funds so did a road trip across Europe visiting places connected to writers he liked and ended up in Zurich paying homage at the grave of James Joyce.

Other interesting places your dd could investigate are Shakespeare & Co in Pairs and the American Library in Paris both of whom offer voluntering opportunities or possibly The Irish Cultural Institute in Paris which always has good things going on. Dublin and Zurich both have James Joyce Institutes which may take volunteers too.

eatyourveg Fri 28-Feb-14 08:14:41

have you heard of The Book bus? it runs in Zambia and placements are between 2 weeks and 4 months.

lessthanBeau Thu 03-Apr-14 18:01:06

my ds is currently working at disneyworld in florida for his gap year as a cultural rep, before he takes on his phd next year.

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