I want to go to university next year but how can I explain the three year gap

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cocobutter01
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I had finished my A-Levels around 3 years ago, I want to apply to university for the 2021-22 academic year but I have no idea how to explain that gap. I had tried to go before but I dropped out due to mental health reasons that I'm still dealing with. I am in a much better position than I was and I know by the time my course starts I'll be in an even better place.

However I have no idea how to explain the gap, I don't really have anything to show for it- all I did was work, but I barely saved any money, I ate away whatever I made. More so, I don't know how I'm going to explain it when I'm applying for jobs, but I that's something to worry about later.

I intend to apply to Russell Group/Top ranked universities as my grades were quite strong especially in the subject related to my course, which probably means it'll be even harder to waffle my way through it lol.
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Thisismyunitsr
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(Original post by cocobutter01)
I had finished my A-Levels around 3 years ago, I want to apply to university for the 2021-22 academic year but I have no idea how to explain that gap. I had tried to go before but I dropped out due to mental health reasons that I'm still dealing with. I am in a much better position than I was and I know by the time my course starts I'll be in an even better place.

However I have no idea how to explain the gap, I don't really have anything to show for it- all I did was work, but I barely saved any money, I ate away whatever I made. More so, I don't know how I'm going to explain it when I'm applying for jobs, but I that's something to worry about later.

I intend to apply to Russell Group/Top ranked universities as my grades were quite strong especially in the subject related to my course, which probably means it'll be even harder to waffle my way through it lol.
Presumably you don’t have an actual gap on your CV right? You worked throughout the entirety of those three years?

In which case you’ll be fine. Just say that you have been working and saving up money and preparing for the next stage of your career. Don’t mention the mental health stuff in your PS you can mention that on the UCAS form.
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AgnosticHaruspex
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Focus on positives. Use your progress from the depths of your depressive episodes to where you're at right now with your mental health as a display of your overall resilience and determination.

Show evidence of self reflection (basically what thought processes prompted you to decide that session 21-22 was appropriate for you to try HE again) in order to bolster your case that the last three years have been necessary for you to have the best possible chance at succeeding at university.

Go into detail about your experiences during those years (why didn't you save much money? were you supporting yourself or dependents etc).

Future employers shouldn't look down on you for having a mis-start; they may actually look favourably on it as it shows that you have developed necessary life skills at a young age relative to your peers.

Good luck in your application and may I ask what you're hoping to study?
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Xarao
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They won't care about the gaps as much as you think. You just said you was working, just say that? You can also turn it into a positive, by saying that you used the time to develop yourself and now feel ready for university.
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harrysbar
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(Original post by cocobutter01)
I had finished my A-Levels around 3 years ago, I want to apply to university for the 2021-22 academic year but I have no idea how to explain that gap. I had tried to go before but I dropped out due to mental health reasons that I'm still dealing with. I am in a much better position than I was and I know by the time my course starts I'll be in an even better place.

However I have no idea how to explain the gap, I don't really have anything to show for it- all I did was work, but I barely saved any money, I ate away whatever I made. More so, I don't know how I'm going to explain it when I'm applying for jobs, but I that's something to worry about later.

I intend to apply to Russell Group/Top ranked universities as my grades were quite strong especially in the subject related to my course, which probably means it'll be even harder to waffle my way through it lol.
I don't see a problem - just list your grades and the fact that you were working in the period between school and now. I think you are overestimating how hard it is to get into a top ranked uni - mainly they just care about grades with the exception of Oxbridge and a few particularly competitive subjects
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cocobutter01
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(Original post by Thisismyunitsr)
Presumably you don’t have an actual gap on your CV right? You worked throughout the entirety of those three years?

In which case you’ll be fine. Just say that you have been working and saving up money and preparing for the next stage of your career. Don’t mention the mental health stuff in your PS you can mention that on the UCAS form.
No sorry, I meant an academic gap but what your advice makes sense. Maybe I overthought how deep universities would look into the gap.
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Kogomogo
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If you worked then you can use that to explain your gap, it doesn't matter that you don't have a pile of money left over from it. Think about what experience that work gave you and use it to your advantage. Did you work well with customers, perform in a busy / challenging environment, organise your time effectively, help others, manage your own money (rent, bills etc)?

Also think about what has changed about you / your life between now and then. Why do you feel able to go to uni now? What experiences have you had during that time which has helped you to improve and grow to get to where you're at now, where you feel you are now ready for the challenge of uni? Actual work experience in the real world can do a lot to develop your character, as well as any other experiences you may have had.
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cocobutter01
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(Original post by AgnosticHaruspex)
Focus on positives. Use your progress from the depths of your depressive episodes to where you're at right now with your mental health as a display of your overall resilience and determination.

Show evidence of self reflection (basically what thought processes prompted you to decide that session 21-22 was appropriate for you to try HE again) in order to bolster your case that the last three years have been necessary for you to have the best possible chance at succeeding at university.

Go into detail about your experiences during those years (why didn't you save much money? were you supporting yourself or dependents etc).

Future employers shouldn't look down on you for having a mis-start; they may actually look favourably on it as it shows that you have developed necessary life skills at a young age relative to your peers.

