Southern Cross University has experienced a significant increase in mid-year enrolments as students cut their gap-year short to get a head start on studying.
The university has seen a jump of more than six per cent in domestic enrolments for session two compared to the same time last year.
The cohort is made up of a significant number of school leavers, as well as some mature age students, and a number from overseas.
The Gold Coast campus alone has welcomed 250 international students.
Psychology lecturer Dr Desiree Kozlowski from the Coffs Harbour campus weighed in on why some students decide to start study in July after finishing high school the year prior.
‘Taking a gap year between finishing high school and beginning university is increasingly common in Australia, for various reasons,’ Dr Kozlowski said.
‘The evidence about whether or not it’s a good idea to take the year out is quite mixed, and there are not a lot of good, comprehensive studies on this.
‘Some students report feeling exhausted or ‘burnt out’ after the pressures of year 12 exams, others are not sure what they want to study, and others want to get some experience working or volunteering in the ‘real world’ before continuing their education.
Dr Kozlowski said what did seem clear was that structured gap years—those with a clear purpose—brought more benefits than unstructured gap years.
‘Structured gap years can see the young person commence their university course with higher motivation and engagement with their studies,’ she said.
‘However, some students who commence an unstructured gap year hoping to work out what they want to do or just recover from their final year at high school, find themselves bored and feeling unchallenged.
‘Instead of waiting out another six months, they can choose to enrol at university mid-year. Thousands of students do this every year.
Bachelor of Contemporary Music student Hugo Jones took half a year off after completing Year 12 to work on a farm and play gigs before committing to fulltime music study at Southern Cross University in Lismore from mid-2018.
Hugo plans to become a professional jazz musician and composer. He recently played in a live theatre band during the NORPA season of Dreamland.
‘I knew a few people already studying the music course and I was playing piano for them on their live performances and assessments. Through that experience I thought this would be the perfect course for me so I started,’ Hugo said.