Testimonials

Olivia Gaines 
(gap year student, 2013 - 2014)

 “After partnering with Interim for my gap year- all I know is it’s like they knew exactly what I needed after an academic career mainly focused on a competitive, somewhat soul-less pursuit to enter Ivy League institutions and other brand name schools. After that experience, I found myself drawn to unconventional approaches to education which I chose to express through a gap year before starting my journey at a traditional American University. Honestly, I did not know how I would convince my parents to see the value in a year "off" away from the traditional path to success let alone find the finances that both honored my desire to explore the unknown and also left a minimal footprint on the family's bank account. Oh, and did I mention the anxiety that came with the responsibility to coordinate flights, hostels, visas, programs, and logistics I didn't even know existed before the 90-minute free consultation appointment? I was struggling to turn in my papers on time, let alone plan the year of my dreams. Even if I only used the generosity of the free 90-minute consultation, I would have been better off and more able to plan a strategic gap year that maximized what I could afford and also help my parents better understand that this is a viable option for my future.

The Center for Interim Programs' decades of experience really shines through in their e-mails, consultations, and navigation - at least in my case - with the parent situation. I wanted my education to be transformative, something out-of-the-blue, and allowed the flexibility to travel around the world, and still show up to my graduation on time. My experience with Interim filled the need of a personal, dynamic relationship that was always thinking 3 steps ahead of the game. They bring a standard of excellence that is less micro-managy, and more focused on teaching their students independence and guiding you to ask yourself the questions to gain the most out of your experience. In my mind, it used to seem a little extravagant to "hire" a gap year counselor, but now I question that as I see high-level athletes do not even think twice about hiring personal trainers and high-power people have an entire team supporting their goals, which begs the question - why shouldn't students have the support of professionals to help us play life on a bigger, deeper level not only for a year, but for the rest of our lives? I chose to go Interim because they valued me as a person, my family’s finances, and offered the opportunities and resources for me to succeed with a soul.

Timing is everything, and I know my gap year would not have run as smoothly and effortlessly without their guidance. Of course I could have planned it myself, and make a lot of mistakes, and miss out on golden opportunities along the way. They know where to look, and fast. They know the trusted programs and are connected with the people that will make your year one that you can never forget, and then you realize you have them in your corner for the rest of your life.”

Katie Abisla
(gap year student, 2011-2012)

“I want to thank you for helping me with my gap year plans - I couldn't have done an equal job of choosing volunteer placements for myself if you hadn't helped to steer me in the right direction, so thank you! I have learned so much on my gap year, met amazing people that I will never forget, and made friendships that are still holding strong. This past year was just what I needed in between high school and college, and having been at college for a few days now, I know that I am so much more prepared to tackle it than I ever could have been without my year off. I have learned so many valuable things about myself and the world around me that would have been next to impossible for me to learn had I followed the usual route of attending college directly after high school. Thank you so much for helping me with my year, and helping to make it possible for me to have had such a life-changing and inspirational year by taking part in legitimate and responsible volunteer programs.”

Linda Saarnijoki
(parent of gap year student,
Dean of Faculty at Taft School)

“I have recommended you to others again and again because I have been impressed with the breadth of your knowledge, your follow-through, and your apparent interest in your clients. You were able to provide our daughter with enough options to give her variety and choice, but helped her narrow them so as not to be overwhelmed. You also seemed to understand, or perhaps she was able to communicate, her desire for something more conventional, more school-like for the first semester of her gap year and then something more adventurous for the second half. You listened well.

I was also very worried, when we started the process, about how in the world we were going to be able to find a reputable and worthwhile program for her that I would feel confident about and to whom I would feel safe in entrusting my daughter. Many friends had many recommendations; I felt overwhelmed. Your expertise and authoritativeness relieved my fears. Your ability to put our daughter in touch with others who had done the programs helped make it all seem possible and less unknown. Engaging your services was the best thing we did. I love the fact that you are with her for life!! What a wonderful resource.”

Bill Miller
(parent of gap year student,
writing Interim after 10 years)

"You coached Laura through a year of illuminating travel between her 2004 graduation from Sag Harbor’s high school here on Long Island and her enrollment at Cooper Union in the fall of 2005. By the time Laura returned from her time in India, Thailand, New Zealand, Ireland and Spain, she was a changed person. She was ready to engage in her studies at Cooper Union in a way that set her apart from her classmates. I hope that I have helped to conjure a spark of memory of my fiery redheaded daughter. I’m sure we thanked you at the end of that year.

Now that a decade has passed I’d like you to know that I continue to be grateful for the experience you worked with Laura to create. The decision to send Laura off to get to know the world a bit was probably one of the better decisions that my wife, Shirley, and I made as parents. Laura has continued to distinguish herself (and travel) in the 5 years since her graduation from Cooper. And to me, that is what most matters. I want you to hear this because I feel that it is good to get a glimpse now and then of the long-term impact of our influence on another human. I am very proud of my daughter and the daring way she leads her life. And you certainly contributed to the way she learned to live."

Ed Spychalsky
(parent of 2 gap year students)

“Since we first started with Interim with our daughter, Alex, and more recently with our son Eddie, we have had nothing but positive experiences. I have watched them go off on unique adventures, and while they may have had some reservations when first starting out on them, I have always been pleased to hear the positive stories they tell when they return. I have also seen in them a sense of independence, self-reliance and general ability to handle situations that are "out of the norm" that I attribute in large part to their experiences during their gap years. What is more amazing is that these traits are not only noticed by me, but I often hear compliments about the independence my children exhibit from other parents as well. I always take the opportunity when my children are given such a compliment to inform that person of the virtues of a gap year in general and Interim in specific as a great resource in this area. You have all been wonderful and I cannot thank you enough.”

Leslie Newman
(parent of 2 gap year students)

“We have had excellent experience with Interim going back over five years. Our son, now a college junior, took a year off between high school and college and Interim helped him piece together a wonderful year. He spent a lot of time in South Africa in several different programs ranging from tutoring in a rural school where he also started a basketball team, to working on a game reserve, to working in a program assisting patients from a township with their medical care. Through ideas and programs suggested by Interim, he also did a wilderness EMT course and spent time on a rebuilding project on the Gulf Coast and working on a building project in Arizona.  Each program built upon and helped develop an interest of our son's, was well supervised, and offered social interactions that have become lasting relationships for him.

The people at Interim know the people who work in the programs they suggest. They know details that are helpful to our kids and to us as the kids go off to often very remote places. We would not send our kids (our other son has followed their advice to other programs as well) on these kinds of programs without this kind of support and knowledge and we now have had fairly extensive experience that Interim's information and judgment are exceptionally on-point and sound.”

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