It is popular to take a 'year out' after finishing A Levels or Highers and there is widespread recognition among University Vice Chancellors, admissions staff and employers, of the positive impact of a constructive year out.
Students apply as for a place at University and when offered a place, they can choose to defer their entry date to the course until the following year, others may have secured training or a job for the following year and may even receive support from their employer.
There is a wide choice of projects to participate in, some of which exclusively accept those on a gap year of this age group. One major factor with most of these expeditions/projects is that there is usually a fee which has to be paid in order to take part. This varies considerably and is usually quite significant if you are planning to go for over 2 months. Fundraising, planning and realistic goals are major aspects of raising the fee, and is a major learning experience on its own.