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Information and advice for young people in Suffolk

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Planning a gap year

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A gap year offers you a wide choice of opportunities where you can learn new skills, gain some experience and build your self confidence.

Work and earn
Many people decide to work at the beginning of their gap year and save money to go travelling later. Start by setting a financial target and work towards it. Be prepared to do something tedious and mindless, and remember a lot of casual work is seasonal i.e. holiday or farm work.

Work and travel
It’s easy to assume that you’ll be able to pick up jobs as you travel to pay for your gap year. Be realistic – if you wouldn’t get the same job in the UK then you won’t get it overseas.

Volunteering overseas
Doing voluntary work in a developing country can be a rewarding way of spending a gap year but it’s not an easy option. Adapting to a radically different way of life, in potentially difficult conditions, will be both mentally and physically demanding.

What do employers and universities think?
Employers and Universities often see value in the skills and experiences gained by taking part in a well constructed gap year. Gapforce have some useful information from a UCAS perspective and an employers viewpoint, they also suggest that you don't need a whole year but can have a great experience in as little as two weeks. For more info, check out the Gapforce website.

Will a gap year affect my UCAS application?
Yes! You have three choices:

  1. The safest choice is to apply for a deferred entry on your UCAS application, but you’ll have to say what you’re hoping to do and why in your personal statement.
  2. Wait until you get your results and then negotiate with the university and ask if they would be willing to let you defer your entry until the next year. Risky!
  3. Finally you could delay applying for a year, and apply during your gap year. However if you’re planning to spend time abroad this can get complicated.

Get organised
A properly organised gap year will impress future employers and give you something great to look back on with a sense of achievement, so don’t miss out. To plan your gap year, find out which organisations can help you.

Year Out Group is the leading gap year organisation, promoting the benefits of structured year out programmes - Time out, not time off! Year Out Group supports programmes which are broadly about learning experiences, and don't include ordinary paid employment. For more info, check out the Year Out Group website.

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