The definition we are using is 'time taken out of education or the workplace, for a purpose' The amount of time for 18-25 year olds can vary from about a month to as long as 15 months. Taking a gap year before university/HE (or indeed not going to uni but going straight to work) is at a special time of life.
Africa & Asia Venture volunteers next to their dhow in Tanzania:
For young people, there are certain key periods when a 'gap' is taken:
Before Higher Education (HE), deferring your place for a year
Instead of going straight onto Higher Education (HE) after school, some students decide to take a gap year. Whether or not to take a gap year before Higher Education (HE) is an important decision to make - a gap year is not right for everyone. There are actually 15 months from the end of school to the start of HE.
- You can do this by:
- Ticking the box in the “defer” column in the “choices” section of the UCAS application form and go on to HE a year later; OR
- Apply as before, but ask your preferred HE Institution for a deferred place when you get your examination results; OR
- Don’t apply as normal, but apply to HE a year later, knowing your exam grade
- Your choice of HE institution and subject should be placed before a gap year decision.
- If you want a gap year, most advisers would recommend asking for a deferred place before examinations.
- There will, however, be circumstances in which applying to HE after examination results are known, with a gap year, is appropriate.
- A gap year is not right for everyone.
- For 2006, deferred to 2007, only 7.3% of accepted applicants deferred a year. So applying for a deferred HE place is not the norm.
- You should consult widely when considering a gap year -- i.e. your school, your family and the HE Institution of your choice.
- A gap year can be defined as “time taken out of education or the workplace, for a purpose”. It needs to be structured to do it, so that HE and future employers can see the benefits to it.
In the Summer holidays, before going to HE (and not deferring a year), giving you a 3 months gap
If you decide to go straight to HE, but really feel you need a complete break and a chance to broaden your horizons in preparation for HE, why not take a gap 3 months? There is enough time to travel and benefit from new experiences.
In the holidays during HE
Long summer holidays are the ideal time.
After HE, before starting work
With or without a job to go to, now is the time to take that gap before launching down your chosen career path.