Do I Apply This Year?

Some students take a year-out between finishing school or college and starting university. This is often called a gap year.

  • About eight per cent of applicants are accepted for deferred entry to the following year.
  • In general, gap years are a good thing. It is possible to go travelling or work full-time to earn some extra cash and gain valuable experience.
  • If you choose your opportunity carefully, you could develop the kind of maturity and enterprise that will help with your studying and your future career.
  • In particular, being able to demonstrate sustained commitment can be attractive to employers.

There are a number of reputable organisations that can help you organise your gap year. They have ready-made activities, take care of some of the practicalities and have a proper concern for safety and security. 

On the other hand, a gap year means it will be one year later before you are in the job market and earning a salary.

  • If your chosen course is a long one, this could be a consideration.
  • In a few subjects it may take you a little while to get back into serious study – but most students soon catch up again.

If you are thinking about taking a gap year you can apply to UCAS during your final year at school or college – or after you have received your results – as a 'deferred applicant'.

  • When you are filling in the on-line application, indicate that you wish to defer for one year when you complete the Choices section.
  • This should mean that you get your university place sorted out before starting your job or travels and so don't have to worry about it during your gap year.
  • Also, if things go badly wrong in your examinations and you don't get a place, you do get an opportunity to rethink your career options or resit your exams and still start at university when you planned to.
  • As a general rule, universities are happy to consider deferred applicants but, if the prospectus does not make a clear statement about the university's policy then check first.