WIMMERA students are embracing the path traditionally less travelled and taking gap years between high school and further education.
Former Stawell Secondary student Erin McClure said there had been some negative reactions to her decision, but overwhelmingly gap years were becoming more accepted.
“My parents pushed for me to take a gap year,” she said.
“I think it has become more common.
“I had a few comments saying once you take a gap year you will not go back, but Stawell is such a small town.
“I am motivated to move to a city and go to university, so I do not think that will be a problem.”
Ms McClure received a global studies offer from Deakin University but was waiting on a second round dual global studies and science offer.
She will spend the year working as a waitress and cleaner.
“I think it will definitely help when I get to uni, even help me get a job in Melbourne,” she said.
“It helps with responsibility and gives great work experience.”
Former Horsham College student Campbell Mason said more people were choosing to take gap years and the idea was growing in acceptance.
He said about a third of his friends had decided to work, travel or take a year to consider their options before taking up study.
“In the last five years I think it’s become reasonably accepted,” he said.
“Everyone was welcoming of my decision.”
Mr Mason said a year of work would help ensure he was secure in his course decision.
“I’ve deferred a civil engineering course at Deakin University,” he said.
“I didn’t plan to defer but I went for a job at a school and was accepted so went with it.
“I think it’ll be easier transitioning to university after a gap year because there’ll be less on my mind and more time to plan for it.
“Financially there are a fair few gains but it also gives you time to settle down and know what you want.”
Stawell Secondary College principal Nick Lynch said he wished the students well with whatever pathway they chose to take after their final year of school.
“Whether it is travel, university, an apprenticeship or work, it is important students find the pathway they want and that schools help them get there,” he said.
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