Journeying from self-discovery to success.

High school students often graduate feeling unsure about their future and rushed into starting college. A gap year provides them an opportunity to explore their passions and develop lifelong skills before making the leap to college.

What is a gap year?

Gap years are a popular route for high school graduates who are looking for a clarifying and stimulating break between high school and college. It’s not uncommon for students to finish high school feeling burnt out and unsure about their next steps, yet pressured to make a speedy transition into university life. Gap years can give students the time to nurture their interests, while building skills that will contribute toward a successful college experience.

Through activities such as traveling, interning, or volunteering, gap years offer an enriching way to gain deeper self-awareness and begin college with more clarity. Despite its name, a gap year is not necessarily a twelve month experience—you can choose to take a “gap” for more or less than a year.

Gap years can be completed in your home country or abroad. Some students even choose to plan their own customised gap year, separate from a structured program.

“I am convinced that one’s college education is greatly enhanced by the maturity, experience, and perspective a student can bring post gap year.”

– Fred A. Hargadon, then Dean of Admissions at Princeton University

What happens during a gap year?

Gap years offer a wide variety of exciting ways to bridge the gap between high school and college. Through gap year programs like Year On, graduates can volunteer, travel, teach abroad, backpack, intern, study a language, receive mentorship, and more. The hands-on interactive nature of gap years are known for nurturing personal growth by giving students a break from traditional learning environments.

Year On's gap year programs include:

Traveling abroad and working closely with local communities

Stepping outside your comfort zone and learning from new experiences

Working with 1-on-1 with a coach to learn more about yourself and your interests

Developing a portfolio or project and seeing ideas through from imagination to completion

Building power skills like self-advocacy, time management, emotional intelligence, and more

Strategizing with your coach to set goals for yourself and your work

Bringing a project to life during a 48 hour work sprint

Diving into a project, class, or internship to further explore your interests

See why our approach to learning works and find out more about our curriculum

Why should you take a gap year?

High school and college students can feel overwhelmed by the important life and academic decisions that they're faced with at the end of high school. Gap years provide them with a healthy structured time to discover their interests and develop the skills to accomplish their goals. Reports show that students who take gap years feel more prepared and confident for life in college and beyond.

Kaplan COO Lorin Thomas talks to Year On CEO Charlie Taibi and Gapper Daniel Purtell about the benefits and challenges of taking a gap year, and whether it’s right for your family.

90%

of students who take a gap year return to school afterwards

73%

of gappers said their gap year increased their readiness for college

96%

of gappers reported an increase in self-confidence

* American Gap Association

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