15 weeks


Our Semester Experience is a virtual 15-week program featuring 5 weeks of life design, 10 weeks of skill-building, a volunteer project, and a professional externship.


DESIGN Curriculum +
Volunteer Project
Phase One: 5 weeks

February 2 - March 5


Skill-building curriculum +
Phase two: 10 WEEKS 

March 8 - May 14

Option to live away in one of nine U.S. cities
while you study with us. Some examples:

Brooklyn, New York

Eclectic museums, trendy shops, and endless happenings are hallmarks of Williamsburg. The G/L and J/M/Z trains are all in close proximity providing easy access to Manhattan and all of Brooklyn, perfect for a long walk, speedy cycle, or quick drive to the Lower East Side.

Chicago, Illinois

Set in the Heart of Chicago, the Lower West Side a historic district given new life through some of the best that the city has to offer. Celebrated for its authenticity and vibrant style,  this neighborhood is located close to downtown Chicago and the Illinois Medical District.

Los Angeles, California

Mid-City L.A. sits at the heart of it all, only minutes away from Hollywood, Beverly Hills, and Downtown L.A. The complex is brand new, having opened in September 2020, and featuring spacious six-bedroom, six bathroom floor plans.

Co-living in one of nine U.S. cities with our housing partner.

Private bedroom, furnished with a nightstand, lamp, and a comfy bed. Common living spaces fully furnished with quality pieces.

Weekly cleaning of all common spaces to ensure a healthy and friendly environment.

Kitchens outfitted with high-end appliances, dishware, and other essentials. Laundry, utilities, household essentials, and WiFI are all included.

Year On does not moderate the housing experience nor provide any administration over it. Students will make their own arrangements directly with our approved housing partner and receive a $1,000 discount off the cost of a four month lease. I

Co-living means that students are placed in apartments with their own private bedrooms while sharing common spaces in the same apartment with other residents. If Year On students choose the same location for their housing, they can elect to live together within the same apartment.

Your Semester Experience is comprised of two phases

Phase 1 - Explore

5 Weeks
Feb 2
Mar 5
Start Phase 1 on Aug. 31
DESIGN Curriculum
two hours every morning

Start every day by participating in our Design Curriculum

Start designing your life based on your values and goals. You’ll be an active learner who first digests the topic of the day and then debrief in small groups led by one of our community coordinators. You will gain a deeper connection with how/what you learn by understanding and designing your own perspective.

What you’ll learn

  • How to set goals
  • How to create healthy personal habits
  • How to create effective work habits
  • How to design your life
  • How to create your community

Why it’s important

Designing your life is helpful for wherever you choose to go after Year On: college, a job, an internship. Learning the skills to be a self-directed and not a passive learner will strengthen your sense of purpose and help you find your “why.”

Virtual Volunteer Project
TWO HOURS Every Afternoon

Then, volunteer with an organization you want to support

After your morning of refining your values system and what is important to you, you’ll develop a self of self through helping others. Your afternoons will be a continuous reminder of Year On’s philosophy that strong individuals create stronger communities.

Choose a field you’re excited about:


For those who want to support the next generation

Volunteering for an education group is a great option for fellows who want to create meaningful connections with young people who are looking for extra support with their schoolwork. Fellows will work with underserved communities and foster a love of learning in a virtual after school setting.

Virtual Volunteer Project examples
  • Provide one-on-one virtual tutoring in Math, Science, English, or Writing
  • Support underserved communities with homework help 
  • Teach English as a Second Language to American refugee communities.
Social Justice

For those who want to fight for change

The task of changing the world happens one step at a time, by people motivated to do the work. By volunteering with an organization in this space, you will be contributing to forward movement for families, communities, and the world at large.

Virtual Volunteer Project examples
  • Work on public awareness campaigns 
  • Translate material for front-line organizations (best for bilingual speakers)
  • Create research material around little-known issues affecting the public 

For those interested in public health

Volunteering for a health-focused organization is a great option for anyone with an eye toward pre-med or public health. You’ll gain experience tracking and responding to community health issues, learning the fundamentals of emergency medicine, and an opportunity to advocate for improved health practices. 

Virtual Volunteer Project examples
  • Learn emergency health crisis response 
  • Educate the public on health related causes
  • Advocate for better health practices 

For those who are civically minded

Volunteering for a political campaign online will be an entirely new experience. Fellows will have the opportunity to support your candidates with virtual canvassing, voter registration, and designing social media campaigns. Outside of the presidential elections, get involved with a cause you believe in, including climate action, reproductive justice, immigration, and LGTBQ+ rights. 

Virtual Volunteer Project examples
  • Register voters
  • Design educational materials to help students understand the election process
  • Virtual canvassing

For those dedicated to environmental advocacy

Volunteering in the field of environmental conservation gives fellows an opportunity to positively impact the environment by advocating, and educating online to fight climate change. Fellows will develop skills in building social media campaigns, blogging, and producing educational materials. 

Virtual Volunteer Project examples
  • Raise awareness on the effects of plastic use, littering, and pollution 
  • Design environmental educational materials
  • Virtually teach composting or tree planting  
End Phase 1 on Oct. 2

Phase 2 - Focus

10 Weeks
Mar 8
may 14
Start Phase 2 on Oct. 5
Foundational and Professional Skills
two hours every morning

Continue by learning practical skills to set you up for your next steps

During this time you'll continue to work with coaches and peers to help you build on your strengths and identify areas of improvement. Building on Year On’s Design Curriculum, our Foundational and Professional Skills Curriculum helps you build skills for life and work. Personalized coaching allows you to get the focus you need to help set goals, learn valuable practices, and break down barriers.

