TO have a gap year or not to have a gap year?
That is the question that plagues year 12 students every year but according to Charles Sturt University executive dean of education Professor Toni Downes, if a teenager wants to gallivant across Europe for 12 months that is not necessarily a bad thing.
A recent study by The University of Sydney showed students who take a gap year tend to perform better academically than those who do not and better academically to those who enter university as mature age students.
However Professor Downes said the decision should come down to how sure a student is about their chosen course.
“Students coming back after a gap year generally are a bit more focused rather than those coming straight in from school,” she said.
“Quite often people tend to change their minds about what they want to study while on their gap year.
“But someone who knows exactly what they want to study should go for it.”
Orange High School year 12 student Lachlan Jensen knows exactly what he wants to do, how to get there, get qualified and get into the workforce.
“The quicker I go into university the quicker I can get qualified and get out,” he said.
James Sheahan Catholic High School year 12 student Ashleigh Cunial said she spent most of her Higher School Certificate year undecided on what she wanted to do with life after school.
It is for this reason she is taking a year off to decide.
“From what I’ve heard about taking a gap year, from the people I’ve spoken to there is no definite yes you should or no you shouldn’t,” she said.
“I think the break will be good for me.”
Kinross Wolaroi School year 12 student Erin Smith wants to go straight to university despite not knowing what she wants to study.
She has a long-term plan of studying medicine as a post graduate degree but she needs an undergraduate degree first.
“For me, I’ve always been a motivated student but for others I think it depends on whether or not your happy to sit down and work or whether you need a break,” she said.