What is a gap year?
The concept of a gap year originated in the United Kingdom during the 1960s and has since become quite popular in Europe, Australia, New Zealand and Canada. It refers to time taken off between the end of high school and before entering college, time typically spent working or volunteering abroad. In the last few years the popularity of taking a gap year has risen sharply in the United States and for good reason; as college becomes the norm for an ever-increasing number of high school graduates, these students and their parents are realizing the importance of experiences outside the insular culture of often highly competitive schools.
A gap year gives students a broader outlook on life, helping put their education in perspective and positively shaping the way they approach college. Students have the opportunity to break out of their shell, be challenged by the world around them, and learn to be a critical thinker. A gap program gives students a chance to explore their interests in an educational setting away from the pressures of school, while building character and giving back to the world in a meaningful way. Many colleges offer a deferment option for those taking a gap year.
Why an Adventures Cross-Country gap semester?
ARCC’s 31 years of field experience in every corner of the globe has given us a unique perspective on service-learning. Over the years we’ve built personal relationships in the communities we visit, facilitating our students’ experience by getting off the beaten path and providing a truly authentic immersion experience. An ARCC gap semester offers a unique blend of experiential education in the field, deeply meaningful service work in partnership with local communities, and incredible adventure in some of the most fascinating places on Earth.
Through our years of experience, we’ve developed a well thought out infrastructure that includes an outstanding attention to detail. Together with our partners on the ground, we have an intimate knowledge of each location including information on local medical access and a well-established emergency action plan for any possible scenario.
Is an ARCC gap semester right for me?
Students choose to enroll in gap year programs for a variety of reasons. Perhaps you want to explore different interests before committing to a major in college or recharge after high school graduation. Regardless of the reasons, our students share a passion for exploration, a desire to make a difference in the world and a thirst for learning more about the world and themselves. An ARCC gap semester is an experience unlike any other and can be intense at times, as students step out of their comfort zones. Prior to admission, students will be interviewed to determine if an ARCC gap semester is the right fit for them.
What is the application process like for the ARCC gap semester?
The first step is to fill out a reservation request by clicking here or on the “Enroll Now” button at the top-right of this screen. After you complete your reservation request, you will be contacted by the director of your gap semester to talk about your interest in the program. You will also receive a more comprehensive application packet, including two references and an essay section. After the director has had the chance to look over your application (typically 2-3 weeks after it has been mailed in), he/she will call you to schedule an interview.
What do colleges think of gap programs?
Many students and parents fear that taking time off between high school and college puts them at a disadvantage when applying to college. In truth, many colleges look favorably upon this decision, seeing it as a sign that students are taking their education seriously and not just following an expected path. For example, Princeton University has actively begun promoting the gap experience through their Bridge Year Program.
A gap program allows students time to reflect on their future goals, both educational and otherwise, and provides them with the chance to explore a variety of interests. Students enter or return to college more focused and sure of themselves. Many colleges offer a deferment option for those taking a gap year.
See our Why Gap section for more information.
How is ARCC’s gap year structured?
Our program is structured around a two gap semester outline, one in the fall and one in the spring. These semesters can be combined to form a complete Gap Year or enjoyed individually. In Spring 2013, ARCC will offer our Latin America gap semester. For Fall 2013 Adventures Cross-Country will offer all three of our gap semesters: Africa, Asia and Latin America.
What are the age requirements for the ARCC gap semester?
To be eligible, students must have graduated from high school and have completed no more than one year of college. Typically our students range in age from 17 to 20 years old.
Can I get college credit for the program?
Yes, in conjunction with Seattle Central Community College (SCCC) Office of Cooperative Education and Service Learning, students can receive up to 20 quarter credits for each Gap Semester. SCCC is accredited through the Northwestern Association of Schools and Colleges which is widely accepted throughout the country at both public universities and private institutions. We also encourage college students or those deferring their freshman year to speak with their colleges regarding credit. Click here to learn more about the college credit option.
What is Adventures Cross-Country’s drug and alcohol policy?
ARCC does not tolerate the possession or use of illegal drugs or alcohol. If a participant is found possessing the above, or engaging in one of these activities, he/she will be sent home immediately at the expense of the parent/guardian. In such an event, no refunds will be granted.
What are the accommodations like?
Our accommodations throughout the semester vary from location to location. Due to the nature of our itineraries, the accommodations can range from a rustic village / home stay, to a local guesthouse, to a picturesque campground, to a beach bungalow. While many of our accommodations are off the beaten path, they are all clean, safe and well-suited for our students.
Is airfare covered in the tuition cost?
No. Airfare is additional and generally ranges from $1400 - $2000.
What happens if a student becomes sick or is injured?
Adventures Cross-Country has a well-developed infrastructure in place to accommodate any medical issues that arise. From our gap instructors, to our in-country partners, to our 24/7 office staff, all medical conditions, or unlikely event of an emergency, are handled with immediacy and full attention.
Who are ARCC Gap Leaders?
ARCC gap leaders are exceptional. Their backgrounds may range from a service with the Peace Corps, to a fluency in the local language, to teaching full time in a high school, to a graduate degree in international development, to an extensive resume of leading international programs. All of our leaders have one shared commonality: a love for teaching young people about the outdoors and the global world. Our leaders are outstanding individuals and are committed to providing an unforgettable semester that enriches their students on a daily basis. ARCC leaders inspire, motivate, mentor and set a positive example that lasts far beyond the end of each student's gap experience. We are proud of the fact that they are conscientious, caring adults with a sense of humor, enthusiastic character, and an ability to teach.
What is communication like while on course?
Communication on semester can vary depending on location. Typically our students purchase an in-country cell phone, sometimes sharing one among a few students, and have the option to call home usually once every couple of weeks. Communication with home is discretionary according to the wishes of each student. Students will also have the option to visit an internet café once in a while to hop on the internet and send emails home. Each group also maintains a trip blog that friends and family can check during their adventure via our website.