The Student Room Group

Did anyone take a gap year to get into a better university?

I was predicted 3xA*, A*A*A seems doable but got rejected from all my choices but York Uni (offer is 3 As), which is understandable as I made some (in hindsight) poor choices. (Applied for Computing at: Cambridge, St Andrews, ICL, Edinburgh, York).
If I were to take a gap year and reapply, I'd apply to some easier to get into places and redo my personal statement but York does seem like a good university. To be honest, I'd rather not wait another year before starting uni but I feel I could've applied somewhere better such as Durham, Exeter or Bristol.

If you took a gap year for a similar reason I'd be grateful if you could share your experience, advice etc. Did you do a work placement during it and/or spend a long time working on things to add to your personal statement? Did you still feel motivated to study after a year away from it all? Did you manage to get into somewhere better?
I'm in a similar situation. I applied for maths at cambridge, imperial, UCL, bath and loughborough with 3A* predicteds and got rejected from the first 3. I know Bath is good but I can't help but wonder if I could get into better unis if I take a gap year. I'd probably apply to Warwick, LSE, Imperial(I'm better at problem solving now so hopefully won't f up the admissions test again). I know warwick gives offers to most maths applicants because the offers itself are difficult but I'm sure I would have met it by then. Only thing is I think gap years for maths applicants are frowned upon apparently and I'm not completely sure taking a gap year is worth it to just go 3 or 4 rankings up.

I know this doesn't answer your question but I just wanted to share and let you know you aren't the only one going through this.

I'd also like to know if someone has taken a gap year before for this reason and had it go well.
Original post by Jeparlepas
I'm in a similar situation. I applied for maths at cambridge, imperial, UCL, bath and loughborough with 3A* predicteds and got rejected from the first 3. I know Bath is good but I can't help but wonder if I could get into better unis if I take a gap year. I'd probably apply to Warwick, LSE, Imperial(I'm better at problem solving now so hopefully won't f up the admissions test again). I know warwick gives offers to most maths applicants because the offers itself are difficult but I'm sure I would have met it by then. Only thing is I think gap years for maths applicants are frowned upon apparently and I'm not completely sure taking a gap year is worth it to just go 3 or 4 rankings up.

I know this doesn't answer your question but I just wanted to share and let you know you aren't the only one going through this.

I'd also like to know if someone has taken a gap year before for this reason and had it go well.


Hi @Jeparlepas,

I know you mentioned Loughborough. I just wanted to say that if you have any questions about Loughborough that would help you with making any decisions, please do let us know. We're happy to help!

- Lindsay
(edited 1 year ago)
My friend couldn’t get the right offers with predicted A*AA for Alevels in 2022 for drama, so took the year out, worked in a hospital cleaning, attended more university open days and interviews / workshops as well as doing amateur dramatics and travelling to Asia for her gap year, this year. She is a more relaxed person now. Has grown up a huge amount and got into Warwick drama which is what she wanted. She definitely benefited from taking that option.
Thanks for the responses everyone, I've spoken to some more people and the general impression I got is that yes, many people that take this route get into the uni they wanted to (as @beebop72 said) but you definitely need to plan something to do in that year that will improve your application.
I spoke with my tutor and they got in contact with some CS employers and the general consensus is that it doesn't really matter which uni you go to, more about the quality of your degree (1:1 or 2:1 etc) and what you have experience with. Hope this helps a bit, @Jeparlepas
I've still not completely made a decision, but definitely leaning more towards going to York now since it has a lot to offer and spending a whole year waiting to go to uni doesn't really appeal.
Original post by GapYeahOrNah
Thanks for the responses everyone, I've spoken to some more people and the general impression I got is that yes, many people that take this route get into the uni they wanted to (as @beebop72 said) but you definitely need to plan something to do in that year that will improve your application.
I spoke with my tutor and they got in contact with some CS employers and the general consensus is that it doesn't really matter which uni you go to, more about the quality of your degree (1:1 or 2:1 etc) and what you have experience with. Hope this helps a bit, @Jeparlepas
I've still not completely made a decision, but definitely leaning more towards going to York now since it has a lot to offer and spending a whole year waiting to go to uni doesn't really appeal.

