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Learn about a Gap Year with the TeenLife 2017 Guide

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It takes a lot of hard work to get into college, and it’s a big financial commitment. Those are both good reasons to take the time to discover more about yourself and the world before diving back into academics.

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If you’re thinking of taking a gap year or semester, our 2017 Guide to Gap Year Programs is the perfect tool for exploring your options and planning your time, or finding an independent advisor who can help you.

Research shows that college-bound students benefit enormously by taking a break between high school and college and that time out from academics helps students to be more motivated once they get to college. Some colleges are now offering their own gap or “bridge” year programs to encourage students to get life experience before living on campus. Even Malia Obama, the President’s daughter, is taking a gap year before she starts Harvard in the fall of 2017.

Gap programs, like the ones in this guide, can help you see the world beyond your doorstep, meet people who are different from your family and usual friends, and learn to be responsible for yourself in a way that prepares you for life beyond high school.

You could learn a language and experience a new culture through programs like the EF Gap Year Program; perform community service abroad through Cross-Cultural Solutions or Raleigh International; work on academic skills at SOAR; intern in Washington, D.C., with American University or sail to Cuba with Ocean Passages. You’ll find those programs and more in our 2017 guide.

Gap programs don’t have to be exotic or expensive. We have advice on how to afford the gap program of your dreams, how to plan a gap year or semester and even how to look after yourself in a faraway country. Feeling overwhelmed? Consult one of the many gap advisors listed on TeenLife.com who can help you plan the year that best fits your interests and budget.

If you want to learn more about exciting experienced-based programs, visit TeenLife.com and join our community. And we’d love to hear about you! Email me and tell me what you discover during your gap year.

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Marie Schwartz is the CEO and Founder of TeenLife Media. Marie launched TeenLife in 2007 after moving to Boston with her husband and two middle school sons and discovering that there were no information resources for families with older children. Today, TeenLife's award-winning website lists thousands of summer and gap year programs, schools, college admission resources and volunteer opportunities for teens around the world.

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