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Gap year by numbers


04 OZ Patrick Guest

A breakdown of gap year statistics!

Since its birth forty years ago, the gap year has gone from a rare occurrence to an everyday choice. These days gap years are extremely common, with an average of 7% of UCAS applicants choosing to defer entry in order to take a year out, and this number is expected to grow with £9,000 tuition fees now in effect.

  • There’s no fixed number for the amount of students taking a gap year as no one chooses to do the same activity, but in 2012, it was estimated that there would be 2.5 million young people in the UK planning a gap year
  • 20% of parents decide to help fund their child’s gap year, with the rest usually fundraising in order to raise money. On average, a gap year will cost parents £763 per child, though this will obviously differ if you choose to go through an organisation or on a volunteering placement
  • Only 10% of gap years are fully-funded by the individual
  • 30% of gap year students choose to travel alone – the Foreign Office calls these travellers ‘Invincibles’.
  • The average gap year will cost between £3,000-£4,000  – meaning that 22% of young people cannot afford to take a year off
  • British parents spend as much as £995 million a year in helping to fund their children’s gap years!
  • Australians lead the highest number of gap year students; in 1974, only 4% of students opted for a gap year whereas it’s now about 11%. The UK remains at a steady 7%.
  • Although they’ve been around for ages in the UK, the USA are only catching on to gap years – but only 5% of universities and colleges have a deferral policy for prospective students
  • A study by the University of Western Australia discovered gap year students scored better than those who went to university straight from school – an average of 2.3 per cent higher in their first year results
  • 66% of gap year students said that they took their academic work more seriously after having a gap year experience
  • 60% of those who took a gap year said that their year out helped them decide what subject to concentrate on at university, and possibly what they wanted to do as a career
  • 88% of people thought that their gap years had added to their employability
  • 40% of gap year students do not apply to university before embarking on their gap year
  • 80% work in Britain at some point during their gap year
  • Gap year students are more likely to graduate with a First or Upper Second class honours degree than those who go straight to university

It’s very clear that the UK is leading the way for gap year students – and with gap years becoming more popular than ever, it’s more than likely that these statistics will be more impressive during the next academic year.