USA Gap Year Fairs

Connect with gap year program providers, counselors, alumni, and college admissions representatives at our virtual & in-person events to learn everything you need to know about taking a gap year, including the best gap year scholarships to apply for this year!

Thinking of taking a gap year?

Since 2007, USA Gap Year Fairs has partnered with US high schools to educate, inspire, and empower students to look beyond the classroom and pursue opportunities for experiential learning. Taking a gap year might seem intimidating, but it’s actually much easier than you think -- especially when you know there’s a community of gap year experts and enthusiasts to help support you.


Upcoming Events

We just wrapped up the 2023 gap year fair season, but will share information regarding events during the 2023-2024 academic year soon. To be among the first to know about events in your community and online, subscribe to our mailing list using the form at the very bottom of this page. If you're interested in hosting an event for your community, contact us at We'd love to hear from you!


Keynote Speakers

To learn more about working with gap year counselors, visit our Gap Year Counselors page.

President, Center for Interim Programs

Holly Bull has placed over 3,000 individuals, including her daughters, in vetted programs in the 30+ years she has been counseling students and adults through the gap-year process. She took her own two gap years before and during college. Founded in 1980, her company, the Center for Interim Programs, is the first and longest-running independent gap year counseling service in the US.

Founder of EnRoute Consulting

Julia Rogers is a traveler, writer, speaker, and professional accredited gap year counselor. She has circled the globe a few times over, always in search of the most inspiring adventures to recommend to gap year students. She believes in the power of intentional travel to transform how we define higher education. Her favorite destinations are Morocco, New Zealand, Laos, and Nepal. When not planning her next adventure, she enjoys playing in the mountains of Stowe, Vermont, where she calls home.

Co-Founder, J2Guides

Jason Sarouhan has offered 25 years of his professional career supporting students pursuing experiential education opportunities all over the world. As a former wilderness and international travel guide and program director, Jason is passionate about risk management, leadership, and personal growth.

Co-Founder, J2Guides

During my junior year of college I traveled with a group of 18 students around the world. We went to England, India, Thailand, Malaysia, New Zealand and Colombia in 9 months. The countries and cultures were astounding. The curriculum was real-time and place-based. Our faculty became role models, and our group was a family. Like every known cliché in the book, I came home feeling awed, humbled, confident and inspired to engage my life and learning in new and bolder ways.


Can't decide which gap year program to choose?

The best part about taking a gap time is that you can customize your experience 100% to suit your unique interests, goals, and aspirations. There truly is a gap year for everyone. Structured gap year programs are a great option for those looking for support from experienced professionals and opportunities to connect with a community of gap year students. Take the GapMatcher quiz to find out which programs hosted by participating USA Gap Year Fairs providers and counselors might be the best fit for you.

Pro Tip: If you're looking for 1:1 support from a gap year expert, you might consider working with a gap year counselor.

Browse Providers & Counselors


Featured Gap Year Programs

Frequently Asked Questions

What does it mean to take a gap year?
A gap year is a semester, year, or other set period of dedicated time "off" from traditional academics or work, and instead spent focused on experiential learning and personal growth. The most common time to take a gap year is during academic transitions like after graduating high school, but there is really no age limit for taking a gap year. No matter the age, a gapper is intentionally investing time in their personal development by exploring their passions and curiosities instead of following an expected academic path or career trajectory. Gappers will often seek an enriching, intercultural experience abroad, such as interning, teaching, volunteering, or learn a new skill or a foreign language. Others may simply travel and see the world or see more of their home country.
Why should I take a gap year?
Gap years are ideal for those transitioning between different stages of life who would like to take an active role in shaping their own learning. A gap year is considered beneficial for a number of reasons — recharging your batteries to avoid academic burnout, growing both personally and professionally, expanding your worldview, meeting people from different backgrounds, enhancing your résumé, and gaining meaningful life experience are just a few of the major benefits. Long gone is the time of employers and universities looking down on breaks after high school or during college. Actually, schools and employers are seeing gappers as having an edge among their peers, due to expanded life experience, self-awareness, and soft skills development.
Related Content: Why Should Students Take a Gap Year
Is it a good idea to take a gap year?
There’s no denying that opportunities for prioritizing experiential learning and developing life skills are valuable. Studies by the Gap Year Association show gap year participation leads to increased GPAs, graduation rate, and job satisfaction. That said, a gap year is not for everyone and there are many considerations as to how best to structure an intentional plan for your gap time. Go Overseas provides extensive resources to help you determine if taking a gap year is a good fit for your life circumstances, as well as how to plan, budget, and make the most out of your gap year.
Related Content: The Pros & Cons of Taking a Gap Year
Can I still take a gap year during COVID?
Absolutely! In fact, many US high school graduates and university students have chosen to take gap time this past year since the prospect of continuing with online learning isn't particularly appealing. The coronavirus has changed all of our lives and the way we learn, interact, work, and travel, but it shouldn't stop us from living our lives to the fullest. While a gap year of international globetrotting might not be safe or even possible right now, there are still plenty of options for life-changing experiences.

