Why Taking a Year Off to Work Can Be a Good Plan
At the beginning of your last year at high school, chances are you’re being asked a lot of questions: Where do you want to go to college or university? What do you plan to study? How will you pay for school?
If you don’t know the answers, that’s okay. It might just mean you’re suited for taking a year off between high school and college or university in order to work. Spending a year working offers several benefits that will help you in your future path, whatever it turns out to be.
Earn Money for School
While many students work during their high school years, not every student will. Even for those who do work, these jobs are often only part-time and minimum wage positions. While this can be enough to have some spending money and savings, it may not be enough when it comes to paying for school.
A university or college education is expensive, and the costs are rising each year. The reality is that a college degree can cost anywhere from $5,000 to $10,000 per year (including things like rent and food) while a university degree can cost as much as $20,000 per year when you include rent and food on top of tuition costs. Living at home can save you the cost of rent, but the fact remains that you will need a fair bit of savings to get through your degree–quite likely more than you will be able to save up from a part-time weekend job.
Taking a year off after high school in order to work full time gives you time to save up enough money to make a significant contribution toward your education. When you are able to commit to a full-time job for more than a few months, you also have more options with better pay to choose from. While many of these jobs will still be entry level or apprenticeship positions, there are lots of these that pay more than minimum wage. If you live at home during your gap year, then you will be able to put nearly all your pay into education savings, and make the most of your time.
Knowing The Path You Want To Take
Another way taking a gap year to work before post-secondary can save you money is by helping you decide what you want to study and what eventual career path you want to pursue. Given the costs of a year of college or university, you don’t want to start a program “just because” and end up not liking it or wanting to change degrees. Not every course you take in first or second year will be applicable to another program, so changing your degree part way through can result in an additional year or two of study–along with the cost of a year or two more tuition and everything else.
Gain Experience to Help Win Scholarships
Scholarships are a way to significantly reduce the costs of your schooling, but winning scholarships can be very competitive. By taking a year off to work, you will have the chance to gain useful work or volunteer experience that you can use to spice up your scholarship applications, increasing your chances of being awarded more scholarships and ones of higher value.