Gap Year Counselors

Everything students, parents, and educators need to know about working with the best gap year counselors to help plan your dream gap year.

How Gap Year Experts Can Help

Planning an intentional gap year can be overwhelming, but knowing that there are gap year experts out there who are happy to help can make a world of difference! From helping you narrow down gap year program options to crafting a more independent gap year comprised of solo travel or work exchange experiences, expert gap year counselors can play integral roles in shaping a gap year experience for the better. Read on for FAQs, credentials, and contact information for some of the top US-based gap year counselors who are keynote speakers at the annual USA Gap Year Fairs events.

Frequently Asked Questions

Who works with gap year counselors?
Gap year students, parents, and high school educators & college counselors can all benefit from working with gap year counselors in different ways. Gap year counselors can be incredible resources for:
  • Independent gap year students who are aiming to plan a highly customized gap experience involving independent travel, work exchange, and/or a structured program.
  • Students & parents looking for personalized support during the research and planning stages, all the way through to the gap experience. Many counselors also offer support post-gap time to help students reflect on their experiences and make the most of their next steps.
  • High school educators & counselors in search of gap year information, oftentimes to supplement their own college counseling expertise.
What are the benefits of working with a gap year counselor?
With so many gap year possibilities, it can be overwhelming to know where to start. Many gap year counselors have taken gap years themselves, and worked within the fields of experiential learning and international education for decades, offering students a wealth of expertise for making the most of their gap time. Gap year counselors really dig deep and help students hone in on their specific interests, goals, and curiosities, in order to structure an intentional and productive gap year.
When should I start working with a gap year counselor?
Gap year counselors can help provide support before, during, and after your gap time. If a gap year is something you’re considering, it’s never too soon or too late to reach out to a counselor for their advice. They often know the most up to date information about structured gap year programs, application deadlines, and independent travel or work exchange opportunities.
How should I choose my gap year counselor?
Choosing a gap year counselor is a lot like picking a mentor -- they’re going to be your gap year coach, so it’s important that you feel comfortable speaking with them directly about your gap year goals and aspirations. You might want to choose a gap year counselor based on their experience traveling in a specific country or a common interest you might share -- like running marathons, studying marine biology, or doing service work in West Africa. We suggest learning a little more about each of their backgrounds by exploring their websites.

Pro tip: You can meet gap year counselors at an upcoming USA Gap Year Fair! Each event will have at least one counselor available to speak with you about your gap year plans.
Can high school counselors work with gap year counselors?
Gap year counselors are often glad to connect with high school counselors who are looking for gap year experts to speak with their students about the gap year option. While high school counselors are mainly focused on helping students navigate the college admissions, gap year counselors can help augment support for those looking for experiential learning opportunities. Aside from the USA Gap Year Fairs events, many gap year counselors are happy to schedule info sessions for schools upon request -- just get in touch with them!
How much does gap year counseling cost?
Go Overseas provides a comprehensive, searchable database of gap year programs and reviews to help prospective gappers explore and choose programs experiences based on their specific interests or goals. Since there's such a wide variety of program options to choose from, one may want to work with an experienced gap year counselor to help craft a customized gap year plan.The general cost of gap year counseling can range from $600-$2,800, although some counselors may offer hourly consultations. Quite a few of them offer a free introductory consultation to help determine if it’s a good fit on both ends.

And, yes there are scholarships! Many gap year counselors do offer scholarships for counseling services -- just ask them. Plus, USA Gap Year Fairs offers an annual gap year scholarship that includes in-kind gap year counseling. If you’re planning on taking a gap year during the 2022-2023 academic year, be sure to check back here in February for information on how to apply for the upcoming scholarship.

Meet Gap Year Counselors

Holly Bull, President of the Center for Interim Programs
President, Center for Interim Programs

Holly Bull has placed over 3,000 individuals, including her daughters, in vetted programs in the 30+ years she has been counseling students and adults through the gap-year process. She took her own two gap years before and during college. Founded in 1980, her company, the Center for Interim Programs, is the first and longest-running independent gap year counseling service in the US.

Julia Rogers
Founder of EnRoute Consulting & GYA Board President

Julia Rogers is a traveler, writer, speaker, and professional accredited gap year counselor. She has circled the globe a few times over, always in search of the most inspiring adventures to recommend to gap year students. She believes in the power of intentional travel to transform how we define higher education. Her favorite destinations are Morocco, New Zealand, Laos, and Nepal. When not planning her next adventure, she enjoys playing in the mountains of Stowe, Vermont, where she calls home.

Jason Sarouhan
Co-Founder, J2Guides

Jason Sarouhan has offered 20+ years of his professional career supporting students pursuing experiential education opportunities all over the world. Together, he and his wife Jane, co-founder of J2Guides, are the only GYA Professionally accredited gap year counselors that have: taken, led, designed, coordinated and directed gap year programs.

Jane Sarouhan headshot
Co-Founder, J2Guides

Jane traveled around the world when she was a junior in college, taking her anthropology studies from books to reality in England, India, Thailand, Malaysia, New Zealand and Colombia. While the countries and cultures were astounding, it was her faculty, and their leadership, that had an even greater impact. While she finished her degree in anthropology, Jane quickly started looking for opportunities to similarly guide students.

Marion Taylor
Gap Year Advisor

Hailing from Boulder, Colorado, Marion Taylor is owner of Taylor The Gap LLC and the only GYA accredited gap year advisor between Chicago and California. Prior to founding Taylor The Gap LLC in 2011, Marion worked in Social Work for over 35 years focused on families, women, and children both domestically and abroad. Distinct from other counselors, she offers a unique parenting perspective with all four of her children having participated in a structured and or independent gap experience.

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