The gap year refers to a period of time, usually one or two years after graduation, when students take a break from education to work, volunteer, or before continuing with graduate/professional school or starting a longer-term job. These short-term experiences can help students explore career paths and gain experience and credentials that could contribute to graduate school. In some cases, these short-term experiences will turn into longer-term professions (e.g. a teaching fellowship turning into a teaching career). When thinking about a gap year or two, consider the following:
Tip: Think about your motivation: Why do you want to take a gap year or two? Have you thoroughly thought about how this might fit with your future goals?
Define your goals: Are you interested in expanding your resume, working and living independently, clarifying your interests, or experiencing a different culture?
Research: What are your options?
Plan ahead: Planning ahead is useful in order to avoid missing deadlines for applications or fellowships. Give yourself ample time to update any international travel documents you may need, save money, or book trips in advance
To help you explore a variety of options, we created the following list of resources commonly used by undergraduates. Keep in mind that this is not an exhaustive list; we intend for you to use it as a starting point and not as an end point. For additional short-term opportunities, look at your specific career fields of interest in the Career Resources Database, the Get Involved in Health Professions page, and Yale's Fellowship and Funding website. You can also make an appointment with an Office of Career Strategy adviser to further discuss your options.