Gap Years

Why take a gap year?
• To get off the 'study treadmill'.
• Could help you become more independent
• For work experience (essential for some university courses).
• To improve your university application and CV.
• Earn money.

It takes planning
• You need to apply early for some projects.
• You have to explain your plans in your UCAS application.
• You may need visas, permits, immunisations.
• You may need to raise money first.

If you go travelling, think about safety:
Work out the safest travel routes and places to stay and check that any organisation you deal with is legitimate. Always tell people where you are.

Ideas for a gap year
You will strengthen your university application if you choose activities that will give you the skills and experiences needed for your studies.
• Employment - either related to your future course or casual work, to raise money.
• Voluntary work.
• Learning new skills.
• Travelling.

Plan your UCAS application
You have two options:
• Apply while you're at college/sixth form for 'deferred entry' the following year. Check first that your chosen university is happy about this.
• Apply a year later. This keeps your options open but it may mean going to interviews or open days during the year.

Many admissions tutors support a gap year but always ask what they think before applying.

Gap Year organisations
These organisations can give you information, ideas and practical advice. Some also organise activities, for which they normally charge a fee.
Year Out Group
Camp America

Books and leaflets
Gap-year Guidebook, The: Everything You Need to Know About Taking a Gap-year or Year Out
Taking a Gap Year: The Essential Guide to Taking a Year Out
A Year off . . . a Year on? (Student Helpbook Series)
Planning Your Gap Year: Hundreds of Opportunities for Employment, Study, Volunteer Work and Independent Travel

Volunteering is a rewarding activity that can also give you work experience. Check out CSV

Year in Industry Scheme
This organisation arranges paid work placements across the UK, check YINI

You can take a gap year at any age. If a gap year doesn't feel right for you now, don't worry; many students take one after university or later in working life.

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