Go Overseas offers resources for both virtual gap years as well as gap year programs designed for small groups in the United States and abroad. Be sure to register to attend our USA Gap Year Fairs virtual events to stay up to date on the latest gap year program information, including international options.
What can I do during my gap year?
Gap years allow you to take control of your education through experiences outside your normal schooling or work. This means what you do on your gap year is completely up to you, but many people decide to do one or more of these experiences:
  • Travel domestically or internationally
  • Learn a new language
  • Volunteer
  • Work exchange
  • Internships & career exploration
  • Pursue passions like photography, writing, activism, etc.
  • Adventurous activities like snowboarding, surfing, hiking or backpacking
Should I enroll in a program or work with a gap year counselor?
Go Overseas provides a comprehensive, searchable database of gap year programs and reviews to help prospective gappers explore and choose programs experiences based on their specific interests or goals. Since there's such a wide variety of program options to choose from, one may want to work with an experienced gap year counselor to help craft a customized gap year plan.

Both program providers and counselors help structure gap time to make the end-to-end planning process easier. You may want to consider enrolling in a gap year program or working with a gap year counselor if you’re asking yourself any of these questions:
  • Are gap years safe?
  • What do I do on my gap year?
  • How do I plan for a gap year?
  • How do I get from place to place when on a gap year?
  • How do I meet new people while on a gap year?
  • Where do I go on a gap year?
  • How can I get the most out of my gap year?

Choosing a gap year program and/or gap year counselor will provide structure and support and ‘be by your side’ to answer these questions every step of the way.
Does taking a gap year impact my college plans?
How your gap year impacts your university application, chance of scholarships, performance in classes, and overall satisfaction will depend on many factors -- most importantly, what you did to make the most of the year. Spending time investing in yourself, learning new skills, and growing as a person will help, not hinder your college application. Your gap year may just give you the perfect story to tell in an application, and can help you frame why you are pursuing the degree that you are.
Can I get college credit during a gap year?
For those looking to balance taking a gap year with receiving academic credit, there are options for you. In fact, there are even some gap year programs that build college courses into their programs through university partnerships. To start, read this article on how to earn academic credit on your gap year.

If you've deferred your college acceptance, you'll want to check in with the admissions office or your academic advisor to see if your college or university accepts transfer credits for incoming students, as each institution has their own policies.
Will I regret taking a gap year?
Everyone’s life circumstances are different, however it is very rare for people to regret taking a gap year, especially when they’re spent improving your wellness, building stronger relationships, experiencing other cultures, expanding your perspectives, volunteering, or learning new skills.

High school seniors often wonder if they will feel behind or miss out if they don't go to college right away. However, it's important to note that most US undergraduates take 5+ years to graduate. By taking gap time before college, students actually increase their likelihood of completing their degree within 4 years and consistently outperform their non-gapper peers. In this way, the time invested in taking a gap year before college helps set students up for success during college.

Regardless, to avoid regrets it is important to view a gap year as a year “on” instead of a year “off.” Be intentional with how you invest your time and make the year your own!
Are there gap year scholarships I can apply for?
Yes! Did you know that Go Overseas & USA Gap Year Fairs grants $5,000+ in gap year scholarships every year? In case you missed the deadline, there are still plenty of opportunities to earn scholarship funding to help make your dream gap year a reality!

The Inside Scoop on Taking a Gap Year