Postgraduate Gap Year Service Opportunities

There are many ways to engage or serve communities domestically and globally after graduation. Often, recent graduates will take a "Gap Year" (or two!) to explore these opportunities.

What is a gap year and why is it beneficial to take?
A gap year is a period of time where students are able to take a break from formal education in order to travel, study, pursue internships, take time to apply to graduate schools, and best of all volunteer for organizations that make a positive impact on the world. By taking a gap year students are able to strengthen graduate school applications, gain confidence and independence, and positively affect fellow human beings around the world through service and civic engagement.  Please note that some programs last for less than a year, including AmeriCorps summer programs.  Equally important to note, HWS Colleges is one of only 100 institutions that (partially) matches the AmeriCorps Education Award. 

Please visit the following websites to see 10 reasons why a “gap year” can be a beneficial and rewarding post graduate opportunity. These sites allow you to watch video diaries, read written accounts of gap year experiences, and to hear directly from volunteers.

What are the opportunities available to pursue a postgraduate gap year?
The following resources are from colleges and universities with diverse postgraduate gap year opportunities, focused on service and global education. Opportunities offered all around the world along with application deadlines, informative links, and students’ accounts of their individual experiences are among these sources.

Below are a few links to well-established programs:

Domestic Options

International Options

Below are links to institutions of higher education where “gap year” resources are compiled:

Yale University

  • This Website is Specifically Directed towards Yale Students but it is Very Informative for Planning a Gap Year and for Finding Details Pertaining to Funding and Information about Available Global Programs.
  • A search feature is available
  • Program information
  • Detailed pre-departure information

Notre Dame University

  • Description of the various volunteer Organizations, mission statements, and the link to the application
  • Provides a variety of media sources to gain information pertaining to the program. (including letters, newspaper articles, YouTube videos, podcasts, pictures, and electronic brochures

Oberlin College

*This information was compiled by Nicole O’Connell ’15.  CCESL encourages students to attend post graduate informational sessions including “Pizza with The Peace Corps,” meet with visiting recruiters who represent “gap year” organizations, and speak to HWS faculty and staff members who have volunteered with these organizations.  Please visit the Salisbury Center for Career, Professional and Experiential Learning on the first floor of Trinity Hall or CCESL for additional information or assistance with “gap year” programs.


Center for Community Engagement and Service Learning
Trinity Hall
Geneva, NY 14456

Phone: (315) 781-3825



Hobart and William Smith Colleges,
Geneva, NY 14456
(315) 781-3000

Contact the Colleges


Offices and Resources
Campus Directory

make a gift

Preparing Students to Lead Lives of Consequence.