Once you’ve talked your decision over with your family and settled on taking a year away from school, where can you start?
Thankfully, there are many programs that you can complete while taking a gap year. Want to get work experience? There’s a program for that! Want to travel? Build wilderness skills? Volunteer? If you’re not the type that wants to plan your own gap year, you can do any or all of these things through a program.
Here are 7 programs to consider for your gap year:
Ridge Mountain Academy
RIDGE Mountain Academy is a campus-based gap year enrichment program that revolves around mountain sports. Located in Whitefish, Montana, RIDGE is designed for male and female student athletes ages 16 to 22 who wish to strengthen their training, forge new skills and discover their passions.
A fusion of mountain sports, education, and life skills, the semester-long programs prepare student athletes of all abilities—beginner to elite—to develop balance, purpose and their true potential.
Great for: sports enthusiasts
Pacific Discovery offers experiential gap year semester and summer programs abroad to some of the most amazing places on earth. Our programs are deliberate overland journeys, blending authentic immersion in diverse cultures, meaningful service-learning projects, rewarding adventures, wilderness exploration, and personal development.
Students challenge themselves in a supportive small group environment, developing empathy for other cultures; furthering understanding of international issues; heightening appreciation for the earth’s wild places; deepening global perspectives; and discovering their own passion and purpose.
Great for: travel enthusiasts
NOLS is a nonprofit global wilderness school that seeks to help you step forward boldly as a leader. This school provides the environment and training to help you discover your full potential. They do that in classrooms close to home and in remote wilderness areas around the world.
A NOLS course is an immersive expedition where you will spend time exploring remote, wild places with a tight-knit community of students and instructors. No experience is required, but by the end you’ll have the skills and experiences to be a leader.
Outdoor skills, ranging from backpacking to sea kayaking to mountaineering, form the foundation of every expedition. You will have the opportunity to progress, master, and test a variety of newfound skills with experienced and supportive instructors. While you explore, form a connection to nature and learn to appreciate living simply.
Great for: outdoor enthusiasts
Through Winterline, you’ll travel the world, visiting 10 countries over 9 months… you’ll learn 100 new skills, from defensive driving to scuba diving… you’ll try new things, meet different people, see amazing sights. You will make choices. You’ll be challenged, you’ll get sweaty, you’ll work hard. And at the end of your journey, your most important discoveries may be about yourself.
Great for: adventure enthusiasts who want to experience it all
Praxis is a one-year startup apprenticeship program and career accelerator for young people who want more than college. We combine a 6-month bootcamp with a 6-month apprenticeship where we place you at a high-growth startup working alongside entrepreneurs. During Praxis, you’ll also completing a rigorous education experience, which includes one-on-one coaching, self-guided projects, skills training, and more.
Praxis gives young people a more direct path to a fulfilling professional life. We give you the experience, education, and training required for you to become successful now, not in four years. 96% of Praxis participants are fully employed upon graduation with the average starting salary of Praxis graduates being $50k in their first year.
Great for: business enthusiasts/ entrepreneurs
Projects Abroad is the world’s largest international volunteering and internship provider. We’ve been running for over 25 years and been trusted by over 120,000 participants who’ve joined our award-winning projects.
Projects Abroad features projects in childcare, teaching, building, marine conservation, and much more. There are also specialized programs for language learning and cultural immersion included in the Projects Abroad lineup.
Great for: volunteer enthusiasts
Raleigh International is a sustainable development organisation with more than 30 years of expertise in working through, for and with young people to create lasting change.
With its project partners, local communities, funders, and over 42,000 previous local and international volunteers, Raleigh International forms a global community of individuals who are passionate about working together to build a sustainable future.
Great for: volunteer enthusiasts
Want to plan your own gap year? That’s a great idea as well, if you’re self-motivated and independent. Work a full-time job and save money. Spend time volunteering or taking online courses you’re interested in. Travel! Praxis grad Lydia Hodgson spent 6 months backpacking on her own before she joined Praxis. The budgeting, planning, and adventure she experienced during that time shaped the person she is today!
Whether you choose to plan your own gap year or complete a program during this time out of school, you’ll quickly learn the life skills you gain during that time are probably even more relevant than the ones you’ll learn through traditional education.
If you’re interested in a gap year but don’t know where to start, schedule a call with a Praxis coach to chat about your career goals and figure out where to start!