Return of the gap year

University fee rise marks the return of the gap year

It's official and you heard it here first; the gap is back! We're seeing a significant rise in the number of people looking to take a gap year at the end of 2012 and at the beginning of 2013 which can only mean one thing - more people are taking a gap year!

UCAS have just released their application figures for 2012 and they're down 8.9% compared to this time last year, reinforcing the fact that more students are considering a gap year.

UCAS found that around one in 20 British18-year-olds, around 15,000 people in total, didn't apply for university when usually they would have done.

This will be first year group to face higher tuition fees of up to £9,000 per year, and with university applications falling due to higher fees, school leavers are looking for productive alternatives. A gap year is an increasingly popular option, often costing less than a year at university.

Recently we commissioned a survey of HR professionals asking whether there's any added value in employing someone who's taken a gap year. The results show the gap is back and more valuable than ever, with 73% agreeing that taking a constructive gap year backpacking, volunteering or working abroad is a worthwhile experience for young people.

At Gapyear.com HQ we've seen the highest number of sign-ups in two years, reflecting the rise in gappers seeking to enhance both life experience and gain transferrable skills.

Macca Sherifi, gapyear.com spokesperson, said: "We're seeing more and more people planning a gap year towards the end of the year and into 2013. If you're not going to university this year then go on a gap year! It's expected that university fees are going to fall in 2013, so deferring entry and going on a gap year could be one of the best things you can do right now.

"Taking a gap year is one of the most life enhancing experiences you can have. There's a world of opportunity out there, whether that's travelling, volunteering or working abroad, and those that travel truly have one of the best experiences of their lives!"

Are you deferring entry into university this year? When are you planning on taking a gap year?

If you're planning on taking a gap year then check out our article on gap year ideas and head to our planning section for advice and information - who knows, maybe it'll inspire you to travel...