While only some public universities allow admitted first year students to defer enrollment, most private colleges/universities allow deferred enrollment. However, every student should check in with their universities about their exact policies for deferral of enrollment. Some private universities have a “bridge program” for their freshman students. A bridge program is often tuition free and spans 8 to 12 months, where the students are engaged in university sponsored community work. The community service is often in an international location and sometimes in the US. The focus of a bridge program is personal growth and cultural enrichment through community service.The most well known bridge year programs are offered by Princeton University and Tufts University. American University offers a bridge program where the students work in Washington DC as opposed to international locales. While other private universities also support a gap year, their students are encouraged to have their gap year experience with a non university sponsored organization.
Many of the private universities offer a vast range of gap year choices to their students. O’s List has curated some of the recurring resources that we have seen mentioned on many of the private college gap year websites.
- AmeriCorps: Full time volunteers get stipend, student loan deferral
- PeaceCorps : 2 year position
- City Year: Org pays expenses, some health insurance and education award
- Global Volunteer Network: Fees cover food and lodging
- Amigos de las Americas: Fund raising required
- Global Citizen Year
- Where There Be Dragons
- Thinking Beyond Borders
- Council on International Education Salary and housing provided
- Global CrossRoads: Paid teaching internships, need to pay fees
Most colleges will have more gap year resources for their admitted students. Students should check with those resources before making their decisions. To defer enrollment, students need to pay an enrollment deposit, get permission from the college to take a gap year and ensure that they do not take any college credit level courses during their gap year. The gap year should be used for personal enrichment through social and community work and not to engage in traditional academic endeavors.
The resources listed above can also be availed by students who are looking to take a gap year after high school without being admitted/enrolled at any university as well as students who are interested in deferred enrollment at public universities that allow admitted students to defer their enrollment.
Some gap year programs can be quite expensive. There are financial aid programs. Please check the for more information about all the accredited gap year programs at the Gap Year Association.