Skip To Main Content

Logo Image

Eureka High

Logo Title

Committed to challenging and developing all students to become highly competitive, responsible and productive members of society

Taking a Gap Year

GAP YEAR refers to experiences that a high school graduate can take part in between their high school and college years.  A high school senior has been going to school for at least 12 years.  That does not count kindergarten or pre-school.  A gap year is the time to explore and experience new activities and opportunities.  Students doing a gap year are taking the time to figure out who they are and what they want out of life.  Students can take part in internships, community service, travel programs and volunteer opportunities.  Below is a listing of programs that are better known.

Things to consider before taking a Gap Year:

  • Why do you want to do this?
  • What do you hope to learn from this experience?
  • What type of program are you considering--local, national, international?
  • What is the emphasis of the program--academic, volunteering, internship, teaching, getting certified in a skill, etc.?
  • What is the cost, is it a factor and how can I supplement the cost?
  • What are the health requirements (vaccinations) needed?
  • What are safety issues I need to be aware of when traveling?
  • How will I stay in touch with my family and friends?

Americorps is the national service program through which 40,000 people each year tackle community problems from disaster relief to tutoring.  Adults from 18 and 24 can choose from thousands of programs.  These include a living allowance, healthcare and money towards college once the program is completed.  Americorps State and National and Americorps NCC are for recent high school grads.

Audubon Expedition Institute (AEI).  AEI is an accredited, traveling undergraduate, graduate and dual enrollment program.  AEI offers higher education that offers immersion in a variety of environments and cultures, critical reflection, and experiential learning communities.

Bridge Year. The BridgeYear offers six different GAP year Spanish study abroad programs in Santiago, Chile and Buenos Aires, Argentina.  You can study Spanish for one semester or one year and you can spend your time in one or both countries.

Brown Ledge Gap Year is a program for young people taking time off during college and between high school and college to explore regional America through documentary production.

Building Bridges for Coalition. This is a project of the Brookings Institute on International Volunteering and Service--a consortium of leading volunteer organizations, universities and colleges, corporations and government agencies working collaboratively to double the number of international volunteers serving abroad.  Over 10,000 opportunities are listed on this site.

Disney CareerStart Program is a seven-month structured living, learning and earning program for high school grads who are unsure of their future path and are looking for a new experience that will provide them more than just a job.  Participants design a curriculum, completed courses and learning activities.  While working at the theme parks and resorts, participants will gain real-world experience, network with Disney leaders, and become apart of a team.  Available in Anaheim, CA and Orlando, FL.

Dynamy is the oldest and only residential internship program in the country.  They offer young people 17-22 full-time mentored internships in over 240 organizations.

Earthwatch.  Earthwatch Institute is an international non-profit organization that brings science to life for people concerned about the Earth's future.  Founded in 1971, Earthwatch supports scientific field research by offering volunteers the opportunity to join research teams around the world.

GlobalQuest is a nonprofit, experiential study abroad program offering summer and semester programs in Thailand and Ecuador/Galapagos Islands.  The semester programs are designed for high school seniors and students seeking a meaningful learning experience between high school and college.  The six-week summer programs are for rising juniors and seniors and recent high school grads.  The programs include homestay, service, language classes and leadership training.

Jewish United Fund Israel and overseas programs are available in Israel that offers a number of unique opportunities for personal growth and development in a variety of settings.  There are programs which allow one to skim the richness of life in Israel as well as those designed for serious in-depth study.

National Outdoor Leadership School  NOLS takes people of all ages on real wilderness expeditions, teaching outdoor skills, leadership and environmental ethics in some of the world's wildest and most awe-inspiring classrooms.

Outward Bound is an international federation of over 50 schools on five continents which offers students a safe, adventure based program with learning options.

Rustic Pathways offers customized gap year experiences for motivated students interested in taking time off from school to travel the world.  Gapping the globe is an experience that matures you, broadens your horizons, and provides a reality check at some point between finishing high school and graduating from college.  It can be from three months to a year in length or a January term adventure.  It can include travel in one country or more; it can be solo or with a group.  It can be service or adventure or both.

Semester at Sea is designed to be a global semester in your undergraduate career.  As academic sponsor of the program, the University of Pittsburgh grants academic credit for participation.

Young Judaea is a year of study and volunteering in Israel for recent high school grads.  Since its beginnings in 1956, it has provided over 4,400 participants with a challenging year of education and life impacting experiences.