- Listing Type: Service Providers
- Category: Independent Educational Consultant
- Sub-Categories: Gap Year Advisor
- Service Delivery: In-Person, Online
- Accreditation: Gap Year Association - Consultant
Founded in 1980, the Center for Interim Programs is the first independent gap year counseling service in the U.S. Interim has created customized gap years for over 8,000 individuals, matching interests, goals, and budgets with vetted opportunities worldwide.
Interim believes, and has witnessed the fact, that the growth, perspective and experience gained through a well-planned gap year are a profound complement to formal education.
Free 90-Minute Consultation
We encourage anyone who is either tentatively curious or totally committed to taking gap time to consider our free 90 minute consultation (via phone, Zoom, or in person). During this brainstorming session we speak with students and parents (or guardians) to hear interests, goals, concerns, timing, and budget, and then begin to outline best matching vetted options. Engaging in this session does not obligate you to work with Interim. It will, however, help to give immediate shape to a potential gap year which people find both inspiring and reassuring, whether they choose to move forward with our services or not. Interim's fee is only due if and when you decide you would like to work with us. It is a one-time consulting fee, good for a lifetime of service, and we do not receive further referrals fees from placements.
In order to have a productive consultation, each individual completes our online Interest Sheet which is free to submit and should not take much more than 20 minutes. With general interests in front of us, we can do initial program research prior to the meeting and it also allows people to start thinking more specifically about the possibilities ahead.
We are based in New Jersey but communicate and work with families all over the world via phone, Zoom, email, or in person.
From conceptualization to implementation, we are here to help you create and experience your ideal gap year. Our high quality and personalized recommendations (vetted through relationships built over 40 years, ongoing research, annual site visits, and alumni feedback) are what families are looking for. Getting to the bottom of a student’s goals and working within a family’s budget are also top priorities. Much like a college counselor, we are looking to make the best match between student and program.
Our strategic and personalized approach ensures that each segment of your gap year is well thought-out. We do as many meetings as are needed in advance of your departure to make sure we have come up with the gap year that suits you. We introduce you to program staff and connect you with our alumni. We know that you will invariably change and evolve during the planning process and during gap time - this is normal - and continue to assess which options best meet shifting interests and plans. We are prepared to accommodate these shifts as well as last-minute placements.
Our support and expertise do not end when you leave for your gap year. We have spent years advising students and possess an acute sense of the highs and lows that can accompany this courageous and exciting time. We connect our students with one another if they are on the same program (or even headed to the same college), and we actively reach out to our students throughout their gap year to help prepare them for such moments, offering tips, encouragement, and supportive intervention if needed.
Founded in 1980, Interim is the first independent gap year counseling organization in the United States. We have helped over 8,000 individuals navigate their gap time and we actively cultivate and maintain a database of over 6,000 group travel programs, low cost volunteer options, internship placements, language schools, wilderness courses, study abroad semesters, research trips and much more. We make annual site visits to solicit new placement options as well as to evaluate existing ones. We do not accept commissions from programs, and if we receive substantiated negative reviews we will no longer refer them.
Our counselors have over 50 combined years in the field of experiential education as gap year counselors, gap year parents, and program directors. We are keynote and panel speakers at NACAC, HECA, IECA, the USA Gap Year Fairs and high schools nationwide, and serve on the Board of Advisors for the Gap Year Association. Collectively we have visited almost every continent in the world through our own gap years, academic studies, personal travels, and program site visits. We are parents who advise our own families to pursue meaningful experiences outside of the 4-walls of a classroom, and we deeply believe that all of us need to take periods of time during our lives to reassess priorities and potentials, expand our horizons, and continue to grow and be inspired.
