In most cases, we are neutral about Deferred Applications, and prefer to leave it up to individual candidates as to whether they want to come straight from school, or to have a gap year. It makes no difference to candidates’ chances of receiving an offer: as far as we possibly can, we treat all applications in any single round alike, such that the proposed year of entry makes very little difference to the outcome.
In English and Engineering, our Directors of Studies strongly encourage a gap year. For English students, the chance to gain wider personal experience and maturity is seen as particularly important. For those planning to read Engineering, a gap year represents a chance to gain work experience in an industrial setting, and this experience is usually an advantage in the course. However, if candidates in these subjects do not wish to take a gap year, this will make no difference to their chance of receiving an offer.
Naturally, we hope that candidates applying for deferred entry will have a clear and interesting plan for their year, and this may be a subject for discussion at interview. However, we do not try to prescribe ideal ways of spending this time, or expect that it should be directly related to the proposed subject of study. We do suggest that Deferred Entry candidates who gain a place should allow themselves time to get back into their reading and problem-solving in the weeks before they come up to Clare, to ease their return to academic life.