A Level results: '1000s' now debating going on a gap year 

Just do it!

And they're out. 300,000 people across England, Wales and Northern Ireland got their A Level results today. A good proportion of those got the results they wanted and they're off to their chosen university in September ready to take on Fresher's Flu and the uni life they've heard so much about. For others it's back to the drawing board. 

And on that beautiful drawing board is the prospect of going on a gap year. 

With recent reports of A Level gradings toughening up, Bs not being quite good enough, and exams just being damned hard anyway, today has left thousands of potential university students wondering 'Should I go on a gap year?'.

From helping out in schools in Belize, to working with orangutans in Borneo, to learning to surf and working in a bar in Australia or chilling on the beach in Thailand, the answer is yes. After this knock to your confidence, taking a year out to reassess, think, resit and reapply could be the best thing to happen. It certainly was for Sana Sheikh, who's off to start her 5-year medicine degree after taking a gap year to do volunteer work last year.

Rafting on River Pai gap year fun

Amar Hussein, author of Escape Guide to The Ultimate Gap Year says:

Taking a gap year to work, volunteer, travel or study can be one of the most rewarding, exhilarating and educating life experiences you can have.

And we agree. 

With university fees ever increasing, a gap year can be a perfect option for anyone not totally sure of their life path to find out what they really want from life and rev up the energy to go for it. Go on a gap year and you can work as you travel, volunteer or save up loads of cash before you go and opt for a short gap instead. The opportunities open to anyone debating going on a gap year are endless. 

If, like over 55,000 people in 2012, you're looking for clearing advice take some time out to check that that's really what you want to do. In today's world where everyone seems to have a degree a well spent gap year could set you apart from the rest of the graduate crew. University will still be there when you return.