Since UnCollege launched its first Gap Year Program in 2013, Fellows have traveled throughout Mexico, Peru, Tanzania, India, and Indonesia, built portfolios of work in the entrepreneurial hub that is San Francisco, and done everything from score dream jobs, head off to college, land internships, or even start their own endeavors.
We’ve witnessed incredible stories about young people learning to like themselves for the first time, we’ve seen them create their own paths, and have watched them develop meaningful work and friendships. Since 2013, we’ve graduated 150 students from 20 countries who are doing remarkable things in work, in school, and in life.
That’s why we’re excited to announce our next chapter--our rebrand to Year On.
At Year On, we’ve taken the best parts of Uncollege and built a program that works harder to give young people a solid foundation of support and skills to thrive in college and real life. It’s not new information that the college transition is daunting—but what has changed is how students are reacting to it. High school students are increasingly reporting wanting to take time on before college. Questions like Who am I? What do I want to do? How can I make the most out of college? are on the minds of every ambitious high school grad.
We know gap years are shown to benefit academic performance, boost career prospects and readiness, and are incredible opportunities to discover interests, unlock skills, and change perspective. Even schools such as Harvard, Princeton, and University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill actually encourage students to take a gap or “bridge” year, and students who take gap years typically out-perform their peers academically.
Now, we’re here to help them do it. We’re closing that gap with the tools, skills, and habits students need to define their own path to self-reliant adulthood, in college and beyond it.
So why “Year On?”
A gap year isn’t a year off! If anything, a gap year is a way of turning your life on—diving headfirst into creating things you’ve dreamed of, venturing outside your comfort zone, and discovering yourself along the way.
Our goal: Help young people make this year count. The Year On program has three phases, designed to help students venture into the real world with coaches and peers supporting them every step of the way. During the first 10 weeks, students will break their preconceived notions of self and the world while gaining empathy and cultural sensitivity by volunteering at one of five international locations during their Explore phase. Following that is 10 weeks in San Francisco for the Focus phase, where students will meet the rest of their cohort and zero in on what they want to learn. We wrap up with a 12-week Launch phase, where students take everything they’ve learned and make it real—that could be taking classes, volunteering, working on a specific project, or landing an internship. Former Fellows have done everything from serving as an artist-in-residence, working with design thinkers, to UX boot camps.
But ultimately, young people want and need clarity and direction, whatever path they decide to pursue. We believe Year On is the missing piece in the transition between high school and the student’s next step that will give them the confidence, grit, and self-reliance needed to thrive as global citizens.
We can’t wait for this next phase of the journey with you. To learn more about Year On, visit YearOn.com.