Taking A Gap Year Could Ruin Your Life

Photo: flickr/edgarbarany

Gap year students are more likely to have skipped school, smoked cannabis and earned less by the age of 30, research suggests.The study found those who took a gap year before university were more likely to indulge in risky behaviour but less likely to have faith in their own abilities and feel in control of their own destiny.

The Centre for Analysis of Youth Transitions study covered several thousand gap year students. It took data from two surveys; one of people who took a gap year in 2008–09 and another of people born in a particular week in April 1970.

The study found that more than 20 per cent of gap year takers had played truant by 16, compared with just under 14 per cent of those who went straight to university.

One survey also suggested that more than 8 per cent of gap year students had tried cannabis by the time they were 16, compared with under 6 per cent of those who went straight to degree courses, the report said. By 30, gap year takers tended to be earning less, it added.

The report identified two gap year types, those who planned to take a year out and had typically accepted a place at university and those who took an unplanned break, who did not have a degree place.

Both types had lower ability beliefs, felt less in control of their destiny and were more likely to engage in risky behaviour.

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