Approximately 55,000 students took a gap year before their freshman college year to volunteer, intern, travel and work. For those who would like to supplement their collegiate academic experience with a cross-cultural experience, this is a welcome statistic. And gap years seem to pay off in the long run, as gap years seem to correlate with increased employability, higher GPA, higher wages, higher motivation and much more (see the American Gap Association’s list here).
For some families, though, the reaction to a gap year is likely to be: that sounds great, but who has the extra money for that? And that’s what makes what Tufts has recently announced so appealing.
Tufts, as reported by the AP and other sources, is seeking to take 50 students into their new 1+4 program. During the gap year (the 1 in 1+4), Tufts will send students to work in international volunteer or education programs. These students will surely get a rich experience in cross-cultural communication and team work, among other key skills. The students won’t be isolated from the university during the gap year, however. As Business Insider wrote, students in Tufts’ 1+4 will be in “‘satellite Tufts communities,’ where they will video chat and email with academic advisors to keep in touch.”
Perhaps the most amazing part of this announced program for parents, however, is that Tufts will cover almost all the costs, which are estimated to be nealry $30,000 per student. Gap years can be expensive as housing, airfare, program and visa fees can quickly add up. But Tufts, in a show of commitment to the potential benefits of gap years, is putting together the funds to send some of its next crop of freshmen into the world.
For an increasingly international world of work, this program seems like a smart step for the university and students–and the funding seems ideal for families.