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Should dd take a gap year after A levels?

(14 Posts)
impossible Mon 16-May-16 23:22:16

My dd is in the first year of her A levels so will leave sixth form in 2017. She is unsure whether to take a gap year or go straight to uni. She is very academic but would like a break from education for a year; however she is worried that she might not use her time well. This is the biggest decision she has ever had to make and she is concerned she might make the wrong choice.
Any thoughts about good ways to use a gap year, disadvantages, impact etc would be very welcome.

senua Tue 17-May-16 08:31:45

So she "wants a break" but feels that she has to "use her time well". Don't you feel sorry for the kids of today.sad
Tell her to apply at the normal time (Y13) but ask for deferred entry. Tell them on the PS that she is going to save the elephant / become a UN peace ambassador / solve global poverty but once she has her A Level results and the place is certain then she can do whatever she wants. No-one is going to say "but your wasted gap year means your offer has been withdrawn".
Her generation will probably work until they are 70. She needs some fun time before she settles down to 50 years of study/work.
Tell her to travel and have a ball. Go grape-picking or work on a sheep-station in Australia or do TEFL in the Far East. The world is her oyster. Go have fun!grin

ThornyBird Tue 17-May-16 08:35:39

My dc1 is only in yr10 but we are already making her think about a gap year after A levels. She is young in her year and like senua says, they are going to have a long working life ahead of them!

The only reason we are mentioning it now is to encourage her to think about whst she would like to do - I would be disappointed if she just spent the year working locally and saving money. She needs to go out and see the world smile

Ricardian Tue 17-May-16 08:39:27

Tell her to apply at the normal time (Y13) but ask for deferred entry.

Alternatively, don't apply at all, get your A Levels, bang your UCAS form in containing a couple of universities with standard offers at the grades you got (no need to piss about with worrying about what will happen if you miss a grade or two), on first day applications open (1Sep? 15Sep?), get an unconditional offer, accept it and head off to travel. No need to get involved in adjustment if you beat your predictions, or clearing, or conditional offers, or anything. Less stress while taking your A Levels.

I know several people who have done this, and they've ended up with better A Levels, and at better universities, than they might otherwise have done.

Ancienchateau Tue 17-May-16 08:43:13

I'd say definitely go for a gap esp if your DC is not sure about her career/future studies. University and a long working life will still be there when she gets back from whatever she does with her time. It was a few (ahem) years ago but I took a gap year because I was a year ahead at school and I just wanted a break from all the pressure, and I really wanted to get away from home! It ended up being quite a bit longer than a year grin but it only had a very positive effect on the degree I did take and my career.

Doobydoo Tue 17-May-16 08:45:28

Place marking.

TeenAndTween Tue 17-May-16 09:11:19

I took a gap year (9 months actually) where I worked for GEC, commuting from home.

I found it incredibly difficult to get back into studying again. It took most of the first term for me to be able to do the concentrated work required for my maths degree.

On the other hand, I went back to the same company for the 2 university summers, and eventually made my whole career based on the work I had done (though with a different company).

noblegiraffe Tue 17-May-16 09:21:35

Keep a very close eye on the news to allow universities to increase tuition fees (announcement says Sept 2017). A gap year could prove to be very expensive.

Nonotthatagain Tue 17-May-16 09:22:34

My DS did a deferred entry for Uni and had a year out when he worked but when he went to Uni he found it quite hard to get back into it (especially the maths part) he's doing Engineering and just finishing his 2nd year.

My DD1 didn't apply until she got her results as she wasn't sure she'd get good enough A levels, as it is she got excellent results and got 5 unconditional offers when she did apply, she worked for the gap year as well and is now just finishing her 1st year, she didn't have any problem settling back into study and is achieving a 1st in all exams & assessments

DD2 has applied and is intending to go straight to uni (if she gets the grades) in September she doesn't want to take a gap year.

DD3 is in year 12 and doesn't know what she wants at the moment.

hayita Tue 17-May-16 09:22:37

Fees will only be allowed to increase with inflation, so a gap year is not likely to make much difference in the total costs.

Ricardian Tue 17-May-16 09:57:55

A gap year could prove to be very expensive.

RPI Is currently, what, 1%?

Micah Tue 17-May-16 10:08:12

Totally let her smile

I took one, completely against my parents advice. They thought I'd get used to working, having money, and never go which would have been the end of the world for them

Because I already had the grades, as pp said, I got into a fab uni. The break from studying meant I went back in a good mindset, and working in an entry level job made me realise that actually, I was bright and if I put my mind to it could to very well. I was also used to managing money, living on my own etc.

My main regret is I didn't take longer. I didn't know what subject/career I wanted, but parental pressure meant I just picked an academic subject I did an A'level in. In hindsight it didn't really get me anywhere I wanted to be, and once I realised I couldn't afford to do another degree.

tenbyeight Tue 17-May-16 12:30:26

Just wonder has anyone or your dc/s used the gap year to do a FE course. As my dd s a summer baby so she will be just 18 ( or 17) by the time she finishes her A Levels. So may be she can do a beauty / hair sort of course for the gap year. Are FE courses free for kids are under 19?

impossible Tue 17-May-16 14:28:03

Thanks for all this advice. Yes I think kids have a hard time today - they are so focussed on their next step, and the worry of paying for it. DD had mentioned the raise in fees herself so if fees can only increase with inflation that's good news (though not her impression). I would certainly like her to have some time to breathe a little before launching into the next bout of education.

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