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A Gap Year, sometimes termed a year off, or a deferred year, is about taking an exceptional break (not necessarily a year) from the path you're currently on to travel, volunteer, or work in a temporary position. It is about the experience itself rather than the paycheck or degree. 

Our goal is for you to make an informed decision about life after graduation. Schedule a career counseling appointment and let us help you think through your options. 

Types of Gap Year

International Experience

International volunteer programs, teaching English abroad, or tourism jobs can offer unique opportunities to work abroad. Be sure to consider additional expenses such as flights and work visas. 

Year of Service Programs

Many nonprofits offer volunteer programs that might include housing or an annual stipend. These typically run on a specific schedule (e.g. 3, 6, 9, or 12 months) and are good ways to explore your skills and interests without a long-term commitment. Sometimes there are application or enrollment fees involved. 

Fellowships and Research Grants

At Scripps, you have access to prestigious fellowships, scholarships, internal grants, and awards. Attend a semi-annual information session to learn more.

Postbaccalaureate Programs

"Post-Bac" programs are most commonly a form of continuing education that follows an undergraduate degree, but does not necessarily meet requirements of a graduate level degree. For some fields, post-bac programs can be an ideal preparation for graduate/professional school.  


Consider keeping a travel blog or photo journal to keep your skills sharp and stay connected to your network. Think about what you learn about yourself and your own interests. 

Personal Break

If you need more than a summer off after graduation, consider a temporary position or work part-time to build your skills and earn extra cash. 


Review the 5C list of Gap Year Options (last updated in 2012.)

Schedule an appointment with a career counselor to talk through your plan or ideas.

Use the CP&R library, ClaremontConnect, NIC, and Idealist for resources and ideas.

Use the Scripps Community Network, Facebook, LinkedIn, and other networks to talk with those who have pursued similar paths; they can give you an idea of what to expect and recommend other resources.