“Interim Year – Taking a year off

…well not exactly off”

 

“But I am not ready for college…”

 “I need a break…”

 “I want to do something different for a year…”

I am sure you have heard these statements. You may have even stated them. If that is the case, you may be a prime candidate for “taking a year off.” Actually, if all you are going to do is watch TV and go clubbing, I would say you are wasting your time. But if you are going to do something worthwhile, deferring your entry to university for a year is a good idea. At the end of this article is a list of programs that have strong reputations for the student looking for an alternative to going directly to college.

Three Conditions for taking a year off
1. Apply and get accepted to a college during your senior year
2. Have a definite plan that you have discussed with your parents and counsellor
3. Request a deferral from your college

But everyone goes directly to university

Not true. Every year we have students who defer entry for six months or a year to develop themselves.

But universities do not like you taking a year off from studies.

Absolutely false. United Kingdom has a long standing tradition of students doing a “Gap year.” Bill Fitzsimmons of Harvard or Fred Haragon of Princeton are two big fans of students taking a year off. For that matter, so is Mr. Shaun.

Well, since I am not planning on going to college next year, I should not apply now (as a senior).

Bad idea. Applying to colleges takes time, access to resources and help. Just think, you are backpacking in Nepal and you have to get your transcripts and recs sent from ECA. Or trying to write you essay on a boat rocking in 5 meter swells. Follow the same program as all the seniors and apply to college.

But will my college let me defer?

Yes, yes, yes. It is generally in their interest to let students defer. They have already admitted you. They know you are interested and they know that you are doing something cool. Read what the Dean of Admissions of Harvard has to say about taking a year off.

What about financial aid or scholarships?

Generally you will need to reapply for both financial aid and scholarships as most universities will not let you defer these.

Okay, what are some reasons for taking a year off?

Visit this website on the GAP year from England. http://www.push.co.uk/work-n-play/gapyear.html

or read about it from the Times article, Why a gap year is good for you

What should I do?

1)      Apply to a university and get in.

2)    Discuss taking a year off with your parents

3)    Come up with a plan and talk to your counselor (that would be me, just in case you are wondering)

4)    Apply for the program, job or whatever else you need to do

5)    Defer your university acceptance.

 

                                                            INTERIM YEAR OPTIONS

                                                                        A small sampling  

This "small sampling" is rapidly growing, so I have decided to try and organize it...the only problem is that some programs fit into several categories, which means that you might find some options in one or more categories. Oh well.

The main categories are:

Volunteer

Americorps

1-800-942—2677

www.americorps.org

GAP Year programs

“the web's leading source of information and inspiration about gapyears.”

http://www.gapyear.com/  

Global Service Corps

In service opportunities for students looking for a break between high school and college.

www.globalservicecorps.org  

GlobalQuest

GlobalQuest offers twelve-week semester programs in international settings. The program was established in 1999 and initial semester offerings are based in Thailand. As GlobalQuest grows, we will offer semesters throughout the world.

http://www.gquest.org/

Global  Watch
Habitat for Humanity

Habitat for Humanity International is a nonprofit, nondenominational Christian housing organization.

We welcome all people to join us as we build simple, decent, affordable, houses in partnership with those in need of adequate shelter.

http://www.habitat.org/

Involvement Volunteers

International work and volunteer opportunities

www.volunteering.org.au  

Oxford Tutorial Program

www.oxtutor.co.uk  

Peace Corps

Are you over 18 and a US citizen? 

http://www.peacecorps.gov/

 Quaker Information Center

Philadelphia; 215.241.7024

Gap Year Web Site:  http://nnhscareercenter.home.comcast.net/gap-year.html

·           Especially look at: http://www.iicd-volunteer.org/noflash.html --you have to pay some, but it is very reasonable for what you want to do

·           http://www.avso.org/en/links/dirinVS.htm#yap –has lots of organizations to look at

 

