Would a gap year benefit your future?

Whether you choose to travel the world, learn a new skill or gain valuable experience in the work place –a gap year can provide endless opportunities.

But it shouldn’t be viewed as ‘a year off’. You need to make it count because you will want to show future employers that taking a break from your education was worth it.

The time should be spent wisely to make the experience benefit your future.

Travelling is a popular option with many students who take this opportunity to see the world before returning to their studies.

Exploring different countries and cultures can have many benefits and help you to develop important life skills.

Stepping outside of your comfort zone and living and working in an unfamiliar environment will mean you quickly become a much more independent person.

It’s the perfect opportunity to experience a different way of life while standing on your own two feet for the first time.

But while you’re having fun don’t forget to ensure you have a plan of action for when your year is up – whether it’s further study or work.

Another beneficial way to spend a gap year is to use it to build up some work experience – either relevant to the career you have in mind or to help you develop general skills such as IT, language and communication.

Working for a year can also be a way to earn money for university, taking the pressure off your finances.

Work opportunities are not just available at home as many companies run schemes allowing gap year students to work abroad on paid placements.

These might include roles involving working with children or conservation work.

If you don’t feel ready to go on to university or higher education, then this break can also buy you some valuable thinking time before further study especially if you don’t know which course to choose.

Or if you do know but just want to wait 12 months before going, UCAS allows you to apply now and defer your start date by a year. 

This way you can get your results confirmed and hopefully receive an unconditional offer for the following year.

Experience you gain while on a gap year can also make your CV stand out when you start applying for jobs.

Employers could look at hundreds of applications, so offering something different will catch their eye.

But the opposite is also true – if you choose to take a year out but don’t actively take part in anything then this can be viewed negatively by employers.

Consider your options and long-term goals carefully and whether taking a gap year will benefit you later on.

The UCAS website can point you in the right direction of some of the opportunities available if you decide this is the right move for you.