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Gap year - pros and cons

There are pros and cons to taking a gap year

You need to think about how taking a gap year will affect your future plans. A well thought out and planned gap year can look good on your CV and develop useful skills.

Gap years may involve:

  • Paid employment here or abroad
  • Voluntary work
  • Work experience with a relevant company
  • Travel
  • Cultural exchange.

You could do a split year - several months of paid work and then travel.

For

  • Travel - a chance to travel and experience different cultures before concentrating on a career
  • Motivation - time out to be certain about future plans
  • Work experience - if related to career ideas it will be helpful and impress future employers
  • Escape - from study and exams
  • Money - working and saving to help meet the cost of higher education.

Against

  • Finance - how will you fund it?
  • Future plans - some admissions tutors have reservations about students taking a year out so check with the university
  • Work routines - it may be difficult to settle into study again
  • Money - you may miss a pay packet if you have had one.

About 7% of UCAS applicants decided to take a gap year and make a deferred application.

www.yearoutgroup.org gives advice and has links to all leading year out organisations.
www.realgap.co.uk provides advice and information on gap year and student travel abroad.
www.bunac.org/uk offers a range of work abroad and volunteer abroad programmes.