The American Gap Association is proud to have the SDO (Standards Development Organization) certification as recognized by the United States Department of Justice and the Federal Trade Commission, dedicated to the continued development of standards to benefit the industry of Gap Years in the United States. In the coming years we will be working tirelessly to do the following:

  • Increase the number of participants in Gap Years
  • Advocate for the normalization of Gap Years in Higher Education
  • Serve as a hub for data in the exciting and continuing world of Gap Year research
  • Certify Gap Year programs
  • Continue to develop the Standards in promotion of the highest safety, quality, and integrity for Gap Year organizations and participants in Gap Year programs
  • Provide our Standards openly and publicly so that people desiring to engage on an individual Gap Year (ie, not through an AGA Certified program) can have the tools to do proper research
  • Create "best practices" in the areas of safety, student admissions, policy enforcement, international development/volunteering, and have open source materials for the benefit of smaller organizations

The American Gap Association is constantly developing a variety of resources for the benefit of Gap Year providers, students of Gap Year programs (both independent and organized), and for Educational Counselors. Please refer to the appropriate heading at the top of the page for resources that you feel can be of use to you.

Ethan Knight founder of International Carpe Diem Foundation and American Gap Association


Ethan Knight

Founder of American Gap Association


If you have any suggestions that you'd like to see made available, please don't hesitate to make a suggestion here: