As you near the end of your high school career and begin to approach the transition to college life, you may have thought about the possibility of waiting a year before entering college and have questions pertaining to gap years. Many students are excited by the prospect of bridging their high school and college years with an experience beyond the traditional route. The option to take a gap year is open to anyone admitted to the College, and can be a great way to gain perspective, mature personally, and further define academic interests.
What should I do on a gap year?
A gap year can provide a rare and exciting opportunity to follow your passions on your own terms in a wide variety of ways or follow a program that fulfills an interest or obligation. You can gain experience working, fulfill a military or religious requirement, develop a personal talent, seek out chances to volunteer, and travel abroad independently or through a year abroad program.
Keep in mind that your gap year plans do not need to include official programs, such as those listed below; you could choose to volunteer on your own or participate in an employment opportunity. As such, no single list of programs will fully capture the breadth of opportunities for growth available to you during a gap year, but this might be a good place to start:
Global Citizen Year:
Thinking Beyond Borders
Where There Be Dragons
For students interested in a global gap year who do not yet have a plan in place, you might consider the unique immersion experience offered by a UChicago partner organization, Global Citizen Year. We have two incoming UChicago students who have spent this past year with Global Citizen Year in India, and they have had an incredible time. Note that Global Citizen Year offers need-based financial aid to make this opportunity affordable to students from all backgrounds.
If you are interested, you can apply directly at this link by May 15th, and be sure to indicate on your application that you have been admitted to the University of Chicago. As part of our partnership, Global Citizen Year is offering a $5,000 Global Changemaker scholarship to UChicago students who are selected to participate.
How does UChicago approve gap year requests?
Once you have confirmed your enrollment to UChicago, please e-mail your regional admissions counselor a short note providing an overview of your gap year plans. After that, they will let you know if your request has been approved or if they have additional questions.
Please feel free to contact us if you have any questions about gap years!