0355a. Volunteering or taking a year out

Tuesday 6 May 2014
by  G. West

Volunteer work and taking a year out

Some students would like to do something besides study for a year, either working, traveling or volunteering. Often universities accept students on "deferred entry", but you must specify your plans when applying. That way when your year is up, you know where you’ll be and don’t have to apply while in the middle of Africa or while sailing around the world.

If interested in doing something else before college like volunteer work, contact Worldwide volunteering, Higher Orchard, Sandford Orcas, Sherborne, Dorset, DT9 4RP. Phone and Fax: 01963 220036. E-mail: yfb@worldvol.co.uk Web: http://www.worldwidevolunteering.org.uk. They might be able to put you in contact with someone who can use yhou.

There are loads of humanitarian organizations that need your help, but keep in mind that they want people who have specific abilities to do things. If you have none, start simple and close to home... they are NOT going to send you far away at great expense if you have nothing special to offer.

Indicate countries, causes, people you want to help, how long you want to volunteer, what you want to do, what contribution you can make financially, if any. They will then describe projects that correspond to your search along with how to apply, preparation, qualifications, requirements, etc. Realize however that without formal qualifications, you may not be a very useful volunteer.

If you are only taking a year out because you don’t know what to do with your life, you might also consult our careers page.

It is usually a very BAD idea to take a year out simply to "rest". First of all, institutions view this as a sign of laziness (whether that is the case or not!), especially in France. In fact, whatever your reason for taking a year out, in France it is badly interpreted. But also, institutions wonder whether you have much focus, imagination or life energy if you take a year out without a passionate project to carry out. And this of course, looks pretty weak.

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