What is a Gap Year and What Are the Benefits and Drawbacks?


What if your child has opted to take a year out of college or university? Superb! In order to be as prepared as possible for what may happen to your child and yourself, you must now get yourself totally prepared. Here’s a rundown of the notion of a gap year, as well as the benefits and drawbacks you should be aware of before taking one.

# To begin, what exactly is a Gap Year? Why is it so popular?

To pursue other interests outside of one’s regular life, studies or work, a person takes a gap year.

Although not extensively used in Malaysia, the Higher Education Ministry has launched the Gap Year Initiative in September 2017, allowing undergraduate students to take a gap year between degrees.

Idris Jusoh, the Minister of Higher Education at the time, stated that students interested in participating in the programme had a variety of possibilities. This is due to the Ministry’s establishment of three different gap year programmes in which students can enroll.

Gap Year National Service Volunteerism, Gap Year Volunteerism, and Gap Year Volunteerism are the three different programmes (general).

# What are these programmes, and which is best for your child?

Gap Year National Service Volunteerism allows students to spend a year in the Malaysian Armed Forces (MAF), Royal Malaysia Police (PDRM) or Malaysia Civil Defense Force (APM).

This programme is ideal for students who enjoy volunteering and participating in community events. Students can work with government agencies including Islamic Relief Malaysia, Department of Social Welfare, and Department of Orang Asli Development.

Gap Year (general) is probably the most suitable option for students who wish to spend the year pursuing their passions such as sports, job, travel, etc.

Gap years are popular in the UK and the USA, where students take a year off following high school to travel or work before starting university. The scheme, which began in September 2017, is only eligible to undergraduates who have completed at least their first year of study.

# Why a gap year?

You may want your child to take a gap year for several reasons. Students usually see it as a way to earn professional or personal experience, attain goals, or explore personal interests. If your child is considering taking a gap year, carefully consider the benefits and drawbacks.

A gap year should be planned to help students grow personally and intellectually, contribute to a good cause and gain global awareness, as well as build enterprise, maturity, commitment and independence outside of formal education.

Here are some reasons to take a gap year:

  • Make money

They may choose to hunt for a part-time work before continuing their education, as the financial security will allow them to enjoy their student life as they see fit. Going to posh cafes with pals or on a road trip won’t be an issue when they know they can afford it.

  • Make good contacts

During their gap year, students will likely meet people from many walks of life. This may include contacts for career chances and references, or simply overseas buddies to crash on if they return home later.

  • Make global friends

Living and working with locals during a gap year can help students develop a deeper knowledge of diverse cultures and views. Students will meet new people and, if they click, may make lasting friends.

  • Development and training

During their gap year, students might work on developing transferrable abilities that will impress university admissions officers and prospective employers. Organising, communicating, working as a team and budgeting are some of the crucial abilities.

  • Defy yourself

It is a reality that students are daring. Many students choose a gap year to challenge themselves, venture out of their comfort zone, face phobias, and try new things. For example, they may decide to go jungle trekking, climb a mountain for charity, volunteer in a developing country, or scuba dive.

  • Take a rest between school and college

Taking a break before starting work might help kids feel refreshed and energised. According to several foreign universities, students who take a gap year return more mature and ready to study alone. A gap year might help your child regain concentration, clarity, and motivation to continue their degree programme.

  • Learn new life skills

This can include studying a foreign language, becoming an adventure sport instructor, improving IT skills, or teaching English as a foreign language (TOEFL).

  • Make a difference

Many students view their gap year as an opportunity to assist locally or internationally. Students also feel the need to take a gap year before too many responsibilities bind them to one area once they enter the employment.

# Gap year drawbacks

While taking a gap year has numerous advantages, it also has some disadvantages.

Among the drawbacks of a gap year for your child are:

  • Organizing and executing activities during a gap year can be costly.
  • Your youngster may get sick or hurt while travelling. Long-term travel can be tough and uncomfortable, and adjusting to a new environment can be emotionally draining.
  • They may find their break too interesting/distracting and decide not to return to school.
  • Their study skills may have deteriorated, making it difficult to acclimatize to school life. Particularly math or physics students may find this to be the case.
  • Some schools don’t like drop-year students, especially if they didn’t accomplish enough positive things during their year off.
  • They may simply not have had the desired experience.

Gap year has its benefits and drawbacks. So, as a parent, you must discuss with your child whether or not taking a gap year will make them more focused and inspired to achieve their aspirations. Ultimately, this decision will affect them more than you.


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