Explore Our 2024 Guide to Gap Year Programs!

    American University Online Gap Program

    American University Online Gap Program


    • Listing Type: Gap Year Programs
    • Program Delivery: Residential, Online
    • Destinations: United States
    • Credit Awarded: College, None
    • Program Length: Academic Year, Semester
    • Start Month: January, August
    • Category: Academic
    • Selective: No
    • Gender: Coed
    • Ages: 16, 17, 18, 19+, 19
    • Housing: Dorm
    • Financial Aid: Grants/Scholarships, Not Available
    • Minimum Cost: $10,000 - $20,000
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    American University’s Gap Program offers an academic and internship experience in our nation’s capital, providing the perfect springboard for future academic and career success. This year American University's Gap Program will offer 100% online or hybrid internships and seminars for the fall semester.

    Our semester programs include a three-day-per-week internship plus a seminar course in American Politics, International Affairs, or Global Business. Students earn 7 college credits per semester. Enroll for a single semester (fall or spring) or a full academic year.

    Real-World Career Experience

    The AU Gap internship experience allows you to build your professional skill set, make contacts, and gain real-world experience. With a database of over 3,000 internship contacts at your disposal, you have the opportunity to truly explore your interests. Do you want to work at a governement agency, an embassy, an arts organization, a tech start-up, an environmental organization, a sports team, or a news bureau? There is something for everyone.  You will receive one-on-one professional development support in creating your resume, writing cover letters, and conducting your internship search, developing skills you will use for years to come.

    D.C. is Your Classroom

    AU Gap Program seminar classes are learning laboratories, taking full advantage of our prime location in the nation's capital. The classes are interactive sessions led by a professor who will introduce you to local, national, and global experts. You will explore D.C., going on site visits to a wide array of organizations and businesses for an inside look.

    University Resources

    While in the program, AU Gap students are fully integrated into the AU community and have access to all campus resources. You will live in the residence halls with other first-year students, eat in campus dining facilities, and have the opportunity to join student clubs and organizations, providing you valuable first-hand insight into the college experience. Gap students are all issued a Metro pass, making getting around D.C. a breeze.

    Apply Now!

    The AU Gap Program is an excellent option if you have just completed high school and are searching for a different experience before starting college.  You will receive an AU transcript at the completion of the program which can be used in applying to colleges or for possible credit at other colleges and universities.  Visit american.edu/spexs/augap for more information.

    Reviews (2)

    • Washington, D.C. as classroom!
      stars stars stars stars stars
      Reviewed on Jun/13/2019 by John B.

      I cannot think of a better program for high school graduates who are looking for a meaningful experience before starting college than American University's Gap Program. The semester-long program combined a mentored internship (my son interned at Earth Day Network) with an experiential learning-based seminar on international affairs (with a healthy dose of environmental studies), for which students earned college credit (7 credits!), set on a vibrant university campus (Gap students are integrated into AU's residential community life) in a culturally rich and diverse city (students are provided with an unlimited-ride transit pass, costing $1 a day, to commute to internships, make site visits for the seminar, visit museums and galleries). From the initial admissions interview through the farewell assembly, it was clear that this is a well designed and well run program, for which the administrators and faculty have succeeded in defining the right mix of activities to prepare Gap students for college (and life after college!), to encourage them to bond as a cohort, and to invite them to participate in the many offerings of AU and take advantage of the countless opportunities awaiting them in Washington, D.C., indeed itself a classroom of American University.

    • AU Gap was an awesome experience!
      stars stars stars stars stars
      Reviewed on Oct/14/2015 by Oonagh

      The American University Gap Program provided me with a semester of experience in Washington, DC that was truly unique to the school and the city. The program involves one course through American University and an internship. The course I took during my semester was American Politics focusing on Justice and Law. Through that class, we visited many locations that are exclusive to Washington, DC. My favorite visit was to the FBI Academy in Quantico, Virginia. We received a very in-depth tour of the facility, which was truly exciting as visitors are rarely allowed to see the school behind the scenes. We even toured their mock town where they hold many training events.

      The second part of my experience was an internship three days a week at the Earth Day Network. This organization is an NGO focused on climate change and the environment. Through my internship, I was able to gain some real work experience. I wrote blog posts for the organization and helped with outreach to South American countries for Earth Day festivities. We also hosted a rally on the National Mall with many guest speakers and musicians, I was able to work backstage at this event. My professor and advisors at American University were extremely supportive throughout the internship application process. They made sure that we were going through the right steps and helped us to strengthen our resumes and interview skills.

