Students who take a year off before they enter university mature earlier than their peers who come straight to university from high school. Taking a year off to travel foreign places, volunteer or work full-time will give you real world experience.
Taking a year off to discover who you really are can help you zero in on what you might want to do with the rest of your life. Many students, who thought they knew what they wanted to major in, realized that they did not enjoy working in their presumed major after they delved into their gap year of full-time work.
Students who lack basic study skills may run into difficulties at university. If you feel that your grades or your study skills are not up to par by the time you graduate from high school, you may want to consider taking a gap year to improve yourself academically.
If you are going to university because that's what your parents want you to do, then you may have a hard time appreciating what university has to offer. As you work long hours with very low pay in a gap year experience, it won't take you very long to realize that in order to get ahead in life, you need a university degree.
You get to take some time out from writing essays and assignments, and gain some breathing space and valuable time to take stock of what you want from life.
As you organize your personal gap year program, you will take on responsibility like you have probably never known before. Those who organize their own gap year experiences will have the challenges of planning where to go, how to get there, how to finance the excursion, where to live, where to work, etc.
Invariably, your gap year experience will involve meeting and working with strangers. Participating in teams at an early age will develop valuable teamwork skills for future life experiences.
With travel potentially involved, and through other facets of your gap year, you will likely have to learn to manage your money.
Many universities will look very favourably at students with gap year experience, as they have an older, more mature candidate, who has likely travelled, may have learned another language, and is exposed to a broad variety of situations. Some will also defer admission quite easily.