Jumped into uni? Have looming deadlines got to you? If so, you might be considering taking a gap year during university. Having a year out is a rite of passage these days- but is taking a gap year during university the best thing to do for your studies and your future career? Like everything, taking a gap year has its pros and cons and therefore deciding if you should take one, and when you should do it, can be tough. So, if you’re not sure what to do, we’re here to help! These are the pros and cons of taking a gap year during university.


You might not finish your degree

Say you’ve done two years of a three-year degree and are feeling pretty burnt out. Taking a year out might seem like the ideal way to reset and destress. On the other hand, it might mean that you lose all motivation to actually finish your degree. If you’re in this situation then you need to look at the bigger picture. Can you stick university out for one more year and reward yourself with some time off at the end? Or is your mental health and motivation already waning so much that it would be a waste of time and money for you to go straight into the third year at this point?

Parental pressure

Chances are that taking a  year out in university may not go down well with friends and family. Be prepared to argue you’re case and specify that you aren’t dropping out; you’re just taking a break.

These are the Pros and Cons of taking a gap year during university
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You might fall behind your friends

The social aspect is one of the biggest drawbacks when deciding whether to take a gap year during university. You’ve probably been with the same group of people for the first and second year but if you decide to defer, then the chances are that they would have graduated by the time you get into the third year. On the upside, you’ll get the chance to meet new people. However, you might be left with severe FOMO while you’re away on your travels.

Lots of Admin

Deferring a year at university brings a lot of admin to sort out. You’ll need to contact your university, Student Finance and sort out your housing. Likewise, if you are an international student, you’ll need to speak to Student Support at your university to discuss what your options are as this may affect your visa.


You’ll be able to destress

If university has left you at breaking point, then taking a year out might be just what you need to reset. Whether you’re itching to travel, relax back home, or just get a part-time job, having a year out of academia could do you the world of good! That way, you’ll come back to third year ready to go and ace that degree.

You could save money for uni

Perhaps you’ve been scraping by with Student Finance for the last couple of years? Well, a year out could give you the time that you need to save up for third year. You may choose to move back home and save on rent or simply take the year out to work. Either way, managing to put some money aside would alleviate the pressure of third year so you wouldn’t have to juggle a part-time job with writing your dissertation.

 Cons of taking a gap year during university
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You can develop new skills and improve your CV

Contrary to popular belief, a gap year can be a fantastic way to develop new skills and improve your CV. You could do a whole range of things from undergoing work experience or an internship, doing online courses or studying and working abroad. Likewise, entering into the workforce for a year can really help you stand out from the crowd when applying for jobs and that can be advantageous when you graduate.

You’ll be more independent and develop a better sense of self

Lastly, it’s been said that no experience is a bad experience and a gap year undoubtedly gives you a lot of room for personal growth. Whether you decide to travel the world, work or simply take some time off to work on yourself, you are likely to come out of it with a better sense of self.  A gap year can teach you endless skills from confidence, people skills, resourcefulness and adaptability. Don’t be fooled into thinking that learning only happens in the lecture hall.

These are the Pros and Cons of taking a gap year during university
Source: Canva

So, there you have it- those are the pros and cons of taking a gap year during university. Remember that there’s no right or wrong decision, and nothing is permanent in life unless you want it to be.

If you do decide to take a gap year, make sure you check out our favourite gap year ideas, as well as advice on how to pack for a gap year and whether you need gap year travel insurance! 

If you’re struggling with uni and want to take a break generally – here’s what to do when it comes to pausing uni. Or if you’re travelling post uni, check out our guide to travelling after you graduate.

Last Updated on March 20, 2024