A year out isn’t for everyone, but for those of you considering taking a break before starting your university studies it can give you an opportunity to improve your skill set and even learn new ones. It also allows you to have some extra time to think over your future and get experience outside of an education environment. There are many options which can make your gap year worthwhile from working in industry to completing voluntary work, both of which can offer you the opportunity to explore your future and in some cases even travel the world before you get to university. Please note that all applications to study with us are assessed equally, whether you decide to take a gap year or not.
If you are thinking of choosing to study for a degree in Chemistry gaining some experience working in the chemicals industry may be an option you are considering. A great place to start, if this is something you are interested in, is the Year in Industry E-Trust, who specialise in providing work experience opportunities for young people who are interested in science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM). They provide work experience opportunities that last up to 12 months, during which you will be placed with a company and have the opportunity to work with real responsibility, whilst helping you to explore your career options and find out where your interests lie.
Another great way to spend your gap year is volunteering. This can be not only useful for your skill development, but also gives you the opportunity to do something worthwhile. There are many voluntary opportunities in various areas such as teaching English or getting involved in conservation efforts abroad. This not only gives you the opportunity to do something meaningful, but also allows you to visit different countries around the world. There are lots of organisations which offer gap year opportunities. The Daily Telegraph’s Gap Year Directory and GapYear.com offer starting points for you to consider.
Whichever path you decide to go down, you should think carefully about what you hope to achieve during your year away from education and what you will gain from the experience. Research is very important for this and there are plenty of places that can give you advice about a gap year. The Royal Society of Chemistry has some good information on taking a gap year that is chemistry-focussed and there are many online guides that can give you some advice (ABTA for example has a great guide with plenty of advice about travelling abroad for your gap year). It is a good idea to ask your peers who may have taken a gap year, or your school advisers for guidance to help you be as informed as possible.