      Another great piece of the program is that you are housed on the college campus. This allows you to participate in all the clubs, organizations, and special events that any college student has access to. Living in Washington, DC also allows you to get involved in just about any topic you could imagine, and there are many special events and festivals that are easy to take advantage of during your time in the city. I would recommend this program to any student is interested in experiencing Washington, DC, living on a college campus, and interning in a political town!


    • I had never intended to take a gap year. However, the decision to do so is one of the best I've ever made. Now that I recently wrapped up my first semester in college, I see the incredible benefits that the AU Gap program provided. Skills my gap experience gave me were knowing how to schedule my week, manage my time and take care of all the necessities while still having plenty of time for friends and sleep.

      - Joseph Caplis - December 10, 2017
    • When I decided to attend the AU Gap program, my primary goal was to come away with professional experience under my belt and familiarity with a collegiate academic environment. What I gained was far beyond my expectations, and truly influenced my life and goals going forward. During my semester in D.C., I interned with Vital Voices Global Partnership, a nonprofit organization dedicated to empowering women leaders all over the world to reach their full potential. Founded by Hillary Clinton and Madeline Albright, among others, Vital Voices has provided a key mentorship and support network to a diverse population of women spanning the globe. As someone deeply passionate about female empowerment and leadership, an internship with Vital Voices was an incredible opportunity to gain a first-hand understanding of the nonprofit sector, the inner workings of a global network, and above all, the power of women empowering women. As I learned to navigate working in a professional setting, I was also able to be engaged academically. My AU seminar was International Relations and U.S. Foreign Policy, which provided a fantastic learning opportunity that utilized classroom discussion in conjunction with field trips around D.C. Getting to learn about this topic in the nation's capital was a uniquely worthwhile experience, one which I would not have gotten without the AU Gap program. By the end of my gap semester, I had gained fantastic academic experience, made lasting professional connections, and become acclimated to college life. Perhaps the most fulfilling aspect of my semester, however, was the incredible group of friends it gave me. I grew close to some amazing individuals whom I never would have met without this program. These friendships are truly a gift, and continue to enrich my life. My time in the AU Gap program was incredibly formative on both a professional and personal level. I learned so much about myself and my personal goals, as well as became far more cognizant of my own strengths and weaknesses. It provided clarity on how I hope to direct my academic and professional career, as well as prepared me for life at college. It was a growing experience that has left a profound impact on me, and for that, I am deeply grateful. I consider my semester in D.C. to be one of the best, most important experiences of my life.

      - Hannah George - October 5, 2018
    • After I graduated high school, I wanted a change of pace and a chance to discover more about my interests by taking a gap year. I wanted the first half of my gap year to feel productive and partially academic. The AU Gap Program allows me to feel like I'm growing academically with classroom-based learning, but also gaining real world knowledge through my internship and the cosmopolitan environment and opportunities that surround me. My favorite experience was attending an Armed Services hearing in the Senate, then reading and seeing many news articles about it the next day!

      - Jemima Ford - December 5, 2015
    • I graduated a semester early from high school, and in my semester off, I chose to come to AU for the Gap Program. I was ready for a change of pace. I am used to small town life and I was ready to experience life in a city, and my interest in politics really brought me here initially. I really love that DC has so much to offer. You can find an organization or event in DC for just about every interest you can think of. I interned at the Earth Day Network. The NGO advocates for environmental protection through various campaigns and programs. I loved that through my internship I had the opportunity to do a variety of projects. I wrote blog posts, worked on climate literacy programs for schools, and handled outreach to South America for Earth Day. We also put on a rally on the National Mall for Earth Day. Around 300,000 people showed up to the event and we had many guest speakers and musicians celebrating Earth Day with us. My favorite experience was visiting the FBI Academy in Quantico, Virginia. This was really special because they do not allow many visitors to the Academy. We were also given a very in-depth tour. The Academy has a mock town that they practice scenarios in, and we were able to walk through the town and explore some of the mock houses. It was a really interesting and unique experience.AU Gap is truly an in-depth look at DC.

      - Oonagh Cavanagh - August 13, 2015