I met an ex York CS student yesterday by chance who did undergrad and PhD at York. Sounds like a good option!
Original post by GapYeahOrNah
Thanks for the responses everyone, I've spoken to some more people and the general impression I got is that yes, many people that take this route get into the uni they wanted to (as @beebop72 said) but you definitely need to plan something to do in that year that will improve your application.
I spoke with my tutor and they got in contact with some CS employers and the general consensus is that it doesn't really matter which uni you go to, more about the quality of your degree (1:1 or 2:1 etc) and what you have experience with. Hope this helps a bit, @Jeparlepas
I've still not completely made a decision, but definitely leaning more towards going to York now since it has a lot to offer and spending a whole year waiting to go to uni doesn't really appeal.


Thanks! I also just don't think a gap year is for me so I might just go to bath since they have a pretty good year in industry scheme and try and get a strong 1st to do a masters elsewhere.
Hiya I'm in the same(ish) position. I'm predicted A*AA, and was interviewed for Oxford for history and english however was thereafter rejected (awful history interview), and have been rejected from Edinburgh and Durham, which were both of my other preferred unis. I have an offer from York and from Royal Holloway, however I have visited both and have no enthisiasm for them, or particulalry want to go. I think I will definitely do a gap year, but it's all just so anxiety inducing. I'm hoping to reapply to other unis this time, depending on what grades I actually get. Any advice for going down this route would be greatly appreciated too! I applied to all for History and English Literature joint honours, but now I just want to do English Literature, so I'm even changing my degree course.
Hello, I am not quite in this situation but I am in a predicament that has similar outcomes and so I thought to share it on here.

I am currently in year 12 but with my personal situation the school has said to consider doing home/online education (in short), but that would mean I would have to do a repeat year. Due to this, I have been looking at different courses for me to do etc and have found loads on places like Open Study College, and not just traditional academic subjects but hobbies as well, which would be good to boost your application if you were to do a gap year. Not to mention volunteer/internship abroad programmes relating to the field your interested in are a great option. I was surprised when I saw that I could volunteer for as little as 2 weeks- good if you want to stand out and not be away from home for too long.

Anyways, Even though I am not doing a gap year I am having to do a repeat year so I wanted to do certain things to make me stand out. Though if you are worried about losing motivation to go back to studying a year later I would recommend doing a course related to what degree you want to do so that you can show that you have passion and are a determined, disciplined person- which in interviews may help you.
Original post by GapYeahOrNah
I was predicted 3xA*, A*A*A seems doable but got rejected from all my choices but York Uni (offer is 3 As), which is understandable as I made some (in hindsight) poor choices. (Applied for Computing at: Cambridge, St Andrews, ICL, Edinburgh, York).
If I were to take a gap year and reapply, I'd apply to some easier to get into places and redo my personal statement but York does seem like a good university. To be honest, I'd rather not wait another year before starting uni but I feel I could've applied somewhere better such as Durham, Exeter or Bristol.

If you took a gap year for a similar reason I'd be grateful if you could share your experience, advice etc. Did you do a work placement during it and/or spend a long time working on things to add to your personal statement? Did you still feel motivated to study after a year away from it all? Did you manage to get into somewhere better?


I didn't take a year off specifically to reapply to a better uni but it definitely was a factor. Rejected from Cambridge last year and decided whilst I was already taking a year off might as well reapply. I think that gap year is such a big decision however that unless you're actively unhappy with ur choices I'd not recommend it if it's for no other reason than to get into a better uni. I've loved my year off, just spent my time working however, and it can sometimes be lonely with everyone off at uni. Also although I got accepted from Cambridge thus year, I got rejected by UCL which was my firm last year, so if I hadn't got in I dunno where I would've gone lol. Keep that in mind as you don't wanna risk losing a uni place that you may well be happy with on a gamble.
hi! I just wanted to say that I'm in a similar situation - I really want to go to UAL but I've decided to go for a one-year fashion course at a college near me to boost my application a bit (no idea if its going to work) and just build my knowledge but still. I was rejected when I tried to apply for this September but hopefully next September will be looking better as I'm on a gap year now; I've booked a short course, doing some volunteering work and start at the college in September :smile: I'm quite satisfied that I've took a gap year to figure things out and improve my chances a little bit, I'd say I recommend it if you want to reach little higher to go to your dream uni. try not to compare yourself to others, I know it can be a bit hard seeing everyone else enjoying themselves at uni but you can enjoy yourself doing the things that you love! Gap years don't have to be boring, in the meantime try a new hobby, volunteering, travelling etc. it's much better than just unhappily rushing into a uni you don't want to go to. good luck!

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