Duke Gap Year Program

Each year, more students are considering taking the year after high school graduation off before they head to college. In 2018 Duke University stepped to the forefront of this trend by creating the Duke Gap Year Program, which provides funding and other supports for students who are interested in taking a gap year prior to enrolling at Duke. Laura and her daughter, Eliana, helped conceive of and launch the Duke Gap Year Program with a $1.5 million grant.

As part of this initiative, Duke added the following language to their application during the 2018/2019 school year:

“Duke University supports students who wish to consider taking a “gap year” between secondary school and college. If you are considering taking a gap year and deferring your college enrollment, please check the box and tell us of your plans in the space below. Financial support will be available from Duke for selected students taking a gap year. For more details please go to dukegapyear.duke.edu/.”

They also started tracking how many students per class take an “intentional” gap year, which they define as a “purposeful gap year where students have a plan to grow and explore.” In the first year of the program, the number of incoming Duke students taking an intentional gap year doubled – going from 15 in 2018 to 32 in 2019.There are few opportunities in life to take a meaningful amount of time to pause, reflect, explore, and grow. There are even fewer where you can do so knowing you have a truly exceptional opportunity waiting for you. Students who come to Duke typically have been focused, active, and successful, for many years. The Gap Year Program is an opportunity for students to catch their breath for a year, to gain some perspective, to make a difference in a community near or far, to grow as a person, and to be better prepared for all that college has to offer, all with financial support from Duke.

Learn more at the Duke Gap Year Program’s website.


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