Gap Year

Some students will decide to take a gap year between finishing their A Level programme and starting at university, or with an employer or on an apprenticeship programme. A gap year gives you the opportunity to focus on things that you wouldn’t normally do and to develop your experience of the world.

It can be spent doing any number of things at home or abroad. Students will typically look to do any combination of the following things during a gap year:

  • Paid employment
  • Travel
  • Volunteering/charity work
  • Work experience
  • Further learning

If you are thinking about taking a gap year, some of the ways in which you can prepare for this include:

  • Researching the different options – this is key
  • Researching the pros and cons of different options
  • Thinking about what you will do in your gap year early on
  • Preparing mentally and physically for any travels
  • Planning how you will fund your gap year
  • Acquiring the basic skills that you will need e.g. budgeting, food hygiene, safety tips

Universities generally value the maturity and focus of young people who have taken a gap year; these students are often more prepared for university than those who go straight there from Sixth Form. However, some universities are less keen for students to take a gap year prior to starting certain courses with them, so it is important that students check how individual universities view a gap year in relation to the course that they are intending to study.

Employers value the life skills such as initiative, communication and decision-making skills, character, confidence, financial planning and achievement of goals that students who have taken a gap year can show on their CVs.

Going to University after a Gap Year

If you are planning to go to university after a gap year, and if you know what you want to study at university, you can still put in a UCAS application in the Autumn Term of Year 13, applying for university with deferred entry. In many ways, this is the easiest option as it allows you to directly access information, advice and guidance on your UCAS application from the Careers team at Northgate.

Ex-students who are applying for university during their gap year, will still make their UCAS application through Northgate High School, as the school is their last place of study. We offer a range of support to our ex-students to assist them to submit a university application, including a one-to-one Careers guidance appointment, guidance on completing the UCAS form and feedback on the personal statement.

If you are planning to apply for university in a gap year, please complete the Ex-Student UCAS Form and return it to Mrs Calder. You will also need to collect a current copy of the ‘Applying for University & Apprenticeships’ booklet, from the Careers Suite, to guide you through the application process.