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Gap Year Statistics to help take the leap

Date added: Friday 1st April 2016

Thinking about taking a gap year? You're not alone with over 230,000 young people between 18-25 years old on some form of gap year break. Most people recognise that a year out is so much more than a holiday, as some would have you believe.

In fact, a gap year can be a great chance in an otherwise grade-driven, academic culture to explore new countries, broaden your skill set and have experiences that will stand you in good stead for the rest of your life.

If you're finding the prospect of a year out daunting - or if you're struggling to convince parents of the wisdom of taking one - check out these gap year statistics and prepare your case!

60% said a gap year helped them decide what subject to study at university.

‘Do I take a or do I go straight to university?’, is a question that many school leavers ask themselves and it can prove to be a bit of a dilemma, especially when there are concerns about forgetting everything you learned at school. Make sure your consult with the admissions office at your favoured Universities and ask how they would view a deferral but remember there are ways to make your gap year relevant to your degree and

40% of students do not apply to university before embarking on their gap year.

So, if you aren’t amongst the 7% of UCAS applicants who chose to defer entry in order to take a year out in 2015, then take the opportunity to get the very most out of your year out and ensure that you have loads of great experiences under your belt which you can talk about in a future application.

90% of gap year students who originally intended to go university on their return, do so.

Universities approve of volunteer work as it demonstrates you’ve got courage, determination and a sense of adventure, as well as commitment and compassion and likewise, learning a new language, becoming a qualified instructor, getting some work experience or joining an expedition provide you with opportunities to demonstrate the sort of skills any university or employer would want in their students or staff.

66% of students took their academic work more seriously after having a gap year

Humans need change…nobody wants to live a dull, monotonous life. But sadly, many of us end up getting sucked in by our daily routine. Change is essential - variety makes us feel alive, engaged and it helps us grow and learn new things, enabling us to discover more about ourselves and our lives. By giving the brain that well-needed change, it has been shown that gap year students are more likely to graduate with a First or Upper Second class honours degree – so you’ll benefit in the long term, too!

80% of people thought that their gap year added to their employability

Most “gappers” would agree that the experiences they face taking a year out not only look good on a CV, but they return home with a broadened outlook, new friends, and increased confidence. To your potential future employer, you have gained experiences such as planning your year out, working as part of team and making yourself understood in a foreign environment. These all showcase how you are adaptable, push yourself out of your comfort zone and deal with stressful situations in a mature way.

30% of students set off to travel alone-but that doesn’t mean you don’t meet people along the way!

According to a recent study conducted by Booking.com, more travellers are striking out on their own, and feel more fulfilled as a result. The study found that women are now 51% more likely to be the master of their own itinerary than they were 5 years ago, while 23% of men think real adventure only comes from traveling alone. Travelling alone really means following your own itinary for some of all of your gap year and doing the things that interest you rather than simply going with the crowd or doing what your best friend thinks is best - even if it’s not your thing.

For financial reasons, 22% of students feel they cannot commit to take a year out and only 10% of students fully funded their own gap year.

The average gap year will cost £3000-£4000 so most people need to consider a range of money saving and raising options to make sure you can take that trip of a lifetime.

80% of gap year students work in Britain at some point during their gap year

Most gap year programmes don’t last a whole year. This gives you time to raise funds, open a gap bank account to gain interest, start budgeting, planning and making savings where possible. You could babysit, work in a bar, become events staff or even become a professional dog walker or organise some sponsored fundraising events if your gap involves volunteering with a good cause.

20% of parents decide to help fund their child’s gap year

British parents spend as much as £995 million a year helping to fund gap years, but most will want to know that this money will be spent wisely so make sure you research and plan your gap year well,

You can also work while you are travelling. Whether you want to get organised and apply for jobs beforehand or find a job when you get there there are many opportunities to find work including, catering, admin, farm work, instructing, crewing and teaching. You may need to get some experience or training in the UK beforehand or learn as you go, after all a year out is much more than a holiday….

Article is based on an original piece by The Leap (www.theleap.co.uk) which includes references to statistics used.

Other sources:

DFE-RR252 2012 www.gov.uk

www.gapadvice.org