For Parents


So, your son or daughter is thinking about Year 13.

How are you feeling about this? You might be feeling a little apprehensive, and that’s understandable. Why delay getting straight into life post school? Aren’t gap years just an expensive waste of time? We don’t think so (and we are not alone!).

Research shows that student who take a gap year before starting university perform better academically. But it’s not just about academics. Increasingly, more and more universities are encouraging students to defer their enrolments and take a gap year before commencing study.

One of the great strengths of a gap year is the chance to take a breath. There are so many options and decisions facing your child after school, and the impact these decisions have on the rest of their lives can be daunting. They feel so much pressure to get it right! Study after study reports that gap year students have greater clarity and motivation in pursuing further academic study, benefit from increased employability and better career satisfaction, as well as gain a broader perspective on life. The involvement of Year 13 mentors in your child’s life, building valuable social and spiritual capital with them, will help your child flourish into adulthood.

Don’t just take our word for it, check out the research for yourself…

“I am a great advocate of the gap year, provided that the year is well planned.  I taught in Oxford for many years, where you are responsible for a small group of students throughout their degree and get to know them very well.  The students who had taken a gap year were invariably more mature, and more ready for tertiary study, than those who had come direct from high school.  Far from losing ground, students arrive at University from a gap year better prepared to excel.”

Michael Spence, Vice-Chancellor and Principal of The University of Sydney (14 September, 2018)

For Ministers


Youthworks’ Vision is to see an effective youth and children’s ministry in every church. With this in mind, Year 13 was created to serve you, the local Church, as you help guide your young people through one of the largest journeys they’ll ever face – from high school into the rest of life.

We do not create a “Year 13 Church” that takes over the role of a student’s home church, rather, we want to provide school leavers with the opportunity to take a year out of the normal school to university track, serve in their local churches and/or schools and take on the complexities of adult responsibilities as they grow in their relationship with God and others.

Ministry placement

As part of the Year 13 program, students serve in their local church and/or school in ministry placement. This is usually unpaid, and can include anything from Kids Church to admin to helping a Chaplain and anything in between. It is important that each student’s ministry placement is tailored to individually suit them and you, as both the type of ministry and the amount of time spent in ministry will vary from person to person depending on their weekly timetable. This ministry placement also fulfils requirements for Certificate and Diploma students.

Supervisors and Mentors

The Supervisor and Mentor system is a distinctive of the Year 13 program, and it is essential for every Year 13 student to be assigned a Supervisor and Mentor from their local church or ministry placement.


Supervisors function as a connection between Year 13 and a student’s ministry at church or school. A Supervisor provides guidance and structure to the student’s ministry week, helps students critically reflect on what they are learning in ministry and the classroom, and provides accountability for the student’s ministry and study. Supervisors also help fulfil requirements for some of our Certificate and Diploma students.


Mentors function as a connection between Year 13 and the rest of a student’s life, providing long term nurture and discipleship of students. Mentors can provide a confidential sounding board during the year for students as they process the many new experiences and challenges they face in the program, within their ministry, and life in general. We want Mentors to discover areas for growth and to feel comfortable in challenging the student and moving them in a direction of holiness and maturity.

Further information and resources will be available at one of our Supervisor and Mentor Information Events held at the start of each Year 13 year.
If you have any questions, feel free to contact us at or on (02) 8093 3412.



Application and prerequisites

Is Year 13 only for Anglicans?

Not at all. A third of Year 13 students come from Baptists, Presbyterians, and Independent churches. Please assure your parents and your Pastor that Year 13 is for all Christian young people who are keen to be missional disciples of Jesus.

Your home church will actually see more of you than ever!

When can I apply for Year 13?

Applications are always open and close when all positions are filled.

Do I need to defer a university offer to do Year 13?

Yes. Year 13 is a year of fulltime study for Diploma and Certificate Students and even Audit students will find that their Year 13 weekly timetable is fulltime.

In regards to University deferment it is important to check carefully with each institution what their deferment policy is. If you encounter any difficulties in this process contact us on (02) 8093 3412 or email for assistance.

Do you have an Open Day/Night?

Yes! Open days take place at several points throughout the year. See our Events page for upcoming Open Days/Nights.

Can I join Year 13 if I finished my HSC two years ago?

The Year 13 program is designed for students who finished Year 12 in November, and start Year 13 four months later. We do not usually accept ‘Year 14’ students, but under some circumstances we are happy to make an exception. Please contact us to discuss. If you finished Year 12 two or more years ago, you may instead like to apply for the two-year diploma course in children’s and youth ministry at Youthworks College.

Do I need to have completed my HSC to participate in Year 13?

