American University Gap Program


American University's Gap Program offers students an immersive academic experience in Washington, D.C., both in the classroom and through an internship. By exploring academic coursework combined with site visits, students will get a behind-the-scenes look at the nation’s capital, all while gaining real-world experience with an internship. AU Gap gives students the opportunity to experience life on a college campus and in a professional working environment, providing them a foundation of skills that can be applied to future studies and careers.



Default avatar
Yes, I recommend this program

Washington, D.C. as classroom!

This review was written by a parent of a student who participated:

I cannot think of a better program for high school graduates who are looking for a meaningful experience before starting college than American University’s Gap Program. The semester-long program combined a mentored internship (my son interned at Earth Day Network) with an experiential learning-based seminar on international affairs (with a healthy dose of environmental studies), for which students earned college credit (7 credits!), set on a vibrant university campus (Gap students are integrated into AU’s residential community life) in a culturally rich and diverse city (students are provided with an unlimited-ride transit pass, costing $1 a day, to commute to internships, make site visits for the seminar, visit museums and galleries). From the initial admissions interview through the farewell assembly, it was clear that this is a well designed and well run program, for which the administrators and faculty have succeeded in defining the right mix of activities to prepare Gap students for college (and life after college!), to encourage them to bond as a cohort, and to invite them to participate in the many offerings of AU and take advantage of the countless opportunities awaiting them in Washington, D.C., indeed itself a classroom of American University.

Default avatar
Yes, I recommend this program

Life Changing Experience!

I could not be more happy I decided to take a gap year, especially in the AU program. I truly believe the year off allowed me time to reflect on my high school years, specifically how I could mature from a yippy high school student to a young professional. The program in DC allowed me a taste of both college-level classes (and environment, as we are allowed to reside on campus) and the profession I hope to work in some day. At the end of the program I was able to complete another 9-month internship during which I garnered deep professional connections and skills. Overall, I cannot imagine my life without having that experience- it opened so many doors, and my eyes to the young adult I needed to develop into to be more successful in college and my career after.

Default avatar
Yes, I recommend this program

Bridging the Gap

My decision to attend the program has become one of the best decisions of my life. I have seen myself grow in extraordinary ways- socially, professionally, and academically. I was not a shy, introverted, average student coming into this, but I knew that there were areas that I could improve and build in order to be more successful in the future. Through my internship, I gained a professional sense, learned the importance of clear communication and brevity, how to reach out to professionals, improvements to my writing, etc. In addition, every class (Mentored Field Practicum), I was so intrigued by an idea thrown out and amazed at the empathy everyone held. The class almost felt like a second home where everyone was comfortable to be themselves. I recommend this program for anyone wanting to find or confirm their passion, whatever it may be.

What was the most surprising thing you saw or did?
I walked into my internship one day and a presidential candidate was sitting in the lobby.


Displaying 1 - 1 of 1

Professional Associations