<p>My son is young for his grade...He's in 11th grade, still 15 and clearly needs time to mature. Are there good academic and sports programs that this board is aware of that colleges particularly like to see? Are there cases where colleges frown upon candidates who elect to attend gap year programs</p>
<p>Colleges urge younger students to take a gap year! Check out the advice on the Harvard admission website. There are many gap year programs available. Google "gap year" for suggestions. Some of the programs also run summer sessions. Cheers' son did a gap year and she could share his experience with you.</p>
<p>Thanks. Cheers - I'd appreciate your input</p>
<p>My daughter did a gap year, made a large difference as she had always been one of youngest in her class and that was difficult.
She did Americorps which budget has been slashed but other private programs are available.
<p>If you are considering a PG year at a prep school, there are a lot of excellent programs. The PG kids at my son's boarding school are using the year to mature academically and/or athletically. They are an important part of the school community and seem to love the PG program. I did not know until my son started at this school this fall(he is a junior) what a big deal the PG programs are. I think it is a great idea for a younger student or any student who wants to shore up academics or sports. The negative is that you get to pay for it! Karen</p>
<p>What are your S's interests? Might start there rather than college app focus...but here are some websites.. some would prefer student be 17--or turning 17.</p>
<p>Fifth year boarding might also be an option...</p>
<p><a href="http://www.gapyear.com%5B/url%5D">www.gapyear.com</a> (uk based)</p>
<p><a href="http://www.madventurer.com%5B/url%5D">www.madventurer.com</a> (volunteer/adventure programs all over the world--UK based)</p>
<p><a href="http://www.questoverseas.com%5B/url%5D">www.questoverseas.com</a> (UK based)</p>
<p><a href="http://www.escapestudios.co.uk%5B/url%5D">www.escapestudios.co.uk</a> (intensive Maya software programming)</p>
<p><a href="http://www.cetacademicprograms.com%5B/url%5D">www.cetacademicprograms.com</a> (wash dc based overseas language schools. Well connected to American universities).</p>
<p><a href="http://www.five-starbasketball.com%5B/url%5D">www.five-starbasketball.com</a> (Go to camp with future NBA players--and MJ's boys. Honestly, the BEST basektball program.)</p>
<p>Cheers - to answer your question about interests - he's crazy about lacrosee and is a competitive sailor. </p>
<p>Re: the PG programs - do you know if they're as competitive to get into as grades 9 thru 12?</p>
<p>Yachtman course in Oz looks neat...that would be a real winner on a college app I'd say. Would have to sweet talk them into a younger kid...Is your S tall? </p>
<p>Hong Kong might be fun too--learn Mandarin on the side?</p>
<p>Or let him peruse this part of gapyear.com: <a href="http://www.gapyear.com/placements.php%5B/url%5D">http://www.gapyear.com/placements.php</a></p>
<p>Being an au pair in a foreign country. Lots of European kids do so. And many European families enjoy having older teenagers take care of their kids while teaching them English.</p>
<p>I almost recommend gap years.</p>
<p>If your child is 17 and under and entering college for the first time, s/he may feel anxiety and peer pressure to fit in, especially in an environment where colleges assume you're already an adult. College administers won't babysit you. There are so many bars and places within vicinities that don't even allow under 18 to enter. Talk about feeling isolated and left out.</p>
<p>I would love mine to look into a gap year. She is on the young side of her grade but not by a lot. I sometimes think that she should have a clearer picture of what she wants before we spend a years tuition.
How does health insurance work during a gap year since they are not considered a full time student?
I know of one student doing semester of travel and study through a junior college as a gap year.
The company my D traveled with this summer "Where there be Dragons" does semesters abroad as gap year programs.</p>
<p>I just got back from Ghana (see my essay in the Admissions section under 'international student essay') and I can positively say it was the best three months of my life. I decided to take a gap year just to get some real life experiece and so decided to go to Africa and Asia in my gap year (done Africa, going to India in March to teach English for four months). If you're thinking about it you should be quite motivated and be prepared to live with buck showers and to basically rough it. But at the end of the day, it's the experience of a lifetime.</p>
<p>Gap years are very common among Europeans (I think because of the timing of their exams and admission process) and are just becoming popular in the U.S. Most selective colleges encourage them.</p>
<p>The best way to administer a gap year is to break it down into segments. For example, one UK boy we know spent four months studying Chinese in Beijing, four months working at the Olympics, and four months as an intern at his hometown newpaper. During that time he also went through the college application process.</p>
<p>As the idea of the gap year gains popularity, agencies that help families arrange community service and/or overseas trips have proliferated. I imagine they are not all equal in quality so if you go that route be sure to get recommendations. Again, you can use one agency for one segment and arrange another segment on your own.</p>
<p>For collegemom33's son, lacrosse and sailing lend themselves to a lot of ideas -- travel, coaching children, ecology. Think in terms of tangents that will build on interests but also add value. Along with overall maturity and independence, improving language skills and exposure to another culture are two important objectives for a successful gap year.</p>
<p>As far as college goes, your child can either get accepted first then take a deferral, or take the gap year and apply during the gap year. The former is easier, but does defeat the whole purpose of the gap year as a character building exercize. For some kids, the travel or other broadening experience, will make them the more appealing candidate. If that's the case, then you need to time the gap year activities around the US college application calendar.</p>
<p>Health insurance definitely needs to be arranged separately from the college's policy. If traveling someplace weird and wonderful, don't forget evacuation insurance.</p>
<p>Great suggestions from all - thank you so much. We're going to explore both PG and GAP programs and will share what we find along the way. </p>
<p>I know Hotchkiss in CT. has sailing and lacrosse. If people know other PG programs that offer both, or that are particularly strong in one, I'd appreciate the input.</p>