Gap Year: Resources and Programs
An increasing number of colleges recognize the value of taking a year off between high school and college; this choice / experience is referred to as a “gap” year. Students can spend this year traveling, working, doing community service, and generally maturing. Below are some links to gap year programs, books, opportunities, etc.
Aspire by API: Aspire by API is a division of Academic Programs International, an educational organization that has been sending university students abroad to study since 1997. Aspire by API is dedicated to providing comprehensive summer study-abroad programs for high school students as well as gap year abroad programs for recent high school graduates. http://www.aspirebyapi.com/
Brown Ledge Gap Year: Brown Ledge programs are designed to give students the chance to live on their own and to learn from experience in a supportive and guided way. The skills they will gain—from cooking meals, to holding a job, to planning and executing ambitious documentary projects—are designed to help students get the most out of college as well as preparing for life as an active, curious and involved citizen of the world. http://www.brownledgegapyear.com/
Center for Interim Programs, LLC: Founded in 1980, the Center for Interim Programs is the first and longest-running independent gap-year counseling organization in the United States. Interim has designed creative gap-year opportunities for more than 5,700 people of all ages and built relationships with organizations worldwide. Interim's database encompasses more than 5,600 program opportunities. http://www.interimprograms.com/
City Year: City Year unites young people of all backgrounds for a year of full-time service, giving them the skills and opportunities to change the world. As tutors, mentors and role models, City Year participants help children stay in school and on track, and transform schools and communities across the United States, as well as through international affiliates in Johannesburg, South Africa and London, England. http://www.cityyear.org/
Council on International Educational Exchange: Since 1947, CIEE has sent more than 50,000 U.S. youth to locations around the globe. These programs allow U.S high school students and recent high school graduates to study abroad, to live with a native host family, work abroad, and/or volunteer, and to challenge themselves on a new level by becoming fully immersed in a language and a new culture. http://ciee.org/hsabroad/
Sojourns Abroad: Programs in Siena and Paris including language study, home stay accommodation, art & art history, social service, midweek excursions, weekend travel, outdoor adventures, and cultural enrichment. The programs ground participants quickly as residents in their chosen city. Sojourns Abroad is a stimulating respite from the restricting demands of both traditional academic paths and conventional study abroad programs. Sojourns Abroad is for those who want some time away from being over-scheduled and from the expectations of others. http://sojournsabroad.org/
Taking Off: Taking Off is a highly personalized service working with anyone who takes time before or during college or later in life. Taking Off works closely with each person to develop a plan to insure that “stopping out” does not become “dropping out." Taking Off helps clients explore and identify interests, evaluate priorities and secure experiences tailored to their specific needs. http://takingoff.net/.
USA Gap Year Fairs: This is a national circuit of events that bring together reputable Gap Year organizations, interested students and parents, high school college counselors, and the Gap Year experts. These events are designed to provide students with a broad exposure of Gap Year Programs and the opportunity for face to face conversations with the people who work in the field. http://www.usagapyearfairs.org/index.html
Walking Tree Travel: The mission of Walking Tree Travel is to inspire high school students to become global citizens by taking an active interest in the world around them. Walking Tree specializes in cultural and linguistic immersion programs to Costa Rica, Senegal, China, Nicaragua, Guatemala and Mexico. http://www.walkingtree.org
Where There Be Dragons: Dragons programs are authentic, rugged learning adventures that expose the beautiful and complex realities of the countries in which students travel. Featuring extended itineraries, Dragons programs encourage deep immersion into strikingly different physical and cultural landscapes, combining the best in experiential education, travel, service learning, and physically and intellectually challenging experiences. http://www.wheretherebedragons.com/
Woolman Semester: The Woolman Semester is a Quaker-founded semester program for students in their junior, senior or gap year of high school interested in studying social justice and environmental sustainability. The mission of the Woolman Semester is to empower students to effect change in the world on their terms. http://www.woolman.org
World Wide Opportunities on Organic Farms (WWOOF): WWOOF started in the UK in 1971 and is now a worldwide network helping people share more sustainable ways of living. In return for volunteer help, WWOOF hosts offer food, accommodation and opportunities to learn about organic lifestyles. http://www.wwoof.net/