Gap Year Programs

In our article "A Post Graduate Year; what's that?," we discuss rationales - as varied as students - for choosing a transition or gap year before moving on to a student's post secondary endeavors. Some students may need only additional school work; some students may want to volunteer for a year; others may benefit from a wilderness experience.

We've put together a list of programs and resources that provide a starting points for the kinds of experiences that many students and families seek. A separate lists of boarding schools from AQ's database that offer post graduate programs can be accessed from this page as well.

Remember that to be successful, this must be time spent working and growing. Hanging out at the beach doesn't count.

Post Graduate Boarding Schools-- a list of boarding schools offering a PG year.
Bridgton Academy, Bridgton, ME -- a PG-only boarding school.

Educational organizations that offer programs that can bridge the gap between high school and college:

American Field Service
AmeriCorps (Corporation for National Service)
Amigos de Las Americas
Audubon Expedition Institute
Au Sable Institute for Environnemental Studies
British American Education Foundation
Bridges: Study Abroad
Broad Reach
Center for Interim Programs
Earth Corp
Earth Watch
Full Sail Center for Recording Arts
Foundation for Foreign Study
Habitat for Humanity
High Mountain Institute
ICA Journeys
Global Routes
Interlocken/Windsor Mountain
Leysin American School-Switzerland
National Outdoor Leadership School
NACEL Open Door
Outward Bound
Oxford Advanced Studies Program
Pacific Village
Peace Corp
Rotary International Exchange
Sea Mester
Student Conservation Association
Studio Art Centers International Florence
Up With People
The School for Field Studies
TASIS Schools
Where There Be Dragons
World Learning-The Experiment in International Living
Youth For Understanding

The next group of sites offer web portals into the various gap year programs available to students.:

Find a Gap

Taking Off
Where Are you Headed?
The Center for Interim Programs

Related Items


  • This seems like an amazing resource. I have a son who is a senior in high school who is very bright and not achieving due to many factors ~ I will look forward to exploring these possible areas. Ruth Levy, October 17, 2008 11:50 AM
  • Ruth, thanks for the kind words. Let us know if you find additional programs along the way. We're always looking to build on our list. Best of luck, Peter Peter Baron, October 17, 2008 11:56 AM
  • Here's one more for the list - Map the Gap International. Offers 5 international gap year programs that feature language and cultural immersion and community service. Jim Minor, November 24, 2008 8:03 PM
  • The correct web address for City Year is, not Anonymous, March 11, 2009 5:36 PM
  • Anonymous, thanks for feedback. I checked and it looks like City Year owns the .com & .org addresses and point both to the same site. I appreciate you taking the time to check-in, Peter Peter Baron, March 12, 2009 1:00 PM
  • thanks for this list, i found it useful as someone looking to find a position in international education! Kate, April 1, 2009 11:14 AM
  • I am looking for a gap year program before I start college, I have been accepted but prefer to do a gap year. I cannot afford an expensive program (i.e. 20K or so) but still want a quality program. I am fluent in spanish or near fluent....any suggestions for me?? I will be eighteen in November, 2009. And I find that many programs require me to be 18 at their start. Can exceptions be made??/ What are some good ideas for my experience?? Joel Feier, May 6, 2009 10:18 PM
  • Hi Joel, Brian Fisher writing from AdmissionsQuest- we saw your comment. While I'm not an expert in gap year programs, I'll make a few suggestions regarding your ideas and thoughts. First, I would focus the search. Decide what type of program you want- volunteer, paid, urban, rural, service, domestic, international? Isolate the programs that you like; then, ask them your questions. I will suggest one service program based on your Spanish abilities- -Amigos de las Américas. Amigos is service organization that works in central and south America. It's volunteer but a great program. I took a quick look at their web site and they're still accepting applications. Hope this helps. Best wishes, Brian Fisher, May 7, 2009 8:13 PM
  • Hello AdmissionsQuest! I just noticed that your list is missing a link to Thinking Beyond Borders. It is an educational non-profit based in the US that offers 35 week gap year programs. The itinerary involves intensive exploration of international development issues like poverty, the environment, and HIV/AIDS. Programs include traveling with 16 students and three teachers to complete service learning projects with locally based NGOs, homestays, and engage a powerful curriculum. For those looking to change the world, there's no better place to start than Thinking Beyond Borders... Robin Pendoley, May 22, 2009 7:30 AM
  • Thank you Admission Quest for providing a space for those interested in taking a gap year. I would like to add our program, Brown Ledge Gap Year, to your list. We are a fall semester program that teaches documentary skills; video, audio and photography. After four weeks of training, our students then travel throughout the US and do two, six week residencies in Salt Lake City and New Orleans. During their residencies, the students work at a non-for-profit of their choice and create their own documentaries. And to answer Joel's question - we do take students who are under 18. Our only requirement is that the student needs to have graduated high school and that the student is excited to explore the US! Kim, June 3, 2009 9:51 AM
  • This is a great sight, but I wanted to do a gap year WITHIN the US... all I see is abroad programs... can someone point me to a PG year that doesn't go outside the country? Gabrielle West, June 25, 2009 2:22 PM
  • This looks to be a fantastic resource and it is great that you are encouraging young people to get out there, do something worthwhile and discover potential within themselves that they may not realise exists. One more for your list - Quest Overseas ( - We specialise in team projects and expeditions in Africa and South America and although based in the UK we are open to applicants from across the globe. We work closely with local project partners to ensure the work our volunteers do is worthwhile and sustainable. Also...a good independent website to take a look at when thinking about joining a volunteer program is This contains some very useful advise on how to choose an organisation and volunteer project which will be beneficial and worthwile both for you and the local community. Sarah, July 14, 2009 4:10 AM
  • My son just had an amazing year working with Projects Abroad. He lived in Shanghai for three months (working at an Australian-Chinese business journal and living with young people from Scotland, Australia, and the Netherlands among other places) and then went to Cochabamba, Bolivia where he spent another three months teaching English at the University there, while in a homestay. It was an incredible year, and the Projects Abroad people both in the US and overseas were helpful, friendly, and reliable. Projects Abroad is also very inexpensive compared to many other programs, maybe because they don't hold the kids' hands; you have to be pretty independent although there's a strong safety net. I definitely recommend that anyone interested in a fascinating international gap year check out their site. Nancy, September 19, 2009 3:07 PM
  • Make sure to check out they have some amazing gap year programs Will Abeles, December 16, 2009 6:00 PM
  • Come check out Seize the day. Seize the journey. Seize your life! Audrion Bird, December 21, 2009 1:24 PM
  • Another very successful and highly recommended gap year program to add to your list: El Casal (in Barcelona, Spain) Best regards, John John Rosen, June 9, 2010 8:28 AM
  • Hello, im a student from Albania, i want to ask more about these kinds pf programs to go abroad like an exchange student but im 12 years old. do i have an opportunity?? please reply if u know. thankss a lot! alesia, June 29, 2010 9:13 AM
  • Hi Brian and Peter, Are you still looking for programs for this list? I just started working for a fantastic new organization that I would love to add: Global Citizen Year, which provides a year-long training and immersion program in the developing world. You can see more on our website, and I'm happy to share more information via email. Thanks! Molly Sterns, January 5, 2011 3:34 PM
  • My son wants to be a photojournalist, but plans to have a gap year of traveling the U.S. before starting college. Is there a program that you would recommend for him to accomplish this? Thanks! Sylvia Brown, January 10, 2011 1:20 AM
  • My two sons are higly interested in participating in a program helping others with in the US. please get back to me Thanks Donna donna lucas, January 22, 2011 8:24 PM

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