No. Year 13 is still available to students who left school before completing their HSC (for example, at the end of Year 10), or for some other reason did not complete the formal qualifications of the HSC or its equivalent. Academically, Year 13 is available in three study options:

1. As an audit student with no academic qualifications

2. As a certificate student with Year 10 or equivalent qualifications

3. As a diploma student with ATAR 65+ or successful completion of an entry examination.

For each study option you still need to be the same age of those completing their HSC in the year prior to Year 13. So, in your application you will need to demonstrate that you are at an equivalent life-stage to other school leavers, especially with regard to your life experience and you’ll need to show a willingness to participate fully in all aspects of the Year 13 program.

What will happen in the interview?

The application interview sounds scary, but it isn’t! We simply want to get to know you, and find out whether you follow Jesus and are keen to participate in the program. These are the three key elements. We will pray with you and, under God attempt, to establish whether Year 13 is right for you.

Are the references essential to apply?

Yes. We want to make sure that we are making the right decision by offering you a place in Year 13. Plus, your ministry placement with your home church will be a critical part of the year. So, we want to know that your minister is on board with this, too.

Transport & Accommodation

I live a long way from Sydney, can I still do Year 13?

Yes! If you choose Block mode, then you will travel to Sydney four times a year for intensive lectures, and direct to Fiji—if that’s best for you. Throughout the year, you will continue learning online. That said, even if you live a couple of hours away from Sydney, you can still do Year 13 via Continuous mode and commute each week. In the past, we have had students from Lithgow, Ulladulla, the NSW Central Coast and Newcastle make the trip to Loftus each week

I live Quite close to the Year 13 campus, do I have to stay overnight?

Yes, all students are expected to stay overnight during term time. This is an important part of the community experience.

Do I need to have a car/driver's license to participate in Year 13?

If you don’t own a car or have a license, don’t worry! The Year 13 campus is within walking distance from Loftus train station, and you may make friends you can carpool with. Not having a car or a license will not impact on your ability to fully participate in Year 13.

Are Year 13 students entitled to concession fares on public transport?

Yes, Youthworks College is an affiliated college with the Australian College of Theology (CRICOS Provider Code 02650E). So, all Year 13 students enrolled in the Academic Studies in Theology Certificate or Diploma of Christian Studies are considered full-time students and are entitled to concession fares on public transport. This concession does not apply to audit students.

Church, School and Part-Time Work

Do I have to do Year 13 at my own church?

Yes. Changing churches is a major adjustment, and we encourage you to stay in the familiar environment of your home church while completing Year 13. However, if there is a special reason this is not possible for you, we will consider your application. If you decide you’d like to move to Sydney for the year (rather than studying in Block mode, which we recommended), we can help you find a great church to commit to for the year.

Do I have to do Year 13 at my own school?

No. For students considering a ministry placement with a School you are welcome to apply anywhere. However we do find that those students who continue with their own school for a ministry placement alongside Year 13 manage the year with less complications due to the trust that is already established. While we are usually made aware of which schools are looking for a Year 13 student applications to schools are made direct to each school separate to Year 13.

Is my church or school expected to pay for my days of ministry?

Under normal circumstances, Year 13 students are not regarded as ‘employees’ of their church or school. You are undertaking a ministry placement, so you should think of yourself as a work-experience student. There are lots of issues around being considered an ‘employee’, so we don’t encourage churches or schools to provide Year 13 students with a formal salary or pay. That said, we strongly encourage churches and schools to support Year 13 students as much as they are able. We find many churches and schools generously make a contribution towards their student’s tuition and training, depending on their needs. We also strongly encourage churches and schools to assist and support students in their Fiji fundraising efforts.

Do I have to get a part-time job?

Even if you don’t need the money, we still think that the world of work is an essential part of your Year 13 experience (and your life!), so we encourage all students to find some form of part-time work. If you will be receiving little or no financial support from church or family, we suggest you work one or two days per week. You might work during term breaks, and in the months before and after completing Year 13.

Is one "day off" per week enough?

We think you’ll find one day off is enough downtime, provided you also build in time for recreation during your week. If you’re a Continuous mode student, you’ll get time off between terms, as well as before and after Fiji mission. But if you find the demands of your ministry placement, work and study become too difficult, you can negotiate an additional day off.


If I'm finishing Year 12 this year, can I still study the diploma of theology at Youthworks college, or do I have to do year 13 first?

Spending your life in vocational ministry is a great way to serve and love God’s Church! But going straight from high school into full-time ministry training is almost never a good idea. We strongly recommend you do Year 13 first to grow and develop in your maturity before beginning ministry training. Because Year 13 is a discipleship gap year it’s perfect for Christian school leavers – even those intending to enter vocational ministry in the future.

Can I get a bundle of Year 13 brochures for my church or school?

Yes! Please email or phone us on (02) 8093 3412 to ask for as many as you need.

Can I get someone along to speak about Year 13 at my church or school?

Yes! Please email or phone us on (02) 8093 3412 to discuss.