The Center For Interim Programs participates in the dream-making process by giving voice to a young person's interests and matching the interests with world-wide vetted opportunities. From a parent perspective, Interim becomes a trusted partner in developing the life skills of a beloved child. Even in these unprecedented times, Holly Bull and her staff can offer innumerable options to assist students and their families to make the most of gap year plans even in formats. Holly and her staff will always be our "A-Team" for meaningful, life skill-enhancing experiences post high school and beyond.- Annette D. - Gap Year Parent - Summit, NJ - March 30, 2020
The Center for Interim Programs gave me the support and guidance to formulate an outstanding gap year - a year that was transformative and pivotal. I was able to participate in opportunities and programs that I had never imagined I could. Without the help of Holly Bull and her staff, I could not have had such a life changing year. The services and placement advice are invaluable and I have recommended the Center for Interim Programs to all my friends who may be considering gap years.- Adam D. - Gap Year Student (son of Annette D.) - Summit, NJ - April 4, 2020
I have recommended you to others again and again because I have been impressed with the breadth of your knowledge, your follow-through, and your apparent interest in your clients. You were able to provide our daughter with enough options to give her variety and choice, but helped her narrow them so as not to be overwhelmed. You also seemed to understand, or perhaps she was able to communicate, her desire for something more conventional, more school-like for the first semester of her gap year and then something more adventurous for the second half. You listened well. I was also very worried, when we started the process, about how in the world we were going to be able to find a reputable and worthwhile program for her that I would feel confident about and to whom I would feel safe in entrusting my daughter. Many friends had many recommendations; I felt overwhelmed. Your expertise and authoritativeness relieved my fears. Your ability to put our daughter in touch with others who had done the programs helped make it all seem possible and less unknown. Engaging your services was the best thing we did. I love the fact that you are with her for life!! What a wonderful resource.- Linda Saarnijoki - Gap Year Parent & Taft School Dean of Faculty - CT - February 1, 2013
You coached Laura through a year of illuminating travel between her 2004 graduation from Sag Harbor's high school here on Long Island and her enrollment at Cooper Union in the fall of 2005. By the time Laura returned from her time in India, Thailand, New Zealand, Ireland and Spain, she was a changed person. She was ready to engage in her studies at Cooper Union in a way that set her apart from her classmates. I hope that I have helped to conjure a spark of memory of my fiery redheaded daughter. I'm sure we thanked you at the end of that year. Now that a decade has passed I'd like you to know that I continue to be grateful for the experience you worked with Laura to create. The decision to send Laura off to get to know the world a bit was probably one of the better decisions that my wife, Shirley, and I made as parents. Laura has continued to distinguish herself (and travel) in the 5 years since her graduation from Cooper. And to me, that is what most matters. I want you to hear this because I feel that it is good to get a glimpse now and then of the long-term impact of our influence on another human. I am very proud of my daughter and the daring way she leads her life. And you certainly contributed to the way she learned to live.- Bill Miller - Gap Year Parent (writing after 10 years) - NY - September 27, 2015
Since we first started with Interim with our daughter, Alex, and more recently with our son Eddie, we have had nothing but positive experiences. I have watched them go off on unique adventures, and while they may have had some reservations when first starting out on them, I have always been pleased to hear the positive stories they tell when they return. I have also seen in them a sense of independence, self-reliance and general ability to handle situations that are "out of the norm" that I attribute in large part to their experiences during their gap years. What is more amazing is that these traits are not only noticed by me, but I often hear compliments about the independence my children exhibit from other parents as well. I always take the opportunity when my children are given such a compliment to inform that person of the virtues of a gap year in general and Interim in specific as a great resource in this area. You have all been wonderful and I cannot thank you enough.- Ed Spychalsky - Gap Year Parent - NY - October 20, 2012
We have had excellent experience with Interim going back over five years. Our son, now a college junior, took a year off between high school and college and Interim helped him piece together a wonderful year. He spent a lot of time in South Africa in several different programs ranging from tutoring in a rural school where he also started a basketball team, to working on a game reserve, to working in a program assisting patients from a township with their medical care. Through ideas and programs suggested by Interim, he also did a wilderness EMT course and spent time on a rebuilding project on the Gulf Coast and working on a building project in Arizona. Each program built upon and helped develop an interest of our son's, was well supervised, and offered social interactions that have become lasting relationships for him. The people at Interim know the people who work in the programs they suggest. They know details that are helpful to our kids and to us as the kids go off to often very remote places. We would not send our kids (our other son has followed their advice to other programs as well) on these kinds of programs without this kind of support and knowledge and we now have had fairly extensive experience that Interim's information and judgment are exceptionally on-point and sound.- Leslie Newman - Gap Year Parent - NY - December 31, 2009
I want to thank you for helping me with my gap year plans - I couldn't have done an equal job of choosing volunteer placements for myself if you hadn't helped to steer me in the right direction, so thank you! I have learned so much on my gap year, met amazing people that I will never forget, and made friendships that are still holding strong. This past year was just what I needed in between high school and college, and having been at college for a few days now, I know that I am so much more prepared to tackle it than I ever could have been without my year off. I have learned so many valuable things about myself and the world around me that would have been next to impossible for me to learn had I followed the usual route of attending college directly after high school. Thank you so much for helping me with my year, and helping to make it possible for me to have had such a life-changing and inspirational year by taking part in legitimate and responsible volunteer programs.- Katie A. - Gap Year Student - MA - February 6, 2013
Our daughter is currently a resident in General Surgery in a notable military residency program, as she's also an officer in the US military. I have to say, her gap-year time after graduating from high school, facilitated by the Center for Interim Programs, LLC, and specifically, doing marine conservation work in Pez Maya, might well have cemented her interest in the sciences. She later graduated from undergraduate school at a well-respected U.S. university with a B.S. degree in biochemistry and worked for a few years as a biochemist in an industrial lab, before realizing that she wanted to go into medicine. While still an industrial chemist, she studied for and took the MCAT exam and applied for and was accepted by more than one U.S. medical school to which she applied. This was no easy feat, since her undergraduate degree was not pre-med, and she had little clinical experience. During the application and interview process for med school, our daughter noted that her gap-year time and volunteer work seemed to significantly weigh into their decision about her. They were very interested in those experiences, beyond just her academic record. She ended up graduating with honors from a very fine U.S. medical school. I believe that her gap year between high school and college was a wonderful thing; it certainly helped her to focus her interests and her life. We are very grateful to the Center for Interim Programs, LLC, and very proud of what our daughter has accomplished!- - Ellen E. - Gap Year Parent - Union, NJ - March 26, 2020
Holly Bull and the Center for Interim Programs have been the gold standard in gap year counseling for more than 40 years.
We recommend the Center team based on our family's personal experience as well as knowing of the numerous other gappers they have successfully launched - and the enormous credibility they have throughout the gap year profession and beyond.
It seems like yesterday that Holly was introduced to our son, Adam, on a free phone call. His eyes grew large and his face glowed as he learned that were so many options for him on a gap journey! The relatively modest investment in Interim's services was a no-brainer as there was no way we could replicate the knowledge the team brought to designing a safe, personalized, and perfect series of gap year experiences. As happens, there were changes required during Adam's gap year and Holly and her team with there every step of the way. As with so many gappers, Adam's experiences were transformational and threaded his life direction in ways unimaginable if he had taken a path directly to college from high school.
In doing research for two books on gap years, we've had the opportunity to survey and interview dozens of gap year alums who have benefited from the Center. The comments have been universally positive, reinforcing our personal experience.
We also were honored to be at the annual Gap Year Association conference in 2019 when Holly received the well-deserved Lifetime Achievement Award.
We highly recommend Holly Bull and the Center for Interim Programs!
Karl Haigler & Rae Nelson
Advance, North Carolina
The Center for Interim Programs was invaluable in helping me plan my gap year in 2012-2013. I worked with the counselor, Holly Bull, and she helped me narrow down my interests and places I wanted to visit to create a dream gap year. Through their extensive vetting of a plethora of programs and opportunities and their years of experience, they helped me to fill my gap year with a variety of options that suited me perfectly. I did a language program in Italy, a yoga teacher training in the Caribbean, and a business internship in Ireland. Each of which was wonderful and has continued to benefit me through the years. My gap year not only helped me as I navigated college, but I was told by my interviewer when I interviewed for my first job out of college that it was my experience on my gap year that really got me the job. I'd recommend Center for Interim Programs to anyone who wants to plan a diverse, rich and individualized gap year.
I want to recommend without hesitation the Center for Interim Program to families if they are thinking about sending their children on a Gap Year. I met Holly Bull 10 years ago at a NACAC conference where she very persuasively presented about students taking Gap Year. Since then, I've had Holly present to parents and students in my district, giving them an alternative to the traditional routes of college and work. Holly has inspired me as well as the parents and students in my district to consider and follow through with a Gap year. The transformation in these students has been remarkable and many have returned to speak to our current students about how the Gap Year has changed their lives.
Holly worked painstakingly with each of our families to understand their needs, budget, hopes and dreams to tailor the perfect program for their children. She and her staff are incredibly knowledgeable having been in the business for many, many years. She is trustworthy, insightful and builds deep relationships with the families she works with. I have since relocated to Florida and plan to introduce the Center for Interim Programs to the new families I will be working with.
I wanted to write in support of Interim Programs, what I see as the best gap year counseling and referral team in the country. I retired from my career of over thirty years as Director of College Counseling in private schools in New York City. Before that I was an admission officer at Princeton University. I have recommended this program for my entire career and have sent countless students to work with them (average of 5 to six a year--last year, because of Covid, at least 15). I have some experience myself with helping students find good gap year options, but at some point I stopped taking this on myself because Interim did it so much better than I could; even with my long experience there was too much information out there with which to keep current, and many of my more complex students needed expertise for this particular plan that I did not have and Interim could provide.
There are several things that make Interim so good. The first is the depth of their knowledge and scope of their research over many years. This is a family run, several generation company that was the first of its kind in the US, I believe. They have so much experience with so many students that their history is one of their strongest resources, that few other organizations can begin to match. Their vast knowledge of options available for study and travel programs, work related activities, credit offering options, and adventures, in both the US and overseas make their offerings unrivaled. And all of these options have been vetted. For foreign options, they understand the benefit of having a person in country and a network out of country to support overseas placements in case of political or climate related upheaval, which only someone intimately acquainted with a country as a citizen or resident can understand. This understanding is reassuring, but essential if there is a problem, and is something that most families do not think about when they choose a program. Most of the programs overseas that Interim recommends have this ,if it could become necessary. This is something hard to match for a less experienced company, and often not even a consideration. Interim thinks of the things you need to know and plan for so you do not have to know everything about this process to be safe and well supported.
Interim's counselors care about each individual student and have strong counseling skills. Many students who come to a gap year are extremely talented and independent--Interim is a terrific support for these students, suggesting out of the box options and creative solutions for these clients. For many students they suggest a preliminary work option for the first part of the year, to make money to help support the following adventures--this supports students taking charge and being invested in what they do and also helps students without unlimited financial resources to take advantage of this opportunity to gap. For all students considering a gap year, the process is as important as the product, and the fact that Interim stays with the students for the full year and is ready to help them adjust their choices and change direction as they grow is invaluable. They push students to explore the things that will challenge them while at the same time providing the support and reassurance and accurate information parents and students both require to make good choices.
Some students who gap are coming from more challenging situations They need to mature a bit more, or are recovering from some sort of trauma or bad experience in high school. Interim's counselors are well equipped to deal with these situations as well, helping both parents and students to understand the options and how they will affect their future choices as well as present challenges. I have referred all kinds of students to Interim and have not hesitated to refer students with significant challenges of a personal nature, knowing that they will see each student as an individual and come up with a fine solution with care and support. Many times I have had long conversations with the staff at Interim to discuss a particular student. They have always been willing to take whatever time was needed, even BEFORE the student signed on to work with them, to help me with placement. This kind of dedication to students' welfare is rare in the private sector where often profit is the motivation. In certain instances they have made their services available to students who were financially challenged by working with our school and the family. This was a terrific kindness and probably changed these students' lives.
Interim is a personal company; students will be assigned to one counselor and will get to know that person well, as the counselor grows to understand their needs and questions. One of the best things about the program is the relationship that the student develops with the counselor--if there is anxiety, or a problem with a program develops, by that time the student will know the counselor well enough to be able to be honest about how they are feeling and what they need. There is real care here, not just a practical or financial arrangement.
Many of my colleagues at other New York City private schools recommend Interim as their first choice when referring students and parents out for gap year consulting. We would not do this were not our trust in this program well founded.
I recommend this company enthusiastically and without reservation. I have long knowledge of their work, the people who work there and their dedication to education and to students. This company is a real gem. These days there are so many upstart companies who do college counseling, gap year planning, test prep etc and claim to be the answer to your child's problems. What is really important is not the brochures and websites, but the resumes and depth of knowledge and competency the staff of a private company can offer. Interim has been in business longer than all the others. They have kept current, excited and mobile, and the experience of their flexible staff is unsurpassed. Holly Bull inherited this company from her father, who was a renowned educator in his own right . She literally "grew up" in a household where "gap year" was a watchword. Who better to trust with your child's future than a dedicated, personable, experienced educator with a deep background and a long successful track record.
The Center for Interim Programs was an enormous gift to my daughter. Holly Bull was invaluable in her insight and guidance. She is a very perceptive listener and was able to identify optimal programs and experiences that responded so well to my daughter's hopes and goals. I would not hesitate to recommend The Center to anyone who is seeking life enhancing experiences. My many thanks to Kate too for being a great pleasure to work with!
I trusted this company to assist my daughter with her year out, but they are scammers and do not deliver anything like they promise. the jobs listed on their site were all fake, and were not accesible but are just examples, and after you have paid, you cannot access any relevant opportunities and are forced to take what they offer, or lose your fees. very dishonest and disappointing experience for my daughter who now feels totally cheated. please avoid
After partnering with Center for Interim Programs for my 2013-2014 Gap Year- all I know is it's like they knew exactly what I needed after an academic career mainly focused on a competitive, somewhat soul-less pursuit to enter Ivy League institutions and other brand name schools. After that experience, I found myself drawn to unconventional approaches to education which I chose to express through a Gap Year before starting my journey at a traditional American University.
Honestly, I did not know how I would convince my parents to see the value in a year "off" away from the traditional path to success let alone find the finances that both honored my desire to explore the unknown and also left a minimal footprint on the family's bank account. Oh, and did I mention the anxiety that came with the responsibility to coordinate flights, hostels, visas, programs, and logistics I didn't even know existed before the 90-minute free consultation appointment. I was struggling to turn my papers on time, let alone plan the year of my dreams.
Even if I only used the generosity of the free 90-minute consultation, I would have been better off and more able to plan a strategic Gap Year that maximized what I could afford and also help my parents better understand that this is a viable option for my future. The Center for Interim Programs' decades of experience really shines through in their e-mails, consultations, and navigation-at least in my case-with the parent situation.
I wanted my education to be transformative, something out-of-the-blue, and allowed the flexibility to travel around the world, and still show up to my graduation on time. My experience with the Center for Interim Programs filled the need of a personal, dynamic relationship that was always thinking 3 steps ahead of the game. They bring a standard of excellence that is less micro-managy, and more focused on teaching their students independence and guiding you to ask yourself the questions to gain the most out of your experience. In my mind, it used to seem a little extravagant to "hire" a Gap Year counselor, but now I question that as I see high-level athletes do not even think twice about hiring personal trainers and high-power people have an entire team supporting their goals, which begs the question-why shouldn't students have the support of professionals to help us play life on a bigger, deeper level not only for a year, but for the rest of our lives?
I chose to go Interim because they valued me as a person, my family's finances, and offered the opportunities and resources for me to succeed with a soul. Timing is everything, and I know my Gap year would not have run as smoothly and effortlessly without their guidance. Of course I could have planned it myself, and make a lot of mistakes, and miss out on golden opportunities along the way. They know where to look, and fast. They know the trusted programs and are connected with the people that will make your year one that you can never forget, and then you realize you have them in your corner for the rest of your life.