What is — and What Isn't — a Gap Year Program?
What is — and What isn't — a Gap Year Program?
A gap year allows you to learn as much about yourself as you do about the world, and in turn improves your education and your career. But in order to answer “what is a gap year,” it is probably easier to start by defining what it is not. There are a lot of misconceptions surrounding the concept of a gap year, so let’s tackle a few of them right now.
It's not a "gap."
At Global Citizen Year, we don't like to think of the year after high school and before college as a "gap" in the literal sense. A gap is an empty, wasted space, and this time in your life should be the exact opposite. Instead, we think of a gap year as a bridge or an opportunity, carrying you from one phase of your life to the next. With the right design, a gap year becomes a launching pad for success in college and beyond.
It's not a remediation.
It's a selective program designed for driven youth who want to enter college with the advantage of real world experience.
It's also not just for the privileged.
Gap year programs are for students of all economic backgrounds, not just for privileged students to jet set around the world. Scholarships, loans, and other financial aid are available for gap year students. In fact, 80% of Global Citizen Year Fellows receive financial aid.
It's not just a volunteer program.
While you will be making an impact in the local community through your involvement with a local organization, think of it more as an apprenticeship. The idea is for the experience to teach and benefit you. Rather than coming in to "save" a community, you'll work alongside locals on projects that matter to them.
It's not studying abroad.
You will learn a lot. And you can even earn college credits. But this is not a study abroad program. This is a real-life experience abroad where you happen to learn lessons that cannot be taught in a classroom. With a gap year, you aren’t just a student of a new culture, you become part of it.