Friends schools have long valued authentic life experience and do encourage families to consider the full range of post high school opportunities. College counselors and others at Friends schools see the increasing interest in taking a Gap Year to be a healthy and natural extension of a central aspect of Friends education.
Photo: Sandy Spring Friends School
All Friends schools offer and some require short-term student-designed life-experience explorations of some sort (individual and group service projects, senior study, junior project, senior project, etc.). Friends Meetings, agencies, and schools pioneered service as essential in learning, and a wide range of such programs are offered to current students, including experiences in local communities and experiences overseas. Student voice and choice is fundamental to these programs, and student voice plays a role in the ongoing improvement of each. Guided reflection in experience—a process that's habitual in Quaker environments is similarly central in this tradition.
Quaker schools were also involved with those who founded the American Field Service program, which for nearly 60 years has offered study-abroad experiences for high school students, including full year programs, summer programs, and service learning programs.
Most Friends schools have worked with individuals and the families of students who seek Gap Year experiences. Several Friends schools have considerable experience over many years. Quaker schools invite families to explore gap year possibilities. Each school will offer support in ways that fit the school's resources and policies.