More young Danes taking a gap year after high school

Some don’t get into their preferred study programs, others need time to learn who they are

Taking a gap year after graduating from high school is again becoming a distinctive trend in Denmark, reports Politiken.

New figures from Statistics Denmark show that last year nearly 36,000 students did not continue with university or college studies three months after finishing their upper-secondary studies.

The share was 76 percent for men and 78 percent for women – a marked increase since 2013.

The popularity of the gap year peaked in 2008 when about 80 percent of all high school graduates took time off from further studies, but then the number started to slowly drop down to about 70 percent.

READ MORE: Union Views: Graduation – then what?

Limited entrance quotas
Jan Svendsen, the head of the student and career counselling centre at the University of Copenhagen, explained that many young people are having a hard time getting enrolled on university courses due to limited entrance quotas and tougher admission requirements.

Last year, every fourth student was rejected in the application process, while in the previous years it was one in five students.

“If students cannot get onto the programs they would like to, we see no issue in taking a year off,” Svendsen told Politiken.

“But a gap year as such does not solve anything. One has to do something and use the time preparing for future studies.”

READ MORE: Danish government presents reform for upper-secondary schools

Developed maturity
Nevertheless, there are many high school students who prefer to take time off after high school to figure out who they are and what they want in life, pointed out Svendson.

“Developed maturity definitely helps people manage their studies,” Palle Rasmussen, an education researcher at Aalborg University, told Politiken.

Fewer options
Additionally, fewer students are now opting to take gap years during their studies.

In 2013, the Danish government introduced the progress reform, which made changes to SU, the student grants scheme, to promote and reward quick study completions.

From January 2016, students who get their degree by a certain time will receive a stipend equivalent to half a month’s grant for every month they are early.