I thought I would make a list of gap year program websites after attending a recent college fair for gap year programs that was put on by USA GAP YEAR FAIRS www.USAGapYearFairs.org but have changed my mind on the list. I couldn’t believe what happened when I arrived at the gap year college fair. The parking lot at the school was full, and when I walked into the school’s library, the two levels were jammed with so many people I had to cut through book stacks to collect literature from every program. Every table have five to fifty parents and students surrounding it! I was shocked.

Thirty-five programs filled the library. There had to have hundreds of parents and students waiting to talk with representatives. What I learned was that instead of listing link after link to different programs, it would be better to list links to American Gap Association http://americangap.org/gap-year.php. Why? Because I’m a huge fan of professional associations that self-regulate members. After visiting American Gap Association’s website, I found they provide links to many different programs as well as they have continued accreditation system. That’s important because anytime a gap year program changes hands, new owners must seek accreditation.

When I visited American Gap Association’s website, sixteen programs were listed as current in their accreditation. http://americangap.org/gap-year-programs.php. I would rather provide a link to them so that those interested in gap years can find the latest programs that have been accredited as well as reviews of those programs They also shared the website of thirty-one programs that were not accredited. I found that interesting. Not all were gap programs, some links were to books.

I was interested in advice about taking a gap year. What I found helpful was that the site advocated for students taking care of college business – deferrals, deposits, and questions to determine how much time to devote to a gap experience as well as self-reflect on the reason for the experience. http://americangap.org/planning.php. It’s important to understand how to keep oneself safe while traveling and why it’s happening.

Want to read more about the benefits of taking a gap year? American Gap Association stays current and links to articles on the gap experience.

http://www.npr.org/2016/05/02/476498743/malia-obamas-gap-year-highlights-growing-trend-in-u-s

https://www.nytimes.com/2016/05/03/travel/how-to-plan-a-gap-year.html?_r=1&mtrref=americangap.org&gwh=03170882F5A409CF5801451478162F57&gwt=pay

http://time.com/3896925/gap-year-college-count/

Attending the fair enlightened me as to how much there is to learn about gap years. It’s a growing movement for students to take a year off from college, but not for play although there’s fun to be had. Gap years afford students a time to learn outside of the straight academic trajectory, a time to inform the subsequent college years.