Table of Contents
Why Participate on an ISA Gap Program?
What is Included in a Gap program?
Frequently Asked Questions
ISA Gap programs are designed to offer high school graduates the opportunity to study abroad before entering their freshman year of college.
Many graduating high school seniors feel burnt out after spending twelve years in a conventional classroom. ISA Gap programs give students the chance to break out of that cycle and explore their interests while earning credit for college at the same time.
ISA Gap programs range anywhere from one month to a full year in length, and include courses that cover virtually every academic discipline: Language, Science, Humanities, and more. Students will take classes at prestigious local universities, participate in weekly cultural activities, travel on unbelievable excursions, and come to better know and appreciate cultures that differ from their own in the process. ISA Gap programs are ideal for students who want to explore their interests, delve into unfamiliar territory, and are ready for an experience that will help them enter college a more focused and independent student.
The world awaits...
Explore your interests
- Explore the world, test yourself, and see things you never thought possible.
- Gain fluency in another language
- Why wait until college to practice another language? Gap programs can drastically improve your ability with a foreign language (something that looks very good on a college application or a resume).
Earn college credit
- ISA Gap programs give you the opportunity to earn college credit before you even get to school. Not only do you get to travel the world and gain valuable life experience, but you can also get a head start on your way to a degree. The universities ISA works with are top notch, and the course selections offered in ISA Gap programs cover virtually every discipline out there!
Meet new people
- On a Gap program with ISA, you will be joined by other like-minded students going through the same transitions you are. Facing the challenges of living and studying in a foreign culture often helps students make long lasting bonds of friendship that stay with them well after the program ends. Plus, you'll get to meet locals! One of the greatest joys of studying abroad is the opportunity to meet and learn from someone who is part of a completely different culture. Interacting with locals on a daily basis will help you learn more about their culture than any book can teach you. Chances are, you will learn just as much about YOURSELF in the process.
Start diversifying your college application and building your resume
- In today's world, experience studying and working abroad is becoming more and more valuable as many companies are looking to hire new employees with some form of international experience. With the world becoming increasingly globalized, having the ability to speak another language or understand the perspective of a client from a different culture is becoming a widely sought after skill.
Gain self-confidence and independence
- A Gap program will challenge you in ways you might not expect. There is nothing like living and studying in a different country to help you feel more independent. Whether it is figuring out how to order a cup of coffee in a restaurant in Shanghai, or navigating the Subte metro system in Buenos Aires, dealing with these issues(and eventually conquering them), will instill a newfound confidence and strength that is difficult to find elsewhere. After a Gap program with ISA, you will feel like you can take on the world.
Immerse yourself into another culture
- One of the most important goals of any Gap program should be cultural immersion. What is the point of traveling to a different country if you don't intend to learn anything about it? ISA has the strong belief that students will most benefit from their study abroad programs if they are as immersed in the host culture as possible. Therefore, we have gone to great lengths to provide countless cultural opportunities for our students in homestays, partner language exchanges, local cultural activities, excursions, and more.
For a list of available programs visit Gap Year Programs
It is important to note certain Gap sites have different eligibility requirements for entrance into their programs. Some sites have strict age requirements or other prerequisites that might affect a student's eligibility for the program. It is therefore important to check the requirements on each program page before applying. If you have questions specific requirements, please contact ISA for further details.
On an ISA Gap program you will have the chance to go, see, hear, and do things that most people only see on TV or in the movies. When not studying or practicing your language skills, you could hike through a rainforest at the foot of a volcano in Costa Rica, or learn traditional Flamenco dance at studio in Spain. You could visit chateaus in France, castles in Belgium, or watch the sunset over the Sahara desert in Morocco. You could walk through the ancient ruins of the Coliseum in Rome, or backpack across the Great Wall of China for a weekend. While on a Gap program with ISA, great adventures like these are literally waiting outside your door.
