University & Employer Views

How to make your gap year count
Those that take a gap year on leaving school arrive at university refreshed and focused. They are also more likely to complete their chosen course and get good degrees.

If students need a gap year before university, how much more do graduates need to recharge their batteries before starting a job?

But what do universities and employers really think?


Gap years & university

University admission tutors emphasise time and again that they look favourably on a year out, providing it is organised and well-structured. Students who take a year out before university arrive refreshed, focused and are better able to make the transition from dependence to independence.

Here are gap year views from Birmingham University staff.

If you want to defer your acceptance of a place on a higher education course for a year UCAS advise that you may need to make your case directly to the university concerned for why this would be beneficial.

Here are some tips from HELOA, the Higher Education Liaision Officers’ Association – made up of admissions tutors and university staff out.

Gap years & employers

Employers will be searching CVs and covering letters to spot those that can hit the ground running and be effective almost immediately.

Time and time again those that have enjoyed a well structured gap year program have been able to draw on their gap year experiences to show that they have what it takes.

Successful candidates show a gap year was a deliberate and planned choice, not something they drifted into. They relate what they learnt from the experience and how it changed them.

Finally, they talk about how this time away from work has reshaped their attitude and skills relevant to the job.

So what are the benefits?

“A well-organised gap year is a powerful way of developing many of the personal characteristics that my company seeks in recruits: initiative in planning the year, the commercial and influencing skills often deployed in raising money at the start, the teamwork involved in many projects, the drive that is needed to succeed in a very different environment and the international perspective developed from immersion in another culture.

Above all the experience of tackling a major challenge and succeeding, builds confidence”

Retired recruiter of a major international company

Returning students are often more focused and demonstrate a greater commitment to their studies than their peers. Those going into employment have a greater sense of purpose and better understand what they want to achieve through their work.

Gap Year Guide

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