   

http://www.volunteerabroad.com

 

http://www.crossculturalsolutions.org/

 

http://www.projects-abroad.org

 

 

Work/Internships

BAEF

Study at a British Boarding School. British American Education Foundation (www.baef.org) PG year at a British boarding school

DynamyInternship Year

Worcester, MA

508-755-2571

A year-long program of internships with businesses and nonprofits. Students live in apartments owned by the program-usually with a roommate or two.

www.nesc.org/-dynamy/ or

www.dynamy.org  

City Year

They have programs in Boston (MA), Chicago (IL), San Jose (CA), Providence (RI), Columbus (OH), Columbia (SC) and San Antonio (TX).

City year is a national service organization that unites young adults, ages 17 to 23, from diverse racial, cultural and socioeconomic background for a demanding year of full-time community service, leadership development, and civic engagement.

www.city-year.org

 

Cool Works

www.coolworks.com  

GAP Year programs

“the web's leading source of information and inspiration about gapyears.”

http://www.gapyear.com/  

Involvement Volunteers

International work and volunteer opportunities

www.volunteering.org.au  

 

Outdoor/environmental

 18th century ship

“If you'd like to volunteer for this BBC television history project… sailing an 18th century ship”

http://www.bbc.co.uk/history/programmes/theship/shipform.shtml

Appalachian Mountain Club

Opportunities to work outdoors in the U.S.

www.outdoors.org

Audubon Expedition Institute (AEI)

P.O.Box 365

Belfast ME 04915

(888) 287-2234

“Higher Education’s Most Extraordinary Journey”

A rigorous alternative to traditional colleges and universities for undergraduate students pursuing a deeper ecological understanding of the environment, leadership and advocacy. Interim year students who love being outdoors, are concerned about the environment, and are looking for career ideas or need “recharging” often use AEI as a stepping stone into more traditional college. www.AEI-AudubonCollege.org

Australian Trust for Conservation Volunteers

www.atcv.com.au

Earthwatch

The mission of the Earthwatch Institute is to promote sustainable conservation of our natural resources and cultural heritage by creating partnerships between scientists, educators and the general public.

www.earthwatch.org

Earthwise Living Foundation

www.elfnz.com  

GAP Year programs

“the web's leading source of information and inspiration about gapyears.”

http://www.gapyear.com/  

GlobalQuest

GlobalQuest offers twelve-week semester programs in international settings. The program was established in 1999 and initial semester offerings are based in Thailand. As GlobalQuest grows, we will offer semesters throughout the world.

http://www.gquest.org/

Global  Watch
Habitat for Humanity

Habitat for Humanity International is a nonprofit, nondenominational Christian housing organization.

We welcome all people to join us as we build simple, decent, affordable, houses in partnership with those in need of adequate shelter.

http://www.habitat.org/

National Outdoor Leadership School (NOLS)

288 Main Street,Lander, WY 82520-3140

307-332-6973

Outward Bound

www.outwardbound.org

SEA

 http://www.sea.edu/

Sea-mester

www.seamester.com

Semester at Sea

 

SOLO’s wilderness medicine training

www.stonehearth.com  

Student Conservation Association

www.sca-inc.org/index.htm  

Willing Workers on Organic Farms

International work and volunteer opportunities

www.wwoof.org  

 

Cultural/language

Council on International Educational Exchange

Today, Council is divided into three interrelated but very independent operating entities; Council-International Study Programs, Council Exchanges,and Council Travel.

http://www.ciee.org/

Council for Standards for International Educational Travel 

www.csiet.org

Experiment in International Living 

in Brattleboro, VT. The Experiment in International Living (www.worldlearning.org) Education and training for global effectiveness

GAP Year programs

“the web's leading source of information and inspiration about gapyears.”

http://www.gapyear.com/  

GlobalQuest

GlobalQuest offers twelve-week semester programs in international settings. The program was established in 1999 and initial semester offerings are based in Thailand. As GlobalQuest grows, we will offer semesters throughout the world.

http://www.gquest.org/

Global  Watch
Habitat for Humanity

Habitat for Humanity International is a nonprofit, nondenominational Christian housing organization.

