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Information, Advice and sources of support for young people in Suffolk

Planning a gap year

gap year offers you a wide choice of opportunities where you can

  • learn new skills,
  • gain some experience
  • 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.

Doing voluntary work in another country can be a rewarding way of spending a gap year but it’s not an easy option. Try VSO | Voluntary Service Overseas (

Adapting to a radically different way of life, in potentially difficult conditions, will be both mentally and physically demanding.

But volunteering doesn’t mean going abroad! There are many charities and community organisations in Suffolk which offer long-term volunteering placements that are just as rewarding, and will help you develop your skills and confidence.

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.

To pick up experience valued by employers and universities you don’t need a whole year but can have a great experience in as little as two weeks. 

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. Decide how much you can afford and what your priorities are. Use the links below to get started.

Year Out Group
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.

Camp America
The chance to spend your summer in the U.S.A. living and working either with children or ‘behind the scenes’ as support staff on an American Summer Camp.

Gap Force
Compare all your options in one place, and chat to your own dedicated gap year advisor.

Gap Guru
Gap year help and advice, and programmes and internships in Thailand, Peru, Cambodia, Nepal, Tanzania, Romania, Chile and India
Lots of information, advice, and products to help with your gap year plans.

The original gap year charity specialising in volunteering for 17-25 year-olds, with programs and placements which will allow you to work all over the world doing volunteer jobs that can make a difference.

Mind the Gap Year
A package of services including backpacker insurance, an ‘electronic document safe’, travel products and help with planning ahead for your gap year.

Year in Industry 
Paid placements for students in their gap year before or during their degree course. Opportunities exist in all areas of engineering, science, IT, e-commerce, business, marketing, finance and logistics.

Year Out Group 
A very good starting point, packed with information and lots of useful links.

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Page updated on May 16th, 2024 at 02:43pm