College Advising

Some students opt to defer college enrollment for a year after graduating from Hotchkiss to work, study abroad, or do a service project. Many gap year participants speak enthusiastically about what they gain through these experiences. A few commonly cited benefits are:

  • The maturity that comes from a year of living independently and taking responsibility for their choices
  • Renewed enthusiasm for academic challenges and an eagerness to begin college
  • Greater exposure to career possibilities — as well as other cultures, people, and languages
  • A deeper understanding of themselves and the world

For these reasons, and in support of Hotchkiss’s commitment to responsible global citizenship, the School encourages its graduates to consider a gap year. The learning that takes place in this year differs from a traditional academic experience. But in planning and living a gap year, students acquire invaluable skills for lifelong learning. Past gap year experiences include volunteering for political campaigns in rural Missouri, working for aid agencies in Cambodia, and teaching English to the children of artisans in a village in India.

The Gap Year and the College Process

Typically, students complete the college application process during their senior year, then apply for a deferral from the college they select. Most colleges will grant deferments as long as the student provides a clear, thoughtful plan for the gap year. If students decide to apply to colleges during a Gap Year, they will need to adhere to any policies regarding the deferral. Most colleges prefer that students not apply elsewhere during their gap year; unless otherwise indicated by the institution itself, students should plan to withdraw at the college to which they deferred enrollment before submitting other applications.

Gap Year Options

Ahilya School English Teaching Apprenticeship
Maheshwar, India

Richard Holkar ’62 is the head of the Rehwa Society, which supports a historic hand-weaving center in central India. The Rehwa Society founded the Ahilya School in 1989 and hosts Hotchkiss graduates who want to spend a semester or year teaching English in the school. Click here to learn more about Ahilya School.

Kaiserin Friedrich Gymnasium
Bad Hamburg, Germany

Kaiserin Friedrich Gymnasium, located in Bad Hamburg, Germany, is a public school with which Hotchkiss has partnered for cultural exchange. Gap year participants will live with a German host family, study German language, and teach conversational English classes to younger students.

Round Square School Gap Programs
Australia, Canada, England, India and Thailand

An association of more than 55 schools on five continents, Round Square is founded on six core tenets — internationalism, democracy, environment, adventure, leadership, and service — also known as the Round Square "IDEALS." Hotchkiss grads can apply for gap placement at other Round Square schools for an academic semester or year in which they can support a school’s co-curricular program, help with classes, or provide leadership in the dorms.

The English Speaking Union
United Kingdom

Hotchkiss receives a student from an ESU school each year, and our students also have the opportunity to spend a year at an English boarding school between graduation and college. Students apply in the fall of their senior year and must defer college acceptance in order to attend. Click here to learn more about ESU School.


WISER (Women’s Institute for Secondary Education and Research)
Muhuru Bay, Kenya

WISER is the first girl’s secondary boarding school in Muhuru Bay, Kenya. Gap year students can apply for positions with the WISER programs, including WISER Bridge and WISER Social Entrepreneurs.

Additional Gap Year Options

Each winter, Hotchkiss hosts a Summer and Gap Year Opportunities Fair, where students can learn about many other options. Below are sample programs that represent a range of options to help students begin their exploration. These programs are not officially endorsed by Hotchkiss.

African Leadership Academy
Johannesburg, South Africa

Art History Abroad (AHA)

Patagonia & Cuba; China, Vietnam, Cambodia & Thailand; Costa Rica, Ecuador & Peru; Kenya, Uganda & Tanzania; Nepal & India

Council on International Educational Exchange (CIEE)
Chile, China, Dominican Republic, France, Japan, and Spain

El Casal
Barcelona, Spain

Map The Gap International
Italy, Mexico and Nicaragua

Thinking Beyond Borders
Cambodia, China, Costa Rica, Ecuador, India, Peru and South Africa

Where There Be Dragons
Bolivia, Cambodia, China, Guinea, India, Laos, Nepal, Peru, Senegal, Tibet, Vietnam

AmeriCorps, AmeriCorps NCCC, AmeriCorps VISTA
United States

City Year
United States

Global Citizen Year
Brazil, Ecuador, Guatemala, and Senegal

Global Routes
Costa Rica, Ecuador, Ghana and Tanzania

Omprakash Foundation
Kenya, Ghana, Nigeria, South Africa, Sudan, Uganda, Afghanistan, Cambodia, India, Nepal, Pakistan, Philippines, Thailand, Tibet, Argentina, Costa Rica, Ecuador, Guatemala, Honduras, Peru, Nicaragua, Dominican Republic and Israel

Projects Abroad
Argentina, Belize, Bolivia, Cambodia, China, Costa Rica, Ecuador, Ethiopia, Fiji, Ghana, Jamaica, Kenya, Madagascar, Mexico, Mongolia, Morocco, Myanmar, Nepal, Peru, the Philippines, Romania, Samoa, Senegal, South Africa, Sri Lanka, Tanzania, Thailand, Togo, and Vietnam

Alaska, Australia, Brazil, India, Mexico, New Zealand, Pacific Northwest, Patagonia, Rocky Mountain, Scandinavia, Southwest, Teton Valley and Yukon

Semester at Sea
Pacific Rim, Latin America and North Africa/Europe

Earthwatch Institute

School for Field Studies
Costa Rica, Turks & Caicos, Kenya, Mexico, Australia, New Zealand, and Bhutan

Student Conservation Association
United States

Woolman Semester
Nevada City, California

Verto Education
Australia, China, Costa Rica, Fiji, Laos, New Zealand, Thailand, and The Dominican Republic

Gap Year New York City
The School of the New York Times

Go to Grow Abroad

Office Contact Info

Office phone:

(860) 435-3180

Office fax:

(860) 435-3157

Richard Hazelton
Director of College Advising

Katherine Boyd
Associate Director

Marc Dittmer
College Advisor 

Annie Hall
Senior Associate Director

Tom Peabody
Associate Director

Josh Smith
Senior Associate Director

JoAnne Lakin
Office Manager