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A Year Off

Some students may want to consider taking a year between high school and college to do something entirely different.  During this Gap Year a student can explore various occupations, cultures and subjects.  When they return from this year, most students are more focused and mature, feeling ready to take advantage of all the opportunities college provides.


Successful time away from school begins with careful planning.  Books that might be of interest are Internships 2008 by Petersons and Taking Time Off by Colin Hall.  the College Career Center has a listing of possible year off options entitled 5th Year Options .  There are a variety of organizations that can assist in planning time off and they are listed below along with organizations which provide for service-oriented experiences.  The inclusion of a program is not an endorsement or recommendation by San Rafael High School.  Students and parents should look closely into any programs they are considering.



  • Americorps (800-942-8993 or )  is a federally operated program combining a service project with a stipend which may be used later for college.
  • California Conservation Corps (
  • Coalition for American's Children (888-544-KIDS, represents 350 family-serving organizations and may be able to arrange a service year.
  • City Year                                           (888-424-8993, recruits 17 to 24 year-olds for such inner city services as tutoring, after school programs etc.
  • Student Conservation Association (603-543-1700, provides housing, food and other expenses for volunteers who work from three to twelve months on rural and urban restoration projects.
  • The Council For International Exchange (CIEE)


  • Audubon Expedition Institute (888-297-2234, offers expeditions across the United States to study nature and the environment.
  • Center for Interim Programs ( 617-547-0980, is a fee charging service which helps students locate the most suitable stopout program for the year. they can also put you in touch with others that can share their personal experiences with you.
  • Dynamy                    (508-755-2571, helps high school graduates locate apartments and jobs in a new city.
  • EAuPair ( helps Americans link up as au pairs in countries all over the world.
  • Leap Now                 (             
  • National Outdoor Leadership School (307-332-5300, organizes expeditions of up to three months to various parts of th world.  In some cases, college credit may be earned.
  • Outward Bound ( offers survival traning and is highly regarded.
  • Where You Headed  (
  • Internships (
  •  Gap Year
  • Study Abroad 
  • STATravel


  • David Denman, EducationalConsultant, 415-332-1831
  • JudyWeisen, Student Camp Advisors.

The inclusion of a program is not an endorsement or recommendation by San Rafael High School.  Students and parents should look closely into any programs they are considering.