This section of our website is constantly being edited by Educators with experience relating to Gap Years and we hope to add consistently good information and to address any trends in Gap Years Educational Advising as they develop. While the American Gap Association is dedicated to increasing the number of Gap Year students, we understand that an unbiased approach is the only way to have credibility and are thus committed to telling the truth and acting of the highest with the utmost integrity. While we believe that Gap Years inevitably will provide much good to anyone who takes one, we do not believe that everyone should take one and thus stand behind the most cardinal of advising principles in Gap Years: the student must make the choice - and thus take the ownership for - embarking on their Gap Year. This is perhaps the most important ingredient in a successful Gap Year, just as Holly Bull from Interim Program has said.


In most cases, a Gap Year candidate fits into a few specific categories: perhaps they're 'rode hard and put away wet' academically and are tired of running the same academic tracks - thus feeling 'burnt out.' In this typical case, students tend to be fairly high achieving academically, but perhaps want some time to revitalize and seek passions that may lay off-the-track rather than within its four walls. In other cases, an ideal candidate, is one who simply doesn't know for sure what they want to be doing with their life and fear that the average $39,800 per year {} in tuition costs won't be well spent until they do. Thus, taking a Gap Year is about clarifying their own goals from university, as well as into their first careers. In other cases, students will simply consider a Gap Year because they either didn't get into the university they were hoping to, or, because they were granted a Spring acceptance and now have a semester of time they want to do something productive with.


Being an educator who relates to Gap Years, whether as an Admissions Counselor for a college or university, or being a high school educational or college counselor, there's much to know about Gap Years. In general, the best practice still remains simply to encourage your student to apply to college, get accepted and pay their deposit, then ask for a deferral to do their Gap Year.

Because 90% + of Gap Year students are college-bound, it's important to note that a relationship is necessarily being built with the university they plan eventually to attend and AGA strongly supports an open and honest dialogue with students and their Admissions Counselors so as to have clear admissions numbers and student goals. Sometimes, for instance and as a result of a Gap Year, this can mean a re-evaluation of the university's fit now that the student has greater clarity about their goals in higher education. In all reality, just as much as the student doesn't fit the university any more, in these occasional cases, so too does the university not fit the student any more. In every case, however, communication is key to a successful experience on the front, middle, and end of a students' Gap Year and should be considered as such. Many universities will request that a student, in the first phase, be transparent with their Gap Year plans. Then, throughout the course of their Gap Year, will even request updates as a form of continued recruitment, but also to identify any potential problems to the eventual enrollment at their institution. Finally, at the end of their Gap Year, it's highly advisable to make a point of working directly with the student to help direct them towards their now more-clarified academic goals, but also in ways that Gap Year graduates can best be incorporated into the campus life. The early data by Robert Clagett (former Deans of Admissions at both Harvard and Middlebury) is clearly showing that Gap Year graduates are more engaged in campus life and these students often will serve as hubs for campus life if given a bit of direction.