Taking a year out
This page flags up some things you need to consider before deciding to take a gap year and tells you where you can find out more.
You can take a gap year at any time in your life, but many people do so after studying for A levels or equivalent level-3 qualifications.
A year out can give you the chance to experience all sorts of things. You can take the opportunity to:
- do some volunteering in the UK or overseas
- get a paid job – in this country or abroad
- spend some time travelling
- take a course – in anything from first aid to computing
- a combination of the above
Depending on what you do, a gap year can:
- give you time to think about your future career
- help you develop as a person and gain new skills
- give you the opportunity to get experience related to a career that interests you – this may be helpful or necessary for entry to jobs or training in certain health careers
- allow you to earn some money to help fund your future studies
Before committing to anything, also think about any negative effects a gap year could have. It may make it harder for you to get back into work or study on your return. If you don’t use your gap year wisely, future employers or university admission tutors may not be impressed.
If you want to take a gap year before university, you usually have the option to apply for a deferred place but always check with the universities you’re considering applying to! Make sure that in your university application you explain why you want to take a year off and what you hope to gain from it.
Particularly if going abroad, you need to do plenty of research. Investigate such things as placement costs, insurance, accommodation, visas etc. Find out what support, training and supervision will be available.