One of the first impressions that we hope students will have of ISA is our service-oriented attitude towards study abroad. We are here to help each student throughout the entire study abroad process. From a student's initial contact with an ISA representative, we hope that he or she will quickly realize how important each individual is to us. We take each student's requests very seriously, and we are able to be flexible in order to meet his or her specific needs.
Our commitment to each student distinguishes ISA among other study abroad providers. We are available to assist students, parents, and university faculty and advisors throughout the study abroad process, from choosing the appropriate program for your level and interest to completing the application process and participating successfully in the study abroad experience. In addition to our ISA team in the U.S., ISA offers students the support of our qualified, full-time resident directors in each of our program sites. They are committed to maximizing each student's study abroad experience, both academically and culturally, and are well trained to guide our students through any situation that might arise while abroad.
ISA believes that by studying abroad, students not only observe another culture, but they also experience the culture by living a new way of life. Students encounter people from all types of backgrounds with whom they are able to make a connection, whether through similar interests, a shared laugh, or even a long bus ride. We hope that students will gain a cultural understanding and personal independence that can only be achieved by living and studying in another country. Moreover, we hope that students will continue to reap the benefits of study abroad by encouraging cultural understanding in their own communities. We recognize that this enlightening experience is becoming an increasingly precious asset as we encourage America's youth to become sensitive, responsible and contributing members of today's expanding global community.
For a list of everything included in your program visit What's Included.
It's important that you do your research and choose the program that best fits your goals.
Follow these steps to get on the right track:
- Think about where you want to go, what you want to do, and for how long you want to go.
- Consider what type of city you want to live in; some program sites are amongst the largest cities in the world, while others are smaller college towns. Answering these basic questions about your goals for your program is really valuable as it is one of the best ways for you to narrow down your program search.
- Once you have an idea of what type of program you want to do, then you should start searching through the different Gap programs we offer. Visit studiesabroad.com and look into the courses tab inside of each program page. Some programs might be specialized for certain areas of study while others might focus on an entirely different discipline, so it is important to look into what courses are offered where.
- To help you along the way, we have a team of Student Services Representatives that are trained to advise you through the program selection process and answer any questions you might have. You can get in touch with a SSR by calling the ISA office at 512 480 8522 or by sending an email to firstname.lastname@example.org
To learn more about the host country culture, visit the "culture corner" tab which you can find on the left hand side of each program page. This will help you get a feel for what the city or town is like to live in: how big it is, what the cost of living is, cultural activities you can do, transportation, etc.
Once you are settled on a program, just click the apply button! Gap students fill out a different application than traditional ISA students, so be sure you use the correct application.
- New York Times- In a Year Off the Beaten Path, a New Direction for Life
- US News and World Report- The Lure of the Gap
- Time Magazine- Time out, Gauging the Value of a Gap Before College
- USA Today- 'Gap' Before College Gives Grads Valuable Life Experience
- Foxbusiness.com- Is 'Gap' before college a good idea?
- NBCNews.com Today Parenting- Should your child have a 'Gap' before college?
Will my college allow me to defer my admission to take a Gap?
Most colleges are open to admission deferment for students who wish to take a Gap after their senior year of high school. There are a high number of selective universities that actually promote taking a year off before heading back to school (including Harvard). Please check with the specific college's admissions department with regards to their enrollment deferral policies.
Will I earn college credit during my Gap Program with ISA?
ISA Gap students attend local universities and will receive official transcripts from the foreign university they attend after completion of the program. It will ultimately be up to the student's future university to determine if it will accept the courses taken abroad for academic credit.
I am under 18. Am I still eligible to participate?
ISA Gap programs place students in foreign universities around the world. Each university has its own rules and requirements for entry with regards to academic standing, age of students, etc. Some programs are available for underage students and others are not, so it is important to check with the ISA Program Manager of the specific site you are interested in to be sure you meet all requirements before applying.
Download ISA Gap Year Application Packet