As a parent, the thought of your child taking a Gap Year may give you pause. There are legitimate questions to consider such as if your child will have a difficult time finding a job, or returning to school. We completely understand, and there’s good news.
Attractive to Universities
While we don’t always hear a lot about them, Gap Years are already well established in higher education and are encouraged by top tier colleges and universities – Harvard recommends all admitted students take a Gap Year. Furthermore, research shows that 90% students who take Gap Years return to college and have higher GPAs, are more likely to graduate college, and report higher job satisfaction.
Enriching for Students
In addition, students around the globe have taken Gap Years for decades as a transition period prior to college. Their experience gives them insight and enriches their educational experience. A Gap Year sets students apart and leaves them mature, motivated, and independent; better prepared to succeed in the classroom and in today’s job market.
Attractive to Employers
UnCollege’s Gap Year Program is designed both to supplement and enrich the college experience or to stand as an alternative to college. Companies like Google are moving away from requiring degrees, focusing instead on applicant’s experience and skills. Gap Year Fellows participate in internships which provide them with valuable work experience, help them develop skills, and give them insight into their own career goals. We’ve even had a few Fellows start their own companies!After the year-long Gap Year Program, Fellows are far more appealing to employers than their recently graduated counterparts because they have a portfolio of experience and real world skills to bring to a job.
“I haven’t heard him be so alive and happy…He loves your program and I can tell that he is just thriving…I will be forever grateful to you!”-Kathy
Winter ’14 Fellow Parent
Taking a Gap Year is an exciting, challenging, and enlightening experience. Based on our experience with Fellows we feel strongly that students of the Gap Year program can only thrive with the support of their parents and community. UnCollege partners with parents, students, and counselors to help provide the resources needed to make an informed decision about taking a Gap Year and to customize the Program to fit the goals of each student.
The Gap Year program is divided into four phases: Voyage, Launch, Internship, and Project. Each phase is designed to challenge students, provide insightful experiences, and guide them in developing skills they need to succeed. At the end of their Gap Year Fellows will use the skills they’ve developed to complete individual projects, and will graduate from the Program with their completed project and a portfolio that documents the work they have done and skills they have mastered. These will serve as an incredibly valuable asset in achieving their post-Program goals. Learn more about the program structure
Each Fellow is paired with a coach who provides 1-1 support over the course of the program. Coaching is the centerpiece of the UnCollege Gap Year Program. It provides continuity to the Fellows’ year and allows us to personalize learning around a diverse range of their interests and needs. We highly encourage you to learn more about this integral part of our Program here.
The Gap Year curriculum consists of workshops, coaching meetings, jam sessions, and guest speaker lectures. Fellows have access to the UnCollege resource library where they can read and watch workshop materials as well as supplemental content. The program has four core areas of study:
Learning & Thinking
Entrepreneurship & Innovation
Resume & Cover Letter
Getting Things Done
Meet A Fellow
Gap Year Fellows come from all walks of life. They each have unique goals, and have had different experiences and outcomes in the Program. This is Tim:
Tim is a 22-year-old with a diverse background. His mother helped him develop a keen eye for design and a touch of creativity, while his father provided him with problem solving skills through careful analysis. He built his first computer at age of 13 and had hiked and canoed over 500 miles by 15. After achieving the rank of Eagle Scout and graduating high school, he enrolled in a large state university. After two semesters he found himself disgruntled with the institutional aspects of such a large school that had little regard for individual guidance. He dropped out and began to search for a passion, pursuing many different fields in the process, from physical fitness to internet marketing. He enrolled in the Gap Year program as an exploratory phase to collaborate with other bright minds and learn about himself in the process.
During the Program Tim interned for 3 months at H-Farm – an Italian startup Incubator in Venice. There he worked on marketing and community engagement, with H-farm’s host of early stage companies. Now Tim is off to Palo Alto to work as a marketing intern for a venture-backed stealth company building photography hardware.
Meet a Parent
Looking for another parent’s point of view? Here’s a letter from Dale’s mother Lisa Nalbone.
We’re a recognized program…
Our organization has been recognized nationally as a thought leader in alternative education: