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 Harbors 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. Im sure we thanked you at the end of that year. Now that a decade has passed Id 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