We welcome all people to join us as we build simple, decent, affordable, houses in partnership with those in need of adequate shelter.

http://www.habitat.org/

The Ithaka Program

Travel and study in Greece

The Landing School

www.by-the-sea.com/thelandingschool

Language Programs (there are hundreds, but here are three)

www.studyinsiena.com

www.studyabroad.com

www.langlink.com

Rotary International Exchange

www.rotary.org

School for International Training

World issues Program (their Bachelor of Arts program), semesters abroad, and the Experiment in International Living.

www.worldlearning.org/  

 

Postgraduate/student exchanges

Bunac

They have been doing it a bit longer then just about anybody else. A searchable database helps ease your way through the experience.

Council on International Educational Exchange

Today, Council is divided into three interrelated but very independent operating entities; Council-International Study Programs, Council Exchanges,and Council Travel.

http://www.ciee.org/

Council for Standards for International Educational Travel 

www.csiet.org

GAP Year programs

“the web's leading source of information and inspiration about gapyears.”

http://www.gapyear.com/  

The Ithaka Program

Travel and study in Greece

The Landing School

www.by-the-sea.com/thelandingschool

Language Programs (there are hundreds, but here are three)

www.studyinsiena.com

www.studyabroad.com

www.langlink.com

St. Stephen's School (Rome) 

 --  Post-Graduate Year  www.ststephens.it

Sterling College

www.sterlingcollege.edu

One of among several four-year institutions with a difference

World Wide Classroom

http://www.worldwide.edu/intro.html

Youth for Understanding  

 

Travel

 18th century ship

“If you'd like to volunteer for this BBC television history project… sailing an 18th century ship”

http://www.bbc.co.uk/history/programmes/theship/shipform.shtml

Council on International Educational Exchange

Today, Council is divided into three interrelated but very independent operating entities; Council-International Study Programs, Council Exchanges,and Council Travel.

http://www.ciee.org/

Council for Standards for International Educational Travel 

www.csiet.org

GAP Year programs

“the web's leading source of information and inspiration about gapyears.”

http://www.gapyear.com/  

GlobalQuest

GlobalQuest offers twelve-week semester programs in international settings. The program was established in 1999 and initial semester offerings are based in Thailand. As GlobalQuest grows, we will offer semesters throughout the world.

http://www.gquest.org/

Global  Watch
Habitat for Humanity

Habitat for Humanity International is a nonprofit, nondenominational Christian housing organization.

We welcome all people to join us as we build simple, decent, affordable, houses in partnership with those in need of adequate shelter.

http://www.habitat.org/

The Ithaka Program

Travel and study in Greece

The Landing School

www.by-the-sea.com/thelandingschool

Language Programs (there are hundreds, but here are three)

www.studyinsiena.com

www.studyabroad.com

www.langlink.com

Rotary International Exchange

www.rotary.org

School for International Training

World issues Program (their Bachelor of Arts program), semesters abroad, and the Experiment in International Living.

www.worldlearning.org/  

SEA

 http://www.sea.edu/

Sea-mester

www.seamester.com

Semester at Sea

SOLO’s wilderness medicine training

www.stonehearth.com  

Up With People

Jeff McAdam, Assistant Director of Admissions

303-438-7337

800-596-7353 ext 3

email: jmcadam@upwithpeople.org

Year-long global experience including international travel, musical performance and community service. College credit can be earned through Carroll College – Wisconsin, Queens College – North Carolina, and Hawaii Pacific Univ.

www.upwithpeople.org

Where There Be Dragons

303-413-0822

Trips to Asia  

 

