Students who do not feel ready for college or who did not get into their favorite college as a freshman sometimes consider a GAP semester or year to have a new experience and possibly improve foreign language skills before entering college. Options range from design your own plan to signing up with a fancy GAP year program.
Students who design their own plans sometimes decide to work full time for a semester or a year to gain work experience and earn money for college. There are many other options. Some companies cater to helping students connect with new experiences. A good guide to such programs is the American GAP Association www.americangap.org.
Some of the programs listed at AGA include:
Outward Bound is one of the oldest and most well-known programs offering three month and GAP year programs for over fifty years in the US and abroad.
Where There Be Dragons in Boulder, Colorado, offers experiences lasting a few weeks to up to 7 months or more. The experiences listed on their website at present are largely out of the country.
Carpe Diem, in Portland Oregon, offers programs around the world for college credit through Portland State University.