What is a gap year?

Whether you are not quite ready to commit to your career or graduate school, or simply seek to try something new and gain new skills, there are a variety of "gap year", short-term options, available for you to consider.  A gap year is typically a short-term job, internship, volunteer or other learning opportunity. It could be in another country or in the United States and it could be paid, offer a stipend or require you to pay an application fee. Despite the name, a gap year can be shorter or longer than a year in duration. Many Terps explore gap year opportunities after graduation.

Why would someone decide to choose a gap year?

Graduating Terps choose to do a gap year for a variety of reasons. Some are still not quite sure what they want to do and use the gap year to test out a new opportunity. Others use the gap year experience to build their resumes in preparation for graduate school or a full-time, permanent job. Finally, others see a gap year as a chance to give back and support a community, either locally or internationally, through service.

What are some options?

Some popular examples of gap year experiences are: 

Nationally:

Internationally:

Tips on Selecting and Applying for Gap Years

  • Often, these opportunities have deadlines early in the fall semester of your senior year. Be sure to research programs ahead of time

  • Look for opportunities to connect with visiting recruiters.

  • The National Scholarships Office is another great resource, particularly for help with applications for competitive fellowship programs.

  • Not sure where to start? Set up an appointment with a career advisor to discuss which gap year programs might interest you.

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