TeenLife Blog

Supporting teen success, one post at a time

Category: Gap Years

Posted Dec. 17, 2015, 9 a.m. by Melanie Biles | View Comments
Study Abroad in High School? Why I Took the Plunge.

Going to France was always going to be a part of my life. When I was 14, my friend Kira’s father told us over dinner about when he had studied overseas in high school. I had always dreamed of studying abroad. Having grown up with close friends from Japan, France, and India, I had loved learning about other cultures and knew that travel would be an influential component of my life. That night, as we lingered over plates of pasta and Kira’s dad painted pictures of cobblestone streets and tiny boulangeries smelling of fresh bread and melting sugar, I knew ...

Posted Oct. 30, 2015, 8 a.m. by The Experts at TeenLife | View Comments
Make the Most of Your Gap Year with a D.C. Internship

Oonagh Cavanagh grew up in a small Vermont town, hiking, camping, skiing, and loving anything that had to do with the outdoors. So when she was looking for a gap experience before college, she looked for a program where she could put her passion about protecting the environment to work. The answer was American University’s Gap Program. AU offers gap students a chance to spend a semester or year in Washington, D.C., both studying and working as an intern. “I was ready for a change of pace,” says Oonagh, who spent a semester interning at the Earth Day Network and ...

Posted July 28, 2015, 8 a.m. by Casey Adams | View Comments
Four Lessons for Teens Camping in the Outdoors

Camping means no phone. It means no bed, no TV and, probably, no shower. At first pass, camping doesn’t seem comfortable or fun. So why bother packing up and heading to a nearby campground or lake or even farther? Well, you just might come back home with a few beautiful life lessons in addition to those stunning photos you can share when you have service again. A few National Outdoor Leadership School (NOLS) graduates shared their camping experiences and collected a list of life lessons. Let us know what you learn from getting outside, whether it's the back country or ...

Posted March 13, 2015, 10 a.m. by Ginger Fay | View Comments
should you take a gap year

I have been applying to college for 20 years. Don’t worry—I’m not bad at it (I did get in the first time around!), I just like working with students going through the application process so much that I have made it my career. I have worked in selective college admissions, a boarding school, a day school, an international school, and outside the school system as an Independent Educational Consultant (IEC). I have counseled hundreds of students through the ups and downs of the application process to hundreds of different colleges. In all that time, I have met a lot of ...

Posted Feb. 10, 2015, 10 a.m. by Ginger Fay | View Comments
cheap gap year programs

When I was in high school, I thought a gap year—a magical interim year spent investigating something or everything before heading off to college—was an opportunity reserved for the über rich, those students who could afford to postpone a year of earning potential and had parents who could afford to fund an additional year of education. Ten years later, when I joined the College Counseling Office at Phillips Academy, a boarding school in Massachusetts that regularly sends a percentage of its senior class off on such adventures, I learned that with some careful planning, almost anyone can afford to take ...

Posted Jan. 15, 2015, 11:37 a.m. by Eliza Cope | View Comments
use gap year fairs

Taking a gap year is an increasingly popular choice among college-bound high school seniors. From local and international community service or trekking through the wilderness, to residential internships, gap year programs give teens the opportunity to find direction and purpose before entering the college environment. Students who take gap years are able to pursue their existing passions, discover new interests, and challenge themselves in ways that often result in increased self-awareness, maturity, and confidence. The gap year enables teens to take a break, as it were, from the intense academic climate of school and allows them to truly be ready ...

Posted Jan. 1, 2015, 10 a.m. by TeenLife Blogger | View Comments
how you hike in the appalachian mountains during a gap year

A series of conservation trails spanning the entire 2,180 miles from Maine to Southern Georgia, the Appalachian Trail is considered to be a rite of passage for American adventurers. Only one in four people who begin this trail, though, get a chance to complete it. For many, taking the required amount of time off of work or studies is one of the major obstacles more than the actual difficulty of the hike itself. One of the most fantastic things about having a year off between graduating high school and the start of college is the ability to complete this trail ...

Posted Dec. 30, 2014, 1 p.m. by Tracy Morgan | View Comments
avoid disaster on gap year

Although most teens head off on their gap year without a backward glance, parents can be left feeling worried, stressed, and often powerless. These are all entirely normal reactions to an understandably tricky time for parents; however, by helping your gap yaer student carefully prepare for any eventualities or unforeseen situations, you will feel a lot more at ease during their time away. Help Them Plan a Budget Few teens will have the luxury of having an unlimited budget while taking a gap year overseas, and if their finances are not planned in advance, they may run short of money ...

Posted Dec. 11, 2014, 10 a.m. by Danny Kalman | View Comments
Gap Year Lingual Immersion

“Danny, we’re going downtown. Want to come?” Of course I wanted to come. “No thanks guys,” I replied. The next week, “Danny, we’re going to the park. Come with us!” “I’d love to but not this time.” My buddies were starting to wonder why I rarely joined them. This pattern developed while living in Jerusalem for ten months on a study program. It may appear that I was a bona fide recluse. However, the opposite was true. The Golden Rules for Gap Year Lingual Immersion Rule #1: Ignore Your Friends My American and European buddies on the program were delightful ...

Posted Oct. 29, 2014, 10 a.m. by Tracy Morgan | View Comments
learning a language on a gap year

Many educational experts are quick to extol the virtues of taking a gap year between high school and college, in that it brings immense benefits (both personal and career-wise) for teens. Learning (or improving) a language not only provides a great deal of satisfaction, but it can also set a teen in good stead for future life. What Benefits Can Learning a Language Offer? The most important, and long-reaching, benefit of learning a new language is undoubtedly for future career prospects. Having a second (or third) language under their belt can open up a teen’s options, and make them very ...

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