Facts and Figures

The Gap Year Association is the standards-setting and accrediting organization in the United States for gap year programs. Its National Alumni Survey Report shares information about the hopes and results of gap years from the student perspective. Perhaps most notable from the Executive Summary: "Gappers experienced the greatest impacts related to their personal growth and development" and "Those who participated in a gap year had, on average, shorter times to graduation and higher GPAs as compared to national norms."

Gap Year, American Style highlights the findings of authors Karl Haigler & Rae Nelson, who surveyed 300 gap year alumni. Most of the 300 students surveyed are Interim students; 40 of the 55 gap year alumni featured in the book are Interim students.

Gap year students overwhelmingly report being satisfied with their jobs which related to their less selfish approach to working with people and careers.

Highest three rated outcomes of gap years:
    1. Gaining a better sense of who I am and what is important to me
    2. A better understanding of other countries, people, cultures, and ways of living
    3. Additional skills and knowledge that contributed to my career or academic major
Top two reasons for taking a gap year: 
    1. Burnout from the competitive pressure of high school
    2. A desire to find out more about myself
90% of students who took a gap year returned to college within a year

60% of gap year students said the experience either “set me on my current career path/academic major” or “confirmed my choice of career/academic major”

Bob Clagett, with nearly 30 years of admissions experience at Harvard College and Middlebury College, designed methodology to track gap year students’ over/under-performance of GPA. His research on Middlebury College and University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill gap year students reveals consistently higher GPAs than non-gap year peers through all four years of college.

Mark Hatch, Vice President for Enrollment at Colorado College, shares research on their gap year students. The results have led to a stated interest in having 20% of the incoming freshman class have taken a gap year because:
  1.  they have higher GPAs than their non-gap year peers
  2. gap year males outperform non-gap year females (significant given how females generally outperform males in college)
  3. they take less time to graduate
  4. they have fewer behavioral issues & tend to be leaders on campus

USA Gap Year Fairs have been taking place nationwide since 2007. There were 40 fairs in 20 states across the United States in 2019, attended by more than 6,000 potential gappers and their families. Interim counselors have been a keynote speaker at these events since 2007.

National Association for College Admission Counseling (NACAC), Higher Education Consultants Association (HECA) and Independent Educational Consultants Association (IECA) have been increasingly seeking out gap year experts to attend their conferences to further educate college counselors on the benefits of the gap year. Interim counselors have spoken on most of these panels. 

Princeton University created the Bridge Year program for a percentage of their incoming freshmen class each year; they fund most of this 9 months of international service work and cultural immersion. Princeton University asked Interim's President, Holly Bull, to consult with them in their creation of the Bridge Year Program, and she recommended a number of programs for their eventual field partnerships.

Tufts University created a gap year program called the 1+4 program. Tufts University met with Holly Bull and Cornelius Bull from Interim in the early 90s when Tufts was considering the option of offering a deferred year of service work to their students. This was long before the 1+4 Tufts program eventually emerged.

Harvard University brings up the gap year option to all accepted incoming freshmen in their admittance letter.

University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill has a 1.5 million dollar anonymous donation earmarked to fund UNC students taking a gap year; each student receives $7,500 to put toward their year.

American University has created a gap year program.


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