Planning for Your Gap Experience

Preparing to Study Abroad

Planning for a gap year is important. While our staff is here to answer any questions you might have, here are some things to consider as you near the end of high school.


shanghai students jumping by bikes

Junior Year

  • Decide what you want out of a gap year. It helps to define a goal: do you want to learn a new language? Engage in community service? See the world?
  • Discuss your thoughts/plans/interests with your parents
  • Ask your school counselor about gap year opportunities
  • Determine a budget
  • Research gap year options
  • Determine the logistics and deadlines for applying and going on a gap year
barcelona spain students at overlook

Senior Year


Submit college applications


Submit applications to gap year organizations
Receive acceptance letters from colleges

March–end of April

Check colleges’ gap year policies
Discuss deferral options with colleges
Explain why you’re deferring, your goals for the gap year, and why you’re asking for your place to be held.

By May 1

Send a deposit to your chosen college
Make a formal written request for deferment AFTER accepting admission to your chosen college

Gap Year Assocation seal


CIEE is accredited by the Gap Year Association.  It has demonstrated excellence in the field of gap year education having passed all required standards which are approved by the US Department of Justice.