Advice on university courses and applications
If you feel so passionate about marine conservation that you want to dedicate your career to it, you should have a really good think about what aspects of conservation inspire you, the ways in which you enjoy working (are you a bookworm, do you love getting out in the field or do you like a bit of both?) and ask advice from people working in the areas which hold your interest. Find out which universities have a good reputation for the subject you wish to study, find out what their entry requirements are and get in touch with their admissions team for advice. Figure out which professors would be teaching your courses and read up on some of their work, visit the university and talk with students who are on the courses you are interested in. Think about location, would it be best if you studied close to the coast or close to a certain facility? Is there an opportunity to work or volunteer at a good place close to where you will study? Do you want to go abroad? At this point in the process, the world is your proverbial oyster – just make sure you take time to consider the right option for your future.
Gap year and internships
Not everybody has the privilege to experience an all-expenses-paid gap year but there may be a way you can manage to gain experience and inspiration without being out of pocket. Considering a year out between school and university – or indeed after university – is more often than not an excellent idea. Use this time wisely, prior preparation… is key! Do some research into projects and internships which concentrate on subjects which interest you. Doing this will give you a great starting point to focus your own studies and you will learn a lot about yourself and your motivations.
Talking with people who are in the know is priceless. Go to marine conservation events, science fairs, conferences, fundraising events etc. By meeting people who work in your field of interest, you can learn a lot about the avenues you can take to establish yourself as an interested and pro-active individual. Do your research on people you think it would be good to talk with so you can engage them in conversation about their work and your ambitions.