Other resources etc                                                                                                      

Transition abroad

Transitions Abroad is a bimonthly full-color magazine guide to practical information on affordable alternatives to mass tourism: living, working, studying, or vacationing alongside the people of the host country. Our online version contains many of our listings and some of our feature stories.

http://www.transabroad.com/

http://www.interimprograms.com/

 

http://www.timeoutassociates.com/

 

GAP Year programs

“the web's leading source of information and inspiration about gapyears.”

http://www.gapyear.com/  

Leap Now

LEAPNow exists to give people of all ages the vision, encouragement, and resources they need to live a creative, fulfilled and engaged life.   Time-off for travel, adventure, cultural immersion, real work, intensive experiential study or to learn a language, serves to renew your perspective, clarify what is important, and help you find the "juice" in your life.

   http://www.leapnow.org/

One heck of a list

Check out Andover Academy's list  http://www.andover.edu/summerops/ilist.htm

they have a tonne of linked options there for you.

BOOKS

Taking Time Off, by Colin Hall and Ron Lieber (July 1996)

Time Out, by Robert Gilpin and Caroline Fitzgibbons (Fireside 1992) – out of print

Summer Opportunities for Teenagers,  by Peterson's

Taking Time Off  by Gail Reardon

The Day I Became An Autodidact  by Kendall Hailey

But What If I Don't Want to Go to College? A Guide to Success
Through Alternative Education
, by Harlow G. Unger.

 

WEBSITES FOR CONSULTANTS

Center for Interim Programs

 Neil & Holly Bull, Cambridge, Mass.  (617)

547-0980

        www.interimprograms.com

 

Interpoints, Inc., 

 Jake Horne, Washington Depot, Conn.  (860) 868-6778

 

Marsha Ray

consultant on interim year options (# 847.374.0791)

 

Time Out Associates 

Bob Gilpin, Milton, Mass.  (617) 698-8977

www.whereyouheaded.com  or

www.timeoutassociates.com

http://guidance.wwwcomm.com/alternatives.htm  (page from counseling

resources of  Jack Scheidell, Cherry Hill West High School)

   Some thoughts:

"For all of his clients, Bull's message is the same: 'I think it is vitally important for human beings to give themselves permission to step out of the mold. We start out life as butterflies and too often end as cocoons -- it's all backwards'... On education and its relationship to schooling: 'Maybe George Bernard Shaw was right when he said that the only time his education was interupted was when he was in school. Schools are very important, but are they really places where you get an education?"
-"Princeton Alumni Weekly," April 4, 1990

"…as someone once reminded me, and as I now remind each incoming class at Princeton, 'the person each of you will spend most of the rest of your life with is yourself, and therefore you owe it to yourself to use your college years to become as interesting a companion as possible.' But I am also convinced that one's college education is greatly enhanced by the more maturity, experience, and perspective a student can bring to it. Alas, it strikes me that these three traits are the very ones that are most difficult for most young people to come by given the lock-step nature that currently characterizes such a large part of the school-to-college process…Indeed, of all the enthusiastic letters I send to students in one year, none are more enthusiastic than those I send in response to students requesting to defer their entrance to college."

- Fred A. Hargadon (Dean of Admission, Princeton University)

Here's a bit of what Unger says at the beginning of his book:

[T]here are only two good reasons for going to a four-year college or university: a deep desire to study traditional academic subjects (literature, history, philosophy, languages, science, and so on) or a deep commitment to career goals that can only be reached with a university education (law, medicine, engineering, and similar professions).

So if you're one of the millions of Americans who really don't want to or need to go to a university, and your talents and career goals are in areas not requiring a university degree, by all means consider alternative career education. Alternative education can open thousands of career opportunities in the arts, crafts, science and health care, sports, skilled trades, manufacturing, construction, travel, banking and finance and even in your own business––and there's no need to spend thousands of dollars and four precious years at a university if you don't really need to or want to....

Harlow G. Unger

Copyright: 2001 by Shaun McElroy

Acknowledgments: