WE HAVE ANSWERS
FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS
You've got questions, and we've got answers. We've compiled a list of FAQs below to address the types of questions we get all the time from the students and families we work with.
Why should I work with Intrepid Gap to plan my gap year?
We’re glad you found us! Planning a gap year is a big undertaking and we are committed to helping you and your family make this a smooth and successful process. We are experts on the gap year industry from the inside-out; we’ve been gap year students, worked as instructors/guides and as administrators for leading organizations in the field. Working with us will help you get the most out of your gap time and we will help you identify unique opportunities that are aligned with your interests and goals. We will also help you and your family find programs and opportunities that are well established, have been vetted and have strong risk management policies and practices. Save time, money, and mental energy by allowing us to suss out the best gap year options for you. Googling “best gap year opportunities” will only take you so far.
How is Intrepid Gap different from other gap year counselors?
We take a holistic approach to gap year planning. We recognize that you and your family are making a big investment in your education and future and we want to make sure that you have the most successful and impactful year possible. At Intrepid Gap, we work in three phases:
Dream. If you could do anything on your gap year, what would it be? This is the planning process where we work together to plan out the perfect gap year for YOU. We also help you navigate through the college application and deferral process if this is the route you are choosing.
Experience. Together, we make it happen and you go do it! We stay in touch while you are having your gap experience to make sure you feel supported and are having an experience with intention and reflection.
Actualize. You return home and together we make an action plan and keep the growth going in your next steps in life. We turn your newfound values, interests, and dreams into realities in your new life - whether that be college, career, or something else.
We take this process seriously but approach our work together casually - we want to get to know you as a person (not just a student!) and learn what lights your fire and what makes you tick. We pride ourselves on the high level of support and coaching we provide to all of our clients and look forward to getting to know you better.
We have a couple of different package options and strive to make gap year counseling an affordable and accessible option. You can read more about our packages here. We have a limited number of sliding scale slots open per year so please contact us if you would like more information.
If I’m going to take a gap year, when should I apply for college? Should I defer?
There’s a couple different ways to go about this. If you know where you’d like to go to college and/or what you want to study, we’d recommend that you go through the application process during your senior year of high school. It’ll be a much easier process with the support of your guidance counselor - they can help you gather all of your references and paperwork and make sure you stay on track. If you choose to go this route, make sure you talk with your intended college or university about their deferral policy. You’ll need to defer your enrollment for the duration of your gap year. Most schools will give you the okay to do this but if they give you any trouble, we recommend being persistent!
If decide you want to apply to college during your gap year, we recommend that you have all of your application materials ready to go before you embark on any of your gap adventures. It’s important that you are able to stay present on your gap year and not have to worry about lingering paperwork and application deadlines while being engaged in an experience of a lifetime (likely with limited internet access from a small village in Zimbabwe!?) so the sooner you can get everything in place, the better.
My parents are a little skeptical about gap years. Do you have any suggestions for me? What are the benefits of taking a gap year?
Of course! First, start by doing your research. The more research you’ve done and the more information you can share with your parents, the better. We always find it helpful to use statistics and research to show the benefits of taking a gap year. It’s also important that you show that you are taking initiative and that you are committed to getting the most out of your gap year too. The Gap Year Association has a page on their website all about gap year data and benefits. This is a great place to start and a great page to share with your family. Here’s a few fast facts and figures for you to refer to as well:
90% of students who took a gap year returned to college or university within a year (source: WSJ)
98% of gap year students reported that their gap year helped them develop as a person and 97% reported that their gap year helped them mature (Gap Year Association)
On average, gap year students graduate from college within 4 years. Note that the national average is 6 years!
We also have a blog post about the benefits of taking a gap year. Take a look here.
There are many benefits of taking a gap year that are a little trickier to put into numbers. We’ve worked with 100’s of gap year students over the last 10 years and have noticed a few trends. Many of our students have reported that their responsible travel skills have improved, others say that they feel like they know more about their interests and goals for the future. Students often develop new friendships and build communities that will last a lifetime and many students (and their parents) report that they feel more mature and self aware. All good things!
If you think it would be helpful to speak to a gap year alumni, let us know. We are happy to provide references and most gap year programs out there are happy to do the same. We are here to help!
It seems like a gap year is pretty expensive - do you have any ideas about how I can make this more affordable?
We do! We have lots of ideas about how you can make your gap year more affordable. Read on:
Check out our blog - Gap Year Options That Won’t Break the Bank
There are a number of gap year specific scholarships available. The Gap Year Association has compiled a great list here.
We have plenty of international and domestic placement options for students on a budget. Your options might be a little more limited but let us know what you’re interested in doing and let’s see how we can make it happen!
Do I have to travel abroad on my gap year or are there other options out there for me?
The options for your gap year are nearly endless. One of the benefits of working with a gap year counselor like Intrepid Gap is that we are able to help you identify opportunities that are directly aligned with your goals, budget and interests. If you’re interested in staying a bit closer to home for your gap year, we can support you to find structured programs, internships, classes, volunteer placements and more. Examples of domestic gap year opportunities include: living and volunteering on an Indian reservation in the American West, being a member of a trail conservation crew, living and working on an organic farm, studying film production and interning with a film studio, and more!