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Gap Year Doesn't Have To Cost a Bundle

Money in hand, courtesy google images

Associated Press article Paying for a post-high school gap year need not deplete the college savings.

Eileen AJ Connelly writes "The growing popularity of taking a gap year has generated much attention about the cost. Prepackaged programs promising life-altering experiences are replacing the old model of backpacking across Europe. Programs can charge $30,000 or more. But it’s possible to get the benefits of time off without digging into savings, if you have a plan."

Read the article in its entirety.

College Student Decides on Peru Conservation Program for Gap Year

Photo courtsy of Travellers Worldwide

This article was submitted by Carys Hutton via Travellers Worldwide

When did you decide to take a gap year and why?
I decided in my final year at university to take a gap year after graduating. I wanted to follow my degree with a masters but wasn’t sure if this was the right choice at the right time. I have always wanted to take some time to go traveling and this seemed like the perfect time.

Where did you go and why?

MSNBC Reports More US Students Taking a Gap Year

Image courtesy of University of Virginia study abroad program

Great article from MSNBC Nov 2010 reveals gap year trend steadily growing in US.

Linda H. Connelly, post-high school counselor at New Trier Township High School, outside of Chicago, was quoted as saying "Low achievers, ultra-high achievers, and those in between, and can benefit from time off, to stave off burnout and indulge in a little self-discovery...they want to explore what’s out there in the world. It’s a time to reflect and not at such a fast pace. Students learn a lot, it helps them figure out what they want. I see kids blossom, find their passions.”
Read More U.S. students taking ‘gap year’ break..

Why I'm Not In College

opportunity knocks: courtesy of Google Images

Why I'm Not In College

by Christopher Frederick

Going directly to college? I've got a better idea.

Take a gap year.

I'm taking a gap year as you read this sentence. So what do I do? I rent a room in Ithaca, New York. I take Brazilian guitar lessons twice a week. I play samba music at Cornell University every Thursday. I volunteer for Prisoner Express, a journal of writing by prison inmates. I cook my own food. I'm traveling to South America for four months to learn Spanish.

And I pay for everything myself.

Gap Year Travel Writing - Vietnam

Gap Year Travel in Vietnam: Photo courtesy of Aliza Goldberg

Take Me to Zen Yen

By Aliza Goldberg

The young Vietnamese boy sat patiently at the Yen River’s edge, his hands resting lightly on the bamboo oars tied to the thin, red, metal rowboat. He looked up at us, wrinkles forming on his forehead as he raised his eyebrows, and waited until we had boisterously situated ourselves in his boat. Without a word, he began to back up his boat into the water and steer us out into the wide expanse of vegetation. No introduction, no complaints. Strong black coffee, the smell of burning incense, the startling clash of a metal gong, the gleam of gilded wood and lacquer statues, seven hundred and sixty two slick stone steps, the squeaks of bats, the dank wonder of an underground niche, and the tickling sensation of sweat trickling down our spines had energized us and we hardly noticed the thin boy, tan like the twigs floating aimlessly in the ripples.

He wore a maroon fake Dolce & Gabbana shirt with a white flap on the left shoulder and another white flap on the right breast. His uneven brown hair was carefully combed over his dark brown eyes, which gazed at us four American teenagers uneasily and with a hint of envy. Meanwhile, we joked around with our school friends in the other rowboats, taking pictures and splashing water. And then suddenly, all the boats were gone. That’s when we finally saw the boy struggling to fight the current.

The five of us were totally alone--no sounds but that of the oars dipping into the glittering water, nothing to see but mountains soft with tufts of green trees, tall grasses and pink lotus flowers, and the reflection of the grey and white clouds in the water. The river was ours. The silence was a peaceful break from the smoggy chaos of honking motorcycles that defined our new home, Hanoi.

His name was Trung. This was his first time rowing tourists from the Perfume Pagoda. He was sorry he was taking so long.

I was sorry he was our age, yet had dropped out of school to take us from one unfamiliar shoreline to another. I was sorry his arm muscles did not have enough strength to continue rhythmically circling the oars. I was sorry I could not help him.

He would stretch a tired smile whenever we did something silly to amuse him, like singing Santigold or daintily dangling slices of bread in front of his face for him to bite. Otherwise he wore a light-lipped grim line of a mouth, eyes squinting in pain.

