Bridging the gap: who takes a gap year and why?

David D. Curtis, Peter Mlotkowski, Marilyn Lumsden

Research output: Book/ReportCommissioned reportpeer-review

2 Citations (Scopus)
2 Downloads (Pure)


Taking a break between completing high school and entering university is common overseas, and is becoming more popular in Australia. There are many reasons why young people take a gap year. It may be to travel, to take a break, to study, or to work. Our definition of a 'gapper' is a young person who commenced university one to two years after completing Year 12. While the concept of a gap year is related to the deferral of a university offer, it is different. Some gappers have deferred, others decide to enrol during their gap year, not beforehand. Similarly, some who defer a university offer subsequently do not take up a place and are thus not defined as gappers. This report was prepared for the Department of Education, Employment and Workplace Relations in 2009 prior to the Australian Government's announcement of proposed changes to Youth Allowance as an initiative in the 2009-10 Budget and the subsequent reforms based on recommendations from the Review of student income support reforms (Dow 2011). The research uses data from three cohorts of the Longitudinal Surveys of Australian Youth (LSAY) to throw light on the incidence of gap-taking, the characteristics of those taking a gap year, the activities undertaken in the gap years, and subsequent study and employment outcomes. The report also looks at whether there is any evidence that young people were taking a gap year in order to qualify for Youth Allowance payments.

Original languageEnglish
Place of PublicationAdelaide
PublisherNational Centre for Vocational Education Research
Number of pages59
ISBN (Print)978-1-9220-5604-7
Publication statusPublished - 2012
Externally publishedYes

Publication series

NameLongitudinal Surveys of Australian Youth - Research Reports
ISSN (Print)1440-3455


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