Helping Gap Year Students to Navigate College

On average, 90% of Gap Year graduates make their way back to university within a year. It is important to keep this statistic in mind when advising Gap Year students. We encourage Gap Year students to apply to university as a part of their Gap Year planning process. The procedure is fairly straightforward, but should be started as soon as possible. To help your student reach their ultimate goals, suggest that they:

  • Apply to college
  • Inquire with your admissions counselor about a Gap Year. This is a 'hypothetical' question to be asked, and will give you more information about the specific school without saying you'll throw off their admissions numbers
  • Get accepted (knock on wood) and pay the deposit to hold your space depending on the above answer. DO NOT compromise your integrity and deposit at two colleges or otherwise be dishonest - this will inevitably come back to haunt you.
  • Ask for a "deferral." More and more universities are adopting a formal policy around deferrals as they're seeing more students ask for these. In some cases, deferrals are specifically to take a Gap Year - and we always encourage announcing those plans clearly and honestly - but in other cases, students are simply looking to take the time to work and earn a bit of money for college. For more information on deferrals, visit AGA's list of university deferral policies for gap years.

Most universities are thrilled to hear that a student planning their Gap Year. Statistics showing that students who travel before attending university are more mature, driven, and prepared are spreading rapidly. One of AGA's primary goals is to further this research. Gap Years tend to open doors for students, both academically and in their future careers. When dealing with university admissions, AGA encourages students and educators to be aware of these statistics. For more information, visit our ever-growing Data & Benefits collection.

Gap Year Resources For Counselors And Students

As the Gap Year industry increases in popularity and can gain more statistical information, more and more resources are becoming available for parents, students, and educators. AGA strives to be the go-to source for these resources, some of which are listed below.

Scholarships and Financial Aid:

Students should be made aware of the many Gap Year travel scholarships that may be available to them. We provide a list of currently available scholarships, available here. Minority students, students with a specific research goal in mind, and students lacking financial resources may be eligible for a wide array of scholarships. Remind students that the deadlines for submitting scholarship applications may be far in advance of their departure date, so it’s important to plan early. In addition, some scholarships may require that the student has some college credit. For more information on scholarships, visit our Financial Aid page.

How To Plan Your Gap Year:

Researchers at the American Gap Association have put together the ultimate guide to planning a Gap Year, suitable for students, parents, and counselors alike. This guide walks Gappers through a series of questions designed to help them create a customized Gap Year experience, alongside a To-Do checklist that ensures that the most important travel and academic tasks are completed in the correct order on a timeline. We highly recommend this comprehensive resource to anyone assisting a student in planning their journey. Access How To Plan A Gap Year here.

AGA Accredited Organizations:

Accreditation by the American Gap Association represents a commitment to the highest standards in safety, quality, and integrity. They have agreed to consistently abide by the Standards of the American Gap Association, which typically means that a student can count on an experience with the highest caliber of field leadership, the best degree of office support, and the highest standards of safety. View the full list of AGA Accredited Organizations.

AGA Blog:

For answers to frequently asked questions about the Gap Year experience, to read first-hand student accounts of their process and international travel experience, and to access expert Gap Year advice and information, visit the AGA blog for some great advice!

Read more about college advice for Gap Year students here.

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