Gap Year Info for Parents

Supporting your student on their year of expansion

Making the most of this year

Missed senior games and high school proms, erratic hybrid schooling, Zoom classes in childhood bedrooms—as a parent, you know better than anyone how great of an impact this rocky time has had on high school and college students.

Reclaiming that time can help students discover and distinguish themselves in college and their career. Our deep-rooted educational philosophy and intentional programming are designed to help students invest in themselves and their futures.

Explore our programs
What students gain from taking a gap year

For over four decades, top schools like Harvard have encouraged students to defer admission in favor of gap years. Between 200,00 and 250,000 students each year in the UK elect to take a gap year.1

By entering college more socially and academically prepared, gap year students are less likely to change their majors and have higher GPAs on average.2, 3 Did we mention EF Gap Year offers college credit?


1. Study published by the British Journal of Sociology of Education
2. Recent survey conducted by the American Gap Association
3. Recent Middlebury College/UNC Chapel Hill study

  • Gain a competitive edge

    The straight-to-college path doesn't stand out on a résumé. Gaining the diverse skillset needed in today's global economy will help your student distinguish themselves.

  • Confidence and independence

    This time on their own helps them grow into more confident, independent, and resilient versions of themselves. 96% of students who took a gap year reported feeling more confident and mature.3

  • College readiness

    Gap year students enter college with perspective and clarity, earning higher GPAs, take on more leadership roles, and graduate faster—compared to national averages.2, 3

  • Global skills

    Students know how to learn in a classroom—but they won't be in a classroom forever. They'll acquire real-world skills like cross-cultural communication and adaptability.

Our educational philosophy

EF Gap Year prepares students for success in our increasingly globalized world. Our educational philosophy celebrates travel as a pathway to understanding and self-discovery, focusing on these four key outcomes. Learn more here (PDF).

  • Boy wearing cap smiling into the distance
    Growth Mindset

    During each of their program modules—Language Study, Service Learning, and Internship—students learn to value process over results, and view challenges as learning opportunities.

  • Empathy & Awareness

    We help students develop empathy and awareness skills such as communication and teamwork—some of the most highly sought-after soft skills in today's workplaces.

  • Life Readiness

    By navigating the experiences on our program, students gain maturity, confidence, and independence, which prepare them for success in adult life.

  • Global Skills

    Students gain the skills needed to thrive in today's global economy, such as intercultural communication skills, self-awareness, and tolerance for ambiguity.

Customizable program modules

Explore the building blocks of our program.


Whether everyone in your family has taken a gap year or you just found out it’s an option for your student, you probably have questions about gap years.

We’ve heard them all, so we’ve compiled the questions we receive most often for you here. Our team is also available to answer any questions you have here.

Do most students return to college after taking a gap year?

Yes! According to the Gap Year Association, 90% of students who took a gap year returned to college within a year.3 Some students embark on our program with college acceptances under their belts, while others apply to college while on program.

Our year-long program includes an optional 3-day intensive College Application Seminar, during which students work with professional advisors to craft top-tier college applications and essays.

3 Recent survey conducted by Karl Haigler and Rae Nelson for their book The Gap Year Advantage

How do I explain gap years to our family and friends?

You can let your loved ones know that your child is spending a summer, semester, or year traveling the world, improving their professional and language skills, and preparing for the rest of their lives.

Students have been on the same track since Pre-K—it’s healthy and exciting for them to explore their interests outside of the classroom. This article does an amazing job of explaining the purpose of a gap year.

Any perceived stigma about taking a gap year is probably due to lack of information about the concept. We’re happy to put together more resources for you.

How is EF Gap Year helping students stay healthy during COVID-19?

Our students are our top priority. We have outlined everything we’re doing to promote safe travel this year here. With more than 50,000 staff members and 600 offices and schools around the world, we’re able to offer unparalleled international support 24/7.

Each EF Gap Year student is paired with a dedicated Gap Year Advisor who will be a mentor, emergency contact, and main support person throughout your program experience. Always an email, text, or quick phone call away, your student’s advisor is there for your family whenever you need.

Where can I find a comprehensive overview of the program?

Watch our “Being A Gap Year Parent” webinar to learn everything you need to know about our programs in under an hour.

Recorded on July 8, 2020, this webinar provides parents with information about our programs and strategies for supporting their children on this path to personal growth and leadership.

It’s essential that parents are informed about the ways a gap year can change their students’ lives personally, academically, and professionally.

Watch the recording →

The world leader in international education

When you travel with EF Education First, you travel with a global organization that has been in operation since 1965. EF’s mission has always been to open the world through education, and we’ve delivered on that promise for millions of students.


Years of operation


Countries and regions


Offices and schools


Staff, faculty, and teachers

Interested in traveling with us? Your journey begins here.

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