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Gap year

ONE in five students now takes a year off before starting university. Most universities look favourably on students planning a gap year, provided it can be shown to be beneficial. Taking time off to learn a language, or to gain extra skills such as word processing and shorthand, can increase a student's employment prospects on graduation. But while many students go in search of adventure a growing number are motivated by the need to earn money to help fund their way through college. A recent survey showed that one in six students now takes a gap year to earn money, compared with one in 25 five years ago.

Useful contacts: Gap Activity Projects, a charity specialising in overseas placements, mainly teaching English as a foreign language, conservation work and caring. Currently places 1,400 students. Helpline (until August 27) tel 0118 956 2908; address GAP House 44 Queen's Road, Reading, Berkshire RG1 4BB.

Year in industry, a charity which places around 750 students, mainly high-fliers, in 300 UK companies. Tel 0161 275 4396. E-mail applications: www.yini.org.uk

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