Good luck in your application and may I ask what you're hoping to study?
I'm looking to study English, just so I'm clear, do you think I should mention what I've been dealing with? Most people are saying I shouldn't go to deep into it with out being asked to.
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cocobutter01
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(Original post by Xarao)
They won't care about the gaps as much as you think. You just said you was working, just say that? You can also turn it into a positive, by saying that you used the time to develop yourself and now feel ready for university.
I'm probably just going to do this, add a little razzle dazzle and I should be alright. Thanks lol
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Kogomogo
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(Original post by Thisismyunitsr)
Presumably you don’t have an actual gap on your CV right? You worked throughout the entirety of those three years?

In which case you’ll be fine. Just say that you have been working and saving up money and preparing for the next stage of your career. Don’t mention the mental health stuff in your PS you can mention that on the UCAS form.
Might be a silly question and maybe i've not got that far into the application yet but where can you mention stuff like that on a UCAS form that isn't in the personal statement section?
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cocobutter01
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(Original post by harrysbar)
I don't see a problem - just list your grades and the fact that you were working in the period between school and now. I think you are overestimating how hard it is to get into a top ranked uni - mainly they just care about grades with the exception of Oxbridge and a few particularly competitive subjects
To be honest one of my biggest problems is overthinking and this probably just another case of that. I probably will just explain it as a period of time in my life where I was focusing on just working and developing myself.
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harrysbar
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(Original post by cocobutter01)
To be honest one of my biggest problems is overthinking and this probably just another case of that. I probably will just explain it as a period of time in my life where I was focusing on just working and developing myself.
Yes I wouldn't go into too much detail - all they really want to know is whether you seem like you have a good interest in the subject and whether you have the grades they are looking for. They won't care about what jobs you did unless they are somehow relevant to the subject, or how much money you made or anything like that.
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ten_imnida
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(Original post by cocobutter01)
I had finished my A-Levels around 3 years ago, I want to apply to university for the 2021-22 academic year but I have no idea how to explain that gap. I had tried to go before but I dropped out due to mental health reasons that I'm still dealing with. I am in a much better position than I was and I know by the time my course starts I'll be in an even better place.

However I have no idea how to explain the gap, I don't really have anything to show for it- all I did was work, but I barely saved any money, I ate away whatever I made. More so, I don't know how I'm going to explain it when I'm applying for jobs, but I that's something to worry about later.

I intend to apply to Russell Group/Top ranked universities as my grades were quite strong especially in the subject related to my course, which probably means it'll be even harder to waffle my way through it lol.
I really think that you should just go for it, explaining your health reasons should be enough. If you have any letters from doctors that should help too. I don't think they won't except you just because you took a few gap years, especially if you got strong grades. I'm sure you'll get in Good luck
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AgnosticHaruspex
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(Original post by cocobutter01)
I'm looking to study English, just so I'm clear, do you think I should mention what I've been dealing with? Most people are saying I shouldn't go to deep into it with out being asked to.
Legally they can't discriminate against you for having mental health issues. It's up to you whether to include some information relating to your past experiences with regards to your mental health. If you can spin it in a way that empowers you then absolutely do include it. If you interview for your course I'd maybe judge whether to bring it up or whether to leave it depending on the personality of the interviewer. Hope this helps!
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Thisismyunitsr
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(Original post by cocobutter01)
No sorry, I meant an academic gap but what your advice makes sense. Maybe I overthought how deep universities would look into the gap.
They should be absolutely fine. In addition I think the vast majority of employers won’t care about your gap either
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StDave
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'all I did was work'.

That pretty much explains your gap. You worked, no problem.
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Joleee
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you don’t have to explain a gap. all you have to do is explain why you’re interested in the degree you’re applying for and why you’re qualified to study it. people of all ages go to uni and they don’t need an explanation why they didn’t go at age 18. honestly uni isn’t an assumption or an automatic availability for everyone. have you looked into personal statements online? what did the author write about?
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Olddreamer
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I would mention the mental health issues and dropping out of uni at that time, then subsequently working as starting university is not something you can hide. Your ucas information and national insurance number was linked to your original student loan. Even though you dropped out it's imperative that you mention this as the universities will easily find out you dropped out and could kick you out for withholding this information as everything is processed via ucas.
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Muttley79
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(Original post by cocobutter01)
To be honest one of my biggest problems is overthinking and this probably just another case of that. I probably will just explain it as a period of time in my life where I was focusing on just working and developing myself.
Your PS should just say why you want to do the course and that you are now ready for further study [no great detail]. Add any skills you developed at school/work - maybe use the PS builder on here? Don't be negative
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studymango
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(Original post by cocobutter01)
I had finished my A-Levels around 3 years ago, I want to apply to university for the 2021-22 academic year but I have no idea how to explain that gap. I had tried to go before but I dropped out due to mental health reasons that I'm still dealing with. I am in a much better position than I was and I know by the time my course starts I'll be in an even better place.

However I have no idea how to explain the gap, I don't really have anything to show for it- all I did was work, but I barely saved any money, I ate away whatever I made. More so, I don't know how I'm going to explain it when I'm applying for jobs, but I that's something to worry about later.

I intend to apply to Russell Group/Top ranked universities as my grades were quite strong especially in the subject related to my course, which probably means it'll be even harder to waffle my way through it lol.
working is enough to be honest - just show your interest in the subjects really
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