The Best Gap Year Programs After High School

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Now that you have settled on the idea of taking a gap year, you’re likely wondering what you should do now. However, the answer is simple. It is time to start planning.

One thing you want to make sure you don’t do is go into your gap year blindly. It would help if you had a general idea of how the year should flow and ultimately what you are looking to accomplish for the year. Imagine your gap year flying by and doing nothing to change your current position. How devastating would that be? That is where we come in.

We are looking to help you make your gap year easier by providing you with some excellent information on gap year programs. If you wonder what the heck a gap program is ad how you can take advantage, all you have to do is keep reading.

What is a Gap Year Program?What is a Gap Year Program?

There are several gap year programs for high school graduates and even gap year programs after college. As the name implies, this is often a program during your gap year to help you get back on track. The type of program you choose often depends on your personal needs and where you are in your life’s journey.

Several paid gap year programs happen at many destinations throughout the world. This includes online programs, daytime options, and even residential programs. The length of these programs does not need to span your entire year. They can last anywhere from a week to a whole academic year.

These programs can vary in interest and specialty. Some programs are designed to help you see the world, whereas others may have been founded to help students cope with their disabilities before entering college. This helps to ensure that they are physically and mentally prepared for what is to come. Other programs may include information on career readiness, provide mentors, work on language cultivation, and so much more.

A gap year program is not mandatory, and you may choose to complete your journey of self-discovery on your own. Regardless of what option you choose, it likely will not be cheap. This is one thing you should keep in mind when even deciding if a gap year is for you. Can you afford it?

How Much Does a Gap Year Program Cost?

How Much Does a Gap Year Program Cost?

Gap year programs will likely vary in price point. These programs go from a few thousand to upwards of $40,000. Depending on what amenities you are looking for the program offers, this number may go substantially up or down. If you are expecting to attend one of the best gap year programs out there, you should also be ready to spend some money.

With these numbers in mind, gap programs are not for everyone. If you have a limited budget or money to spend on optional educational programs, the higher-priced options may be something you can miss out on. However, doing things like volunteering in your community, finding a mentor via school or work, or connecting with other like-minded individuals could be low-cost options for creating an informal program.

Taking smaller classes rather than an extensive program may also be something you can do to combat costs. However, there are some affordable programs out there.

Being that gap year programs will vary in price point, it’s essential to know what should go into picking a program, something you will read about further in this article. Knowing what is available to you, one portion of the battle is only.

What are the Best Gap Year Programs After High School?

What are the Best Gap Year Programs After High School?

If you are graduating high school, you are likely looking for a gap year program that will be fulfilling and offer you the most life experience before entering college. The list below provides some of the best gap year programs for high school graduates. They also vary in price points, making it easy to see the potential of what is offered.

  • College readiness programs are always a hit for students coming out of high school. For example, Dynamy Internship Year is a program that allows students to receive college credit. This program provides courses n professionalism, workshops on life skills and even provides students with a supplemental college experience living in intern-specific apartments. The program has two options, including a full academic year or a semester. Students must apply in order to be admitted to the program.
  • Suppose you are a traveler or looking to experience the thrill before you settle into the mundane activities of life. In that case, a more adventure-based program that offers community involvement and learning new skills may be an excellent investment. High Desert Gap Year is one of the more affordable programs for the budding adventurer. It takes students on an abundance of adventures that aid in their personal and survival growth. Students experience backpacking, surviving in the wilderness, and even interviewing strangers. If you are looking for a more community-based program, this is an excellent option for you.
  • Language and cultural exchange programs are another program type that could appeal to the new graduate. These are generally shorter than a full year but provide a breadth of possibility. These programs allow students to experience culture in another place that is likely vastly different from theirs. For example, CIEE Gap Year Abroad and Carpe Diem Education are two options that allow students to see and experience the world.

How to Choose the Right Gap Year Program After High School?

How to Choose the Right Gap Year Program After High School?

Now that you have made the tough decision to take a gap year, it’s time to complete the even tougher decision of picking a program for you. It would help if you considered several factors when sighing up for a gap year program. These characteristics can range from simple things like location and price to more complex options like amenities and offerings. Remember, your gap year program should help you grow in ways that you may not have experienced otherwise. Use the list below to aid you in knowing what to look for in the best gap year program for you.


Regardless of what you tell yourself, price is one of the essential characteristics. Though this may not be an issue for some, you do not want to start college or life with new and potentially unnecessary debt. Gap year programs can boast a variety of price points. Before searching for programs, give yourself a realistic budget. If you are looking for a residential-based program, you will likely be spending more than if you completed an online program. It would also be smart to research financial aid options or enlist the help of parents and family.


Another important option is location. As mentioned, gap year programs can take place all across the globe or right at home. Some programs will also offer the option for group travel. Before looking at programs, decide if you are looking to stay closer to home or gain the adventure of a lifetime. Location will often have a large effect on price. Programs can also follow a hybrid approach where you are in one place and move to another for some time.

When thinking about travel programs, it is important to consider what type of housing is available to you, depending on your location. Some programs may offer things like hotel accommodations or apartment living, but others may require staying in tents, bunking with others, or hostel stays.

Amenities Offered

What your program offers is by far one of the most important things that you can consider. If you are looking for a college readiness program that teaches you life skills, you likely should not sign up for a program that offers more travel than classroom preparation. Make sure that your goals are clear to narrow down your search properly for you.

Other potential amenities may include things like the materials that are included with purchase. Things like activities, events, meals, and even equipment are all things that will likely cost, and it’s essential to know if that is included or if you will have to find alternatives for yourself.

Looking at sample schedules and plans for the program is a helpful way to get this information. You may even try talking to past participants to get a firsthand account of what to expect.

Length of Program

Are you looking to take a program that lasts a few weeks or an entire academic year? You will likely need to know early as programs that have a longer time period will potentially require an earlier application date. Several programs offer various options for timing. These may include programs offerings that last a full academic year, a semester, or even a summer. Other programs may also be offered in intervals as short as a week.


Last but not least, your interests play a prominent role in what program you choose. If you are a person who is passionate about the outdoors and doing community outreach work, it is safe to say you will not spend your money on an entire classroom-based program. This program is meant to help you grow; therefore, it’s important to be real about the things you want to do and how you are looking to grow.

Wrapping Things Up: The Best Gap Year Programs After High School

Picking the best gap year program for you is not always easy. There are several extravagant programs out there that can offer travel opportunities and more; however, if those programs don’t interest you, that is okay. More affordable options can be found or even created informally. You must consider several things when picking a program, with the largest being its cost.

If you are a high school graduate, several programs have been created with you in mind. These programs are meant to ease you into college life and mentor you through this transitional period. Dynamy Internship Year is an excellent example of this.

Regardless of what you are looking for, we hope you use the information provided to help you find a program that will help you grow as a person and prepare you for your next stage in life.

Professor Conquer
Professor Conquer

Professor Conquer started Conquer Your Exam in 2018 to help students feel more confident and better prepared for their tough tests. Prof excelled in high school, graduating top of his class and receiving admissions into several Ivy League and top 15 schools. He has helped many students through the years tutoring and mentoring K-12, consulting seniors through the college admissions process, and writing extensive how-to guides for school.

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