What you’ll learn

Understand how to complete high-quality work and grow your skills. Learn how your new skills guide your future career aspirations and choices.

  • How to manage your time effectively
  • How to manage projects
  • How to share stories
  • How to build professional relationships
  • How to search and interview for a job

Why it’s important

44% of students who graduate college are underemployed and more than 60% say that college didn’t prepare them for their first job.

That doesn’t need to be you.

After building your portfolio you’ll realize all of the transferable skills you’ve learned that are applicable across industries and jobs.

Our coaches are full-time professionals at leading companies and organizations, including:
TWO HOURS Every Afternoon

Finally you’ll contribute your unique skills to a company and gain relevant work experience

Complete an eight-week externship with a real company who is an industry leader and making incredible impact in the world. Externships are your ticket to a front row seat to an experience most students don’t get until their senior year of college. CEOs, partners, and executives will share their expert advice and mentorship to see you grow and succeed in your program.

Choose an externship in an industry of interest:


Gain experience with potential externship positions like:

Venture Capital Analyst

Creative Digital Marketing

SEO Marketing and Content Creation

Social Media Marketing Intelligence

AI Advertising Data Training & Analysis

Music Artist & Music Label Business Development

In addition to time with your host company your EXTERNSHIP includes:
  • Weekly manager check-ins with your peers to ask questions and learn from each other
  • Self-paced, online video and written training that teaches key skills and explain how to complete your projects and tasks
  • Written and real-time feedback on how to improve your work
End Phase 2 on DEC. 11

Have questions about this experience?

What do I do during the two weeks of focus that I am not in my externship?

Before your externship starts, we will work with you on the professional development needed to prepare for your externship.

What’s the difference between an externship and an internship?

Internships and externships are very similar in that they are time-limited jobs that provide purposeful, short-term work experience in a professional setting. Externships are typically shorter in duration than internships, are generally unpaid, and are intended to give students a short but meaningful professional experience that can aid in their path to career.


The cost of the program in $7,995. Students may opt to earn up to 18 semester credits for their work in our program through a partnership with Portland State University, and there is an additional cost of $1,700 for this academic coursework. This administrative fee is set by Portland State University and the Gap Year Association, and it covers enrollment in special student status at Portland State, grading, and registrar costs.


No, but we take care to match our participants with one of our coaches based on a number of factors, the most important of which is impact potential. 

What if I don’t like my coach?

Our coaches are enormously skilled and enjoy working with young people with diverse interests. It doesn’t happen often, but if the match between participant and coach is not proceeding well we’ll intervene, and if the situation is untenable we’ll match you to a new coach.

How are coaches matched to students?

We look to match our participants with a coach based on the potential for learning outcomes. Our coaches are working professionals who are working in a variety of fields, many of which will be relevant to the interests to an individual student. Coaches share professional savvy from their own work experiences and help contextualize that for the participants they advise based on the interests of the individual. For instance, a skill we focus on in the program like negotiation would be applied differently for a participant interested in entrepreneurship versus another participant focused on the performing arts. It isn’t just about learning the skills; coaching adds the depth and insight and perspective of working professionals that show how those skills can be applied with professional etiquette. Some of the companies at which our coaches are employed full-time include Google, Lyft, University of California San Francisco, Airbnb, Fire Capital Management, Newsela, Coach, Zapier, PopEd - The Education Studio, Story Count, Foundry College, Diversibility, Tesla, and Microsoft.

Do I get to pick my volunteer opportunity?

Yes, you’ll be able to choose from a variety of virtual volunteer options to select one that matches your interests most closely.

Can I earn college credit for this program?

Yes, academic credit can be earned by those wishing to do so. Students have the option to earn up to 18-quarter hours (12-semester credits) of college credit through Portland State University via a partnership with the Gap Year Association (GYA). Students interested in earning academic credit for their gap experience at Year On will be enrolled in a non-degree seeking student status at Portland State University where they’ll choose from more than a dozen courses specifically designated for participants in gap year programs like Year On. All coursework can be completed remotely. Assignments include reading, journaling, and writing, and there is a significant amount of flexibility in terms of how you can tailor your focus of study within each course. Since Portland State University is an accredited institution through the Northwest Commission on Colleges and Universities, coursework completed at PSU is widely accepted throughout the country at both public universities and private institutions. To ensure that PSU credit will successfully transfer and not interfere with a deferral plan, we encourage students to contact their college or university’s admissions office directly.

Can I use 529A funds for this program?

Possibly, and only if you’re planning to earn academic credit. According to current federal guidelines on 529 plans, funds can be withdrawn without penalty to pay tuition and fees at any postsecondary educational institution with a federal school code. Portland State University’s federal school code is 003216. However, It’s always best to consult your 529 plan manager and a licensed financial planner before making any financial moves with your tax-advantaged college fund.


Program Dates

Phase 1: explore
February 2 - March 5
Phase 2: Focus
March 8 - May 14
Total Time
15 Weeks


Program Cost:



$1,000 off the cost of a four month lease. Book directly with our housing partner.

optional College Credit:

Up to 18 transferable credits


  • A full-featured community of like-minded individuals
  • Volunteer experience
  • Real world marketable skills through the professional externship
  • Repeatable framework to set goals and follow through
  • Portfolio of projects in areas you’re interested in

Other Year On Programs

Year Experience

Looking to take a full gap year? Check out our Year Experience starting in September.

YEAR Experience

Flexible Experiences

Looking for a fast track program? Check out our Flexible Experiences.

Flexible experiences