Middle aged women in conical hats streamlined past our rowboat, laughing and teasing our faithful Charon.

He was sorry he was taking so long. I was sorry I could not help him.

As we inched along, I felt something puff up and expand under the bottom of my right ribcage. A sense of relief and satisfaction perhaps, or elation. After three weeks in Vietnam my regrets and hesitations had splintered and were being carried away by the river’s current. It occurred to me that we might never be reunited with the other Americans waiting patiently for us at the shore, that if the clouds decided to burst and send down rain our rowboat would fill up within minutes. But these thoughts did not worry me. I knew I would be all right. And I knew Trung would not be.

About Aliza

"I have spent a year studying in Viterbo, Italy and a semester studying in Hanoi, Vietnam. In the fall of 2010 I will attend Barnard College of Columbia University and try to study as many languages as I am allowed without becoming a language major." Read more travel writing from Aliza at and see see her video below:

"The Complete Guide to the Gap Year: The Best Things to Do Between High School and College by Kristin White"

Photo Courtesy of Kristin White

Please read author Kristin White's blog post below outlining her new gap year planning book, and then follow link at bottom of blog to her site.

I am the author of a new book called “The Complete Guide to the Gap Year: The Best Things to Do Between High School and College.” As an educational consultant, I work with students who are applying to colleges and private schools and other educational options, but I found that helping students craft an exciting gap year program was my favorite part of the job. I ended up writing this book because there are so few good books out on the gap year. There are some that are focused on British students, on backpackers and travelers, or for parents, but there really wasn’t a comprehensive directory of structured programs, or a book that included chapters about the college admissions implications of the gap year. I spent a year researching and writing the book and I found a few facts which might be new or interesting information for you.

2009-2010 USA Gap Year Fairs

USA Map: Google Images

Two New England based student gap year programs, Dynamy Internship Year and Thinking Beyond Borders have teamed up to sponsor the 2009-2010 USA Gap Year Fairs. (See schedule below) Last year, 12 fairs attracted nearly 2,000 students, parents and education professionals across the country. The sponsors have added more fairs to connect students and parents across the country with the plethora of private companies and educational non-profits offering "gap years" for young adults who are delaying college entrance.

Gap Year Ski & Snowboard Instruction, Canada-NONSTOP Ski

Jake on Gap Year in Canada: Photo courtesy of NONSTOP Ski Adventure

My Gap Year Story
by Jacob

When was the last time your parents or someone at school came to you and said "you should take time off school and take a Gap Year?" If you're like me, then chances are probably not! But taking a Gap Year may be the best year of your life.

My name's Jake, I'm 19 and after I graduated American high school, I took a Gap Year. I wasn't sure exactly what I wanted to do in college. So I went to a cultural immersion program in Jerusalem. I traveled to Egypt and took scuba diving lessons in the Red Sea. Then I went to Canada and became a ski instructor. After that I went to New York City and became a bartender. And as of now, I'm in Europe touring around with some British mates that I met on my ski instructor course. Sound good? It's been awesome!

The Gap Year - One of Higher Education's Hottest Trends

Greenheart Program - Chicago

New gap year novel aimed at young adults

The article, Mind The Gap by Kayte Korwitts, appeared in Chicago's North Shore Magazine yesterday. It highlights the current 'gap year' trend amongst some high school graduates, and briefly reviews Cliare Zulkey's young adult novel An Off Year, an account of an acutely self-conscious and hyper-intelligent 18-year-old who arrives at a small liberal-arts college only to turn around and go home.

Click on Main Title Above to Read Entire Blog Post

Applications for gap year options on the rise

Was it all a Dream..

Photo: Courtesy Up with People

Was it all a dream…

I woke up this morning to the familiar sounds of my dad watching the news along with the scent of left over coffee my mom tends to leave behind as she rushes off to work. Was it just last week I was standing awestruck in front of the Grand Canyon, watching a purple sunset over the Arizona mountain tops, or perhaps it was just yesterday I was performing in Mexico for hundreds with screaming cheers for “Viva la Gente” in the crowd. Or perhaps, it was all a dream, because there is no way six months could fly by that fast.