Taking a gap year

A gap year is a year off studying that is normally taken between finishing college and starting university. Typically students take a gap year to travel, but a year out can also be for work experience, to volunteer or to do a course – or a mixture of all the above. Of course, a year out isn’t an option for some, nor does it suit others.

Why take one?


  • It can enhance your CV. Employers value time well spent, and pro-activity
  • It gives students time to think before rushing into another 3-4 years of education
  • It’s a good chance to gain skills and experience, either in your chosen industry
  • To earn money, possibly to fund your university studies
  • It allows for breathing space to figure out what you really want to do
  • To explore what the world has to offer (for details on travelling click here)
  • To mature, so that when you embark on university you are more focused

Disadvantages of taking a gap year

  • It can be a distraction from longer-term plans and getting where you need to go
  • If you don’t organise it quick enough, you may miss out on your desired option and waste the year
  • A year out of studying might make it hard to return to study
  • You may not be able to fund it – this option specifically applies to travel or unpaid work experience
  • You might just want to ‘get on’, and get studying over and done with
  • You’ll be a year behind the majority of your classmates once you get to university

Don’t take the option of a gap year lightly; it’s a very important decision. If you’re going travelling consider where and why carefully, if you’re planning to volunteer make sure you research various schemes and if you’re wanting to gain work experience then it’s a good idea to align it, if possible, with the career you’re planning.

Information obtained from the UCAS website, click here to find out more.