Gap Year is a period of time a student can decide to take a break from study. Many students decide to take time off between 3 months to 12 months.

You can move out of home, work, take a holiday, travel overseas, or do all! It’s up to you!

It is an opportunity to expand your view of the world and explore what you would like to do in the future.

Gap Year is also called Year 13 and Big Year Off.

When to take a Gap Year?
You can decide when you want to do a Gap Year. Gap Year can be done at any time.

Below are three main examples:

  • before starting TAFE/university OR
  • halfway through the course in TAFE/university OR
  • after finishing course in TAFE/university

Reasons to take a Gap Year

Many students take gap year for one or many reasons.

Click on the reason to see further examples why some students decided to take a Gap Year:

Take time off from studying


You have been studying for one year and you realise you are very tired from studying and have lost motivation. You apply to your TAFE/university to defer for one year. You feel better as now you can focus on work to save money, enjoy different hobbies and meet new and old friends.

Did not get into the course


It is difficult to get into the psychology course you want to enrol. You decide to volunteer your time at a homeless shelter, serving out food and cleaning up the kitchen. This volunteer role will help you improve your chances of getting into the psychology course in the following year.

Make and save money before going to TAFE/university


You live in a regional area and want to study and work in a city. You decide that you need to save up money so that you can afford to move to the city to pay rent, bills, food and pay for your course materials (books, pens and printer) in TAFE/University.

Get skills and experience before you enrol into a course


You want to become a vet. You decide to volunteer/work for an animal shelter for one year before you start your veterinary course. You apply to TAFE/university to defer for one year.

Get life experience (work, travel, volunteer)


You love design. You decide you want to work/volunteer for a design company so that you build up your skills and experience when you start university.


You decide that you want to travel to explore different places around the world. You want to learn to become independent, make your own decisions and learn different cultures and meet new people. You learn to look after yourself and how to make new friends.

Not sure what you want to do in the future


You finished school and researched courses in TAFE/university. You are not sure what you want to study. You decide to work for six months, then travel overseas for three months. You plan to research courses in TAFE/university after you finish working and travelling.


Student Profile
Name Tahlia Barry
Degree Bachelor of Criminology
University Deakin
Preferred Languages Auslan and English

“I decided to take a gap year for many reasons. I wanted to take a break from studying because I felt if I went from school to uni straight away – I would become unmotivated to continue studying for another three years. I also wasn’t sure if I still wanted to study criminology at university. So I deferred my course for one year to think about it.

I also wanted to learn more about myself and how to live independently. For the first time, I moved out of home and started working to save up enough funds to travel overseas for 3 months. I learnt so much about myself when I was travelling overseas.

When the gap year came to an end, I was getting more excited and keen about studying criminology. That’s when I knew I definitely wanted to study criminology.”

Vicdeaf – Beyond High School

Vicdeaf ran a workshop about travelling in Gap Year. You can check for more videos here.

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