Female student taking notes in lecture

Should you defer your place?

Weigh up the pros and cons of deferral

Deferring your university place and taking a year out before starting your degree can be a great opportunity to travel, get work experience, save money or take a break.

Before you make any decisions, there are some things to think about. If you decide to take a year out, contact admissions@port.ac.uk or globaladmissions@port.ac.uk (international students) to find out if you can defer your place.

Please be aware that not all courses allow for deferral. Please check with your Admissions team for the latest information.

Things to consider before deferring

The information below can help you weigh up the pros and cons of deferring to guide your decision.

Transitioning from college to uni

Taking a year away from your studies can refresh you, but it can also make it harder to get into the routine of studying when you do start uni. Going to uni straight from college means you're more likely to remember how to study. You'll also be more practiced in skills such as research methods and time-management. But a year out can also give you time to work on your study skills if you don't feel confident enough to start uni just yet.

You're committed to your course once your defer

Once you've applied for deferred entry on a course, you're committed to taking your place the following academic year.

If you change your mind about the course you've been accepted to study, you won't necessarily be able to change your course choice. Instead, you'll have to contact the us to withdraw your place and apply again for your different chosen course.

If you decide you want to start your course the same year you apply and cancel your deferred entry, you'll need to contact your admissions team by email to request the change.

Learn new skills

Lots of people take a year out before uni to get work experience and develop skills other university applicants might not have. You could use the year out to take online courses that could help you when you start uni, set up and run a side hustle or business — there are lots of options.

Check out our work experience advice for hints and tips for sourcing work or volunteering experience during your year out. Upskilling can give you the ability to boost your career, give you a better understanding of topics on your course and let you learn in the workplace.

Save up money

If you find work during your year out, you can save some money before you start uni. 

If you go straight to uni, you'll be supported by your student loan and you can find a part-time job to do alongside your studies.


Many students defer university to travel or work abroad during their gap year. If you aren't sure where to start, check out the UCAS guide which has links to travel and international volunteering opportunities too.

Take time for unexpected situations

You might be going through an unexpected personal situation that you need time to focus on. Delaying your uni start could give you the breathing space you need.

If you were planning on leaving home to go to uni but your personal circumstances mean you can no longer leave home and you don't want to defer, you could apply to us or you could do a degree that's taught online.

Find out about the distance learning courses we offer and what it's like to study online with us. Not all courses are offered online, but we have a wide choice available.

Not having a plan

A gap year passes incredibly quickly and taking one without a plan can be a waste of a year. While it's good to take a break and refresh when you need to, you don't want to feel like you've wasted a year while your peers moved forward. If you do defer your place, make sure you've got a plan for how you'll spend the next 12 months.

How to defer your university place at Portsmouth

Not all of our courses accept deferred entry. Contact us to check if you can defer entry onto your course. Get in touch with our Admissions Team on admissions@port.ac.uk or globaladmissions@port.ac.uk for international students.

If it's possible to defer your course, you can apply for deferred entry when you complete your UCAS application.

If you decide to defer after you've applied or received your offers, contact us as soon as you can. You can usually switch to deferred entry up until the original start date of your course.

It's important to note that you still need to meet your course conditions in the same year you apply.