By Helen Green
Deferring was once sternly frowned upon – almost regarded as ‘dropping out’ before you start. There was a fear that once you had a taste of freedom, studying would be on the back-burner.
Perceptions have changed significantly. It’s now considered by many as a well-earned break from study and a chance to learn, grow and be better prepared for the opportunities and challenges of adulthood.
Today, many tertiary institutions accept student deferrals, with some openly supporting their many benefits for their students. With graduate employers on the lookout for well-rounded people with ‘work ready’ skills, it is clear why taking a gap year after school is gaining popularity.
Check your options
Before making plans, check if it is possible to defer, as not all courses offer this option. This step is particularly crucial if you are a scholarship recipient or receiving other assistance.
Be aware that there may be a fee associated with deferring too. If you’re considering deferring, ensure you do so before the census date to avoid paying for subjects you do not plan to sit. Also, make sure you know how deferring might impact on your receipt of government benefits and so on.
To defer or not is an important decision. Taking a year off after Year 12 is not suitable or realistic for some students, so be informed and do what is right for you. Many understandably prefer to keep the study momentum going and worry they will find the transition to university harder after a year off.
Talk it out
Discuss the potential challenges, drawbacks, and advantages with those you trust: parents/guardians, mentors, friends or your school or university careers counsellors.
Do you know anyone who has deferred their studies? Maybe you just need a six-month break if your preferred course has a mid-year intake. Maybe you would prefer to take a year off during or after your course, as this is also a viable option for many students, particularly at present, given the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic.
Helen is a qualified careers practitioner and director of Career Confident in Melbourne. Previously, Helen worked in senior education and career program management roles, primarily at the University of Melbourne. This article was republished with permission — you can read the original version here.