Designed for ambitious high school graduates. Gap Year is ideal for students who are deferring college enrollment, taking time off between life stages or simply seeking an intellectual adventure as they consider future educational and professional plans.
Gap Year is a program for ambitious high school graduates seeking a transformative intellectual adventure in New York City. Students are mentored by Times experts—some of the world’s greatest thinkers on topics ranging from politics, culture, business, technology and more. This semester-long program gives students the opportunity to explore their passions and grapple with complex subjects while sharpening important life skills such as effective communication, critical thinking, information literacy, leadership and ethics. As a school, we embrace three “Timesian” traits that are fundamental to the ethos of The New York Times: exploring the world with passion and curiosity; analyzing topics and events rigorously through unbiased eyes; and adhering to strong ethics, authenticity of character and the idea that transparency in sharing ideas and information is the foundation of good citizenship. In our Gap Year program, these traits are infused throughout the semester-long experience—from the courses we offer to the networking opportunities provided.
During their semester with The School students will take five core courses and conduct one independent learning project. Courses include:
Discovering Your Discipline: The course provides tools and frameworks for exploring topics of interest and ultimately helps students choose a discipline that will serve as the foundation for their Gap Year Independent Learning Project.
Research & Information Literacy: How do you know that something is true? Students explore what qualifies as evidence, how to communicate truth concisely and how to contribute to civil discourse in an unbiased fashion.
The Art of Persuasion: Developing and communicating evidence-based arguments in a persuasive way is an important academic and life skill, despite it rarely being taught in school. Students learn techniques designed to test competing opinions, formulate evidence-based arguments and practice the art of persuasion.
Systems Thinking: The ability to connect a local event to a global structure requires an aptitude for critical thinking. In this course, students examine three interconnected global systems and learn how to apply systems thinking across local and global events.
Cultural & Social Exploration: Culture is a vital part of a civil society, providing its members the opportunity to celebrate, protest and build cross-cultural bridges. In this course, students delve into the vibrant cultural and social scene in New York City to analyze, debate and critique cultural, social and political works, movements and events. Independent
The Independent Learning Project is the central component of the Gap Year program. Students are interviewed and matched with a faculty member to work on a new or existing independent project. Students may choose a piece of writing, new media, photography or other medium in a genre of their choosing. Students follow a structured plan that facilitates their work but also teaches them a step-by-step process to tackle a project of any size (brainstorming, project planning, research, production and revision processes). The project development process itself is at the foundation of high-level thinking and autonomous exploration, and is a key skill often missing from traditional education structures.
Students will emerge from the program with a strong sense of self, imbued with a framework of deepened understanding about what drives their passions, issues that are meaningful to them and where they stand in relation to those issues. Students will walk away with important attributes that are in short supply in both the work force and academic communities—such as strong communication, research and analytical skills. Gap Year students will develop the confidence to self-direct the production of good, ethical work in order to contribute to the path they choose to pursue.