Gap Year Options

Are you looking to fill a gap of time between graduating and grad school or something else… settling into a full-time career? A  Gap Year is known also as a “year off”, “year out”, “deferred year”, “bridging year”, “time off”, “time out” or “overseas  experience”.  Also, even though it is called a “Gap Year”, Gap Year options commonly range in length from 6 months to 2 years.  There are many, many ways to “fill the gap”, including working temporary part-time and full-time jobs, volunteering, studying or working abroad, or doing a combination of those things!  Gap Year Options are also often called “Year of Service Programs” because many of the options involve some type of service either here in the U.S. or abroad although there are less service-oriented Gap Year Options also, for example, education-related opportunities and many exciting work abroad options.

Understanding Gap Year Programs (also known as Year of Service Programs)

From teaching overseas or on a Native American reservation, to living on a rural farm working with people with disabilities, you will find that there are thousands of interesting ways to spend a year serving while gaining experience and learning more about yourself and your world. Unique learning, life enriching, and service-related opportunities exist throughout the world. This information will help you consider if a Year of Service program is right for you and connect you with the resources to explore possible options.

Value of Gap Year Options and Service Programs

A Gap Year/Year of Service experience can provide a chance for you to:

  • Learn about yourself and your world
  • Make an impact within an organization or community
  • Test the waters of a possible career
  • Make a difference in an individual's life
  • Gain practical, hands-on, "real life" experience
  • Explore what it means to serve
  • Pursue an interest or a dream
  • Develop new skills
  • Take a break from school or before starting graduate school
  • Experience something you may not have the opportunity to later in life

To learn more about Gap Year options, follow the links to the left.

Note: Many of the above descriptions and resources were adapted from an article written by Jon McConnell, Student Development Programs Director, Haas Center for Public Service, Stanford University and Alice Bergman, Former Director, Reed College Career Center.