Properly constructed gap years are supported by:
The Association of Graduate Recruiters (AGR):
According to a survey by the Association of Graduate Recruiters (June 2007), 88% of recruiters think a well-structured gap year helps equip you with the soft skills you may not have acquired while studying. Vice chairman Terence Perrin says: "Overall, gap years are viewed very positively. Communication skills, leadership, organisation and motivation are all important. One thing that impresses employers is that graduates come back more mature and with more insight into themselves and the world. I think recruiters recognise that after a year's travel there's a lot more to bring to the table. They have left the security of their home looking for a new challenge and for that you need independence, motivation and confidence."
& the Universities and Colleges Admissions Service (UCAS)
'Each year thousands of UCAS applicants opt to defer entry to university or college. Taking a gap year gives you a rare opportunity to enjoy new experiences and learn new skills. Whatever you’re interested in, this is your chance to try something new, so make the most of it. A well-structured and planned year out can set you apart from others when going to university or looking for work, so it is essential that you carefully plan and prepare for your gap year. Many employers and universities will look favourably on applicants who have used their year out to gain valuable experience. Whether it’s travel, paid work, volunteering or studying that you’re interested in, don’t waste this opportunity to try something different!' (see www.ucas.co.uk)
What do universities think?
Not all universities have the same attitude, so check with them
A gap year makes a long course very long!
- Sort out your uni place before you go. It’s not easy 6000 miles away
- You could still ask to defer your promised place after your results
- For some students, decisions are made after their A level results
If you don’t get the grades you want, take advice:
- Look at Clearing
- Retake exams and fit in a gap year
- Contact your 1st choice anyway
- Carry on with your gap year and apply with the same results
Young people's views:
‘ I knew at 16 that I wanted to take a gap year. For me there would be no way I could cope with going into another three years of education. This year has given me the biggest confidence boost in so many different ways and I feel that I am now more focused and ready for what ever lies ahead at university’.
Amberlee Foote, who went to the USA with GAP Activity Projects.
'Volunteering in Africa was everything that I wanted it to be and more. Asides from the project itself, the friendliness of the people, the fantastic opportunities available for travel and exploration within the country, and the friends that I made throughout my time in Ghana made it the best experience of my life.'
Robert Jones, Primary school teaching and working in an orphanage, with REAL Gap.