"A common misconception is that you’ll be so unsettled going on a gap year before going to university that you won’t be able to settle back into studying life when you return," says Victoria Philpott of gapyear.com.
"There’s no denying that for some people this may be true – you never know what you’ll discover about yourself on a gap year – but for the majority this time out is essential to take stock and grow up and university becomes more interesting and worthy."
Philpott's company, a travel advice website and social network, describes gap years as "kind of like studying, but a million times better". Philpott, who has taken three gap years, adds for many, straight after school is the perfect time to take a gap year.
"After burn out from A Levels and being stuck in a classroom for 13 of your 18 years it’s time to get out there on your own and see life beyond school."
So what are the benefits to taking a gap year? Philpott gives us her take on the advantages of a year out.