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Gap Year & Short-Term Positions

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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 or volunteer before continuing with graduate/professional school or starting a longer-term job. These short-term experiences help students explore career paths and gain experience. In some cases, these experiences will turn into longer-term.

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, 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 Yale students and alums. 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 Health Professions page, and Yale's Fellowship and Funding website. You can also meet with an OCS advisor to further discuss your options.

Visitors to this website using the database, should refer to our terms of use policy.

Gap Year Resources


The Advocates for Human Rights

The Advocates for Human Rights is a non-governmental, non-profit human rights agency located in Minneapolis working locally, nationally, and internationally to protect and promote human rights.. The Advocates for Human Rights strives to seed the human rights movement in the next generation by offering a wide range of positions to undergraduates, graduate students, and law students

The American Prospect: Writing Fellowship

The American Prospect’s Writing Fellows Program offers journalists at the beginning of their careers the opportunity to spend two full years at the magazine in Washington, D.C., developing their journalistic skills. Each fellow benefits from an intensive mentoring program and is expected to contribute regularly to the website and to the print edition.

The Autry Fellowship

MDC recruits a recent college graduate each year to work one full year as a staff member at MDC. The ideal Autry Fellow is deeply committed to advancing social equity and access and is eager to support the mission of MDC—helping organizations and communities in the South close the gaps that separate people from opportunity.

The Ben Bagdikian Fellowship Program

The Ben Bagdikian Fellowship Program offers a crash course in investigative journalism. Mother Jones fellows dive deep into every aspect of a national multimedia outfit—from making news to making it pretty, ensuring its impact, and mastering the inner workings of nonprofit publishing. Mother Jones fellowships are full-time positions lasting six months, with the opportunity to extend the position for an additional six months after that.

The Farm School

Since 2002 The Farm School has offered a practical, real-world agricultural education for aspiring farmers, educators and community leaders. The Learn to Farm program is a full-time, residential immersion in the work and rhythms of sustainable farm life.

The Greenlining Institute Leadership Academy: Policy Fellowship

The Fellowship Program is a year-long training program for young leaders who have completed, at minimum, their undergraduate degrees by the start of the program. Fellows are assigned to specific program areas and develop expertise with the direction of a policy director and the Academy Director. Each Fellowship experience is unique and is shaped by the current policy focus of their program area. Although the curriculum is similar to that of the Associates program, Fellows are given more responsibility and independence to implement projects and programs. The learning environment is based on combining experiential learning opportunities, individual development and team participation.

The New York City Teaching Fellows

The NYC Teaching Fellows program is one of the country’s largest and most selective alternative teacher preparation programs. As a Fellow, you’ll train in NYC classrooms, working one-on-one with experienced coaches to get the feedback you need to become a talented teacher, ready to make a profound difference for NYC’s students.

The Poynter Institute

The Poynter Institute is a global leader in journalism. It is the world’s leading instructor, innovator, convener and resource for anyone who aspires to engage and inform citizens in 21st Century democracies. The Institute offers various training programs, as well as a job database.

Unite For Sight Global Impact Corps Fellows

A hands-on, immersive and unique global health volunteer abroad experience. Become one of more than 9,000 trained fellows who are making a difference in the world with Unite For Sight. Volunteers participate with and learn from Unite For Sight’s talented local partner doctors.

Universal Global Talent Development & Inclusion

Launched in 2017, Global Talent Development & Inclusion (GTDI) leads the Studio's inclusion and diversity efforts. Under the leadership of Universal Pictures Chairman Donna Langley, GTDI works closely with Universal Filmed Entertainment Group's Production and Human Resources teams to identify and develop a pool of creative and workforce talent that builds upon the Studio's commitment to telling stories and creating art with multi-cultural, global perspectives. We are a resource for all divisions within the Universal Filmed Entertainment Group including Universal Pictures, Focus Features, DreamWorks Animation and Awesomeness TV.

US Defender Services

Explore opportunities in Federal Public Defender Organizations, Community Defender Organizations, and other select positions related to the Criminal Justice Act.

Venture For America

Venture For America prepares recent college graduates for careers as entrepreneurs. As a Fellow, you’ll gain business skills and professional development in an intensive Training Camp. You’ll apprentice at a startup for 2 years in a full-time salaried position. From there, you’ll be ready to be a leader in business or launch one of your own.