Gap Year Programs

What are gap year programs?

Gap year programs are designed to provide a break, or gap, between high school and college for a young adult to gain broaden their perspective with new experiences. These 6-12 month long programs can also occur in the year after college graduation, before entering the workforce.

Gap year experiences vary quite widely, depending on the individual goals of the young adult that is taking it. Some people use gap years as a way to travel and see the world, while others see it as an opportunity to work or volunteer in their goal profession, to see if they would like to study in that field.

Some gap years can be formal gap year programs, meaning they are structured experiences that are organized by someone else. In this scenario, an individual or company will set up a student’s travel, housing, and possibly employment for a certain fee. With a structured gap year approach, students will likely be with similarly aged peers that are also taking a break from school. Many of the logistical pieces are already in place, making the whole process smoother (especially if living abroad).

Learn more about Journey Home Young Adult

While structured gap year programs need young adults to plan ahead, an unstructured gap year requires much more strict personal, financial, and academic planning. Also called an independent gap year, it takes a lot more work to put into place. Though not impossible, being your own boss comes with increased risk, which is why formalized gap year programs have become so popular.

For young adults that want to participate in a gap year program, but need something that offers therapeutic support, an option to consider is Journey Home Young Adult. This 6-12 month program works with teens ages 18-23 that have previously gotten support for mental health issues. The teens at Journey Home Young Adult have been successful in a prior treatment setting, but still need some of the support that an transitional living program can offer.

Who should take a gap year?

For many people, taking a gap year serves as a wonderful opportunity to take a break from a traditional academic trajectory. School can be a demanding experience, and as high schools continue to get more competitive, senior year can particularly stressful. Before entering college, having time to reset and recenter can offer a more effective higher educational experience. Gap year programs help young adults avoid academic burnout, so they are more engaged in their school experience upon return.

Gap year programs can also offer clarity about what someone next steps or course of study should be. For example, a young person hoping to become a doctor could do a gap year in the medical field to make sure they are on the right track before committing to 8+ years of college and medical school. But gap year programs are also for those that know exactly what they want – the same example could be true for someone committed to the many years of school ahead, and want to use their gap year as a time to see the world while gaining applicable experience.

Alternatives To A Traditional Gap Year

Certain scenarios can make taking a gap year more difficult. For example, someone that knows they will need emotional or therapeutic support night not be able to access that type of care in a traditional gap year program. Aging or ill family members might make it hard to be out of the country for an entire year. Luckily, there are other options for these situations, including independent and transitional living options.

Journey Home Young Adult is one such program. This independent living program is for teens ages 18-23 that need a semi-structure program while they live, work, and attend school. Located in Salt Lake City, Utah, Journey Home Young Adult is the ideal program for teens that want to continue their education, gain life skills, and have fun while getting the support they need.

Why is Journey Home Young Adult a great option for gap year programs?

Journey Home Young Adult is a great option for young adults that are considering traditional gap your current programs, but need a more supportive environment. Located in vibrant Salt Lake City, Utah, Journey Home Young Adult is an independent living program designed for teens ages 18-23. Our focus on this specific population allowed us to create a program that truly meets the needs of teens that are transitioning from another treatment program into adulthood.

Gap year programs serve as a way for young adults to recenter themselves, gain independence, and explore something that interests them – and in these ways, Journey Home Young Adult is very similar to a gap year program. Because our focus is on teens with emotional, behavioral, or mental health disorders, we meet additional needs that are not addressed by traditional gap year programs, including therapeutic and emotional support.

Unlike traditional gap year programs, Journey Home Young Adult encourages our students to pursue their education while enrolled with us. By learning independent living life skills while furthering their education, our students are able to utilize this time to get ahead with their goals and thrive in young adulthood.

At Journey Home Young Adult, an alternative to traditional gap year programs, we take a whole person approach to care – which means that this year isn’t just about going to school. It’s also about having fun! We offer a robust recreation adventure program, to encourage our students to get out of their comfort zone, try something new, and develop friendships along the way.

With our small program size, we are able to individualize our program to meet the needs of the individual goals of our clients. This means that we help identify what specific life skills could be further developed, which educational or career pursuits to explore, and how our young adults can become the best version of themselves.

With a traditional gap year program, participants typically get to see new things or have fun experiences. The same is true at Journey Home Young Adult! From hiking and rock climbing to skiing and snowshoeing, Salt Lake City and the beautiful mountains that surround it have something fun to offer everyone.

Research on the benefits of taking a gap year

While gap years have been common in Europe for some time now, they are gaining popularity in the United States as well. Some students may be concerned that a gap year could hurt them academically, but it’s actually the opposite: studies show that students that take a gap year get better grades in college than their non-gap year counterparts. Some colleges and universities – including prestigious ones like Harvard and Johns Hopkins University – actually encourage their applicants to take a gap year before starting their collegiate or graduate school years. Some parents might worry that their young adult child will put off attending school after returning from a gap year, but 90% of gap year participants return to college within a year of getting back.

The benefits of gap years are numerous – one of the biggest being that young adults have a better sense of who they are and what their next steps are in life. Gap years allow for new experiences, new perspectives, and broadened horizons. They promote self confidence, independence, and improve problem solving skills. The majority of young adults that take gap years would recommend others try it – and that their gap year helped them become more employable. What’s more, young adults that take gap years have been shown to have higher ratings of job satisfaction and civic engagement versus national norms.

Journey Home Young Adult helps teens from:


Alaska, Arizona, Arkansas, California, Colorado, Connecticut, DC, Delaware, Florida, Georgia, Hawaii, Iowa, Kansas, Kentucky, Louisiana, Maine, Maryland, Massachusetts,Michigan, Minnesota, Mississippi, Missouri, Montana, Nebraska, Nevada, New Hampshire, New Jersey, New Mexico, New York, North Carolina,North Dakota, Ohio, Oklahoma, Oregon, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, South Carolina, South Dakota, Tennessee, Texas, Utah, Vermont,Virginia, Washington, West Virginia, Wisconsin, Wyoming


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