The British, Aussies and New Zealanders have been taking Gap Years since the 60s so there is lots of good information out there. With more and more U.S. colleges offering deferrals, and a Gap Year becoming a rite of passage for U.S. students, articles are appearing in the American press on a more frequent basis. As we find new sources, we will mention it on our blog.
If you find good resources, please let us know at email@example.com.
Here is a growing list of books, articles and websites about the Gap Year experience:
“Class Valedictorian defers college to teach, immerse herself in Nepal’s culture” Tina Reed, The Republic, 6/28/11.
“Abigail Falik wants students to take a year off doing good abroad” Marilyn Jones, Christian Science Monitor, 4/11/11.
“Accepted, Rejected, Wait-listed – Now What? ” Kevin Simpson, Forbes, 3/27/11.
“Why Young People Shouldn’t Go to College (at least right away)” Psychology Today, 3/6/11.
“Gap Year” a fulfilling time for time for High School Graduates” Kevin Simpson, Denver Post, 3/1/11.
“College Matters: Special ‘gap year’ programs benefit many” Allison Matlack, Metro West Daily News, 2/11/11.
“Why More Americans Don’t Travel Abroad” Natalie Avon, CNN, 2/4/2011.
“First Lady Michelle Obama: “When you study Abroad, You’re helping to Make America Stronger” Kori Schulman, White House Blog, 1/19/11.
“Time Out or Burn Out for the Next Generation” William R. Fitzsimmons, Dean of Admissions, Harvard College, Marlyn E. McGrath, Director of Admissions, Harvard College, and Charles Ducey, Adjunct Lecturer in Psychology, Harvard Graduate School of Education, (College Brochure).
“Delaying College to Fill the Gaps” Sue Shallenbarger, Wall Street Journal, 12/29/10
“Is a ‘Gap Year’ Before College a Good Idea?” Emily Driscoll, FoxBusiness.com, 10/5/10.
“‘Gap Year’ Before College gives grads valuable life experience.” G. Jeffrey Mac Donald, USA Today, 6/18/08.
“How to Become a World Citizen, Before Going to College” by Tanya Mohn, The New York Times, 9/3/06.
“Taking Time Off Abroad: What Is the Gap-Year Advantage?” An Interview with Karl Haigler and Rae Nelson by Sherry Schwarz, Transitions Abroad Magazine, March/April 2006.
“If Your Kid Wants to Find Himself, Just Say ‘Yes.’ The gap year – an exploratory hiatus between high school and college – is getting popular. It’s a good thing” Jean Chatzky, Money Magazine, 12/1/05.
“A Year Off. A `gap year’ off before college catches on.” Meryl Hyman Harris, The Journal News, 9/12/05.
The Complete Guide to the Gap Year: The Best Things to Do Between High School and College – Kristin M. White. Very informative and current. Read about programs, costs (they seem reliable), what you can expect, the benefits, and how colleges feel about students who ask for a deferral or apply after their Gap Year. White explains the different types of programs: volunteer, cultural immersion, language study, and theatre, art, and music programs. She also discusses financial issues: scholarships, federal funding, and fundraising ideas. White lists and talks about many programs that are out there, including many service programs in the U.S.. Perhaps you can convince the guidance counselor at your school or your local library to get a copy. You’ll be glad you took the time to read it.
The Gap-Year Advantage: Helping Your Child Benefit from Time Off Before or During College – Karl Haigler and Rae Nelson. This is a Gap Year classic. The first half of the book has information on why, how, when, where, and more. The programs and costs noted in the book are not up to date but the other information is good if you still need to convince your parents.
The New Global Student: Skip the SAT, Save Thousands on Tuition, and Get a Truly International Education – Maya Frost. This book helps readers find a creative alternative to higher education that avoids the pressure and expense of the traditional college admissions process while offering a “great global education that doesn’t cost a fortune”. Frost shows readers how to take their education into their own hands by stepping outside the box and trying a different approach. For those interested in Rotary Youth Exchange, Frost devotes an entire chapter to the benefits and challenges of this program including tips for parents and stories from former Youth Exchange Students.
Where the Hell is Matt? (2008) 14 months in the making, 42 countries, and a cast of thousands, this video will inspire you to want to take off and travel.
Please Mind the Gap (2010) This video by Ya Basta Films takes a look at the pros and cons of all the gap year volunteer programs happening in Ghana.
150 of the Best Travel Blogs – See what other students are doing by checking out some incredible blogs.
Ethical Volunteering – Dr. Kate Simpson has been researching international volunteering since 1998. She’s developed a set of seven questions designed to help travelers to choose the right volunteer travel provider.There are lots of service programs on other sites as well, but this site gives you some good questions to ask and things to consider before signing up to do service work in a foreign country.
Experiment in International Living – If you want to have a look and hear some voices about what it’s like to do a program, check out the You Tube videos on this site (under the About tab); you may want to show a couple of these to your parents. EIL’s programs are short and pretty expensive but feel free to look at their site as well.
Gap Year – The British have been taking Gap Years for a long time and this site out of England is packed with information. The Travel Planning section includes Female Travel, Travel Health (if you have a medical condition), Travel Money, and User Guides (includes Fundraising for your trip). Other sections cover Volunteering (search lots of programs), Countries (good data on what to do in each), Jobs (opportunities throughout the world), Travel Kit (items to buy), and Travel Mates (finding someone going your way at the same time). There is also a great Message Board where you can ask questions by topic.
International Volunteer Program Association (IVPA) – This association is a non-governmental organization (NGO) involved in international volunteer work and internship exchanges. It is an excellent resource site. The Volunteering Abroad section includes Personal Stories, Selecting the Right Program, Questions to Ask Your Program, and Fundraising Tips. The Resource section lists Volunteer Sites as well as Fellowships, Scholarships, and Funding.
Interim Programs – This is the business site of Holly Bull who advises students on Gap Year programs. Her site has a lot of interesting information and we suggest especially that you read some of the articles she lists. You may not be able to pay the $2,100 fee for her counseling, but do have a look at her website.
Planet Gap Year – This site has free online information and resources for planning a Gap Year or gap time off. Their mission, like ours, is to inform. They are not promoting a specific program but they have already organized lots of programs and have a search feature that lets you put in the kind of program you are looking for….you can search for country, cost and length of time. They’ve made it easy but they’re not complete, so keep searching. This site also has a blog forum for high school students who are on or recently returned from an overseas experience.
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