Year On


Year On offers skill building programs ranging from five weeks up to a full semester designed to set participants on a path of exploration that lasts their entire lives, helping them to be more engaged and more confident students.

Résumé-building experiences in every program help participants sharpen the skills that matter most like self-advocacy, resilience, collaboration, follow through, and effective communication. All programs feature mentorship from professional coaches matched one-on-one to each participant who provide insight into fields that are relevant for that learner. Semester programs feature a virtual volunteer experience at a non-profit organization and a professional externship.

Year On guides young people in uncovering the core of who they are, where they want to go & how to get there. We do this by equipping them with difference-making skills that help clarify their direction and increase their self-confidence and supporting them with personal mentoring & coaching.


Yes, I recommend this program

Take a year on and transform your life.

This program was one of the best experiences of my life. Is divided into three parts, Voyage, Launch, and Internship. During these phases, you will travel, make an impact and gain the skills and self-confidence that will help you need move forward to the next chapter.
In Voyage, I spent three months volunteering in India. I got to explore the country and learned about its culture while teaching English to a group of women's empowerment. Then in Launch, I embraced my curiosity and explored different areas of interests by creating for the sake of making something new, instead of thinking or worrying about the final product. Some cool things I did were a stop-motion short film and an animated room experience, a collaboration with two other fellows where we projected drawings on three walls. On the last and final part of the program, thanks to the portfolio I created with everything I did during my time in San Francisco, I found an internship for a travel startup and was able to put everything I learned into real-world experience.

Apart from that, I made friends and memories that will stay with me for the rest of my life. Thank you for an incredible year!

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Yes, I recommend this program

The Cohort

On the last day of launch, the entire cohort went to golden gate park where we bonded over our experience. We talked about how we regretted not spending more time together so I guess my advice would be to spend as much time with the people in your cohort as possible. Everyone has unique ideas and experience that they bring to the table and to not utilize each other would be kind of a waste. Learn to collaborate early on and you'll gain a lot more from the experience.

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Yes, I recommend this program

Taking a Gap Year is a Must

Taking a Gap Year was an essential part of my learning and should be a cornerstone of the modern education system. My voyage phase abroad opened my eyes to new cultural experiences and blessed me with lifelong friends and family. I spent two months abroad in Quito, Ecuador where I taught English as a second language and environmental education to around 500 elementary school students a day. Teaching alongside other fellows and volunteers was a fantastic experience for us that created one of the highlights of my life by helping others in an impactful way. I also had the freedom to travel and discover a totally new country with new friends and travel companions. The launch phase placed us in San Francisco, the epicenter of a tech revolution and the heart of entrepreneurship today. Here, we were surrounded by countless opportunities to network and tap into Uncollege's resources. We attended work shops each day that taught us invaluable lessons that are not taught in university lecture halls. Personal finance, negotiation, and how to have difficult conversations were all topics we learned from guest speakers who came in to teach us their expertise from specific fields. Everyone who came in to teach us cared deeply about our success and wanted us to learn that topic because it was of great importance to their career and/or personal life. The launch phase provided the education and the frame work for us to move into our internships and beyond.

What would you improve about this program?
The voyage and the launch phase were great, but the internship and the project phase lacked guidance. I wish there had been more interaction between Uncollege and the fellows for the last two phases.
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Yes, I recommend this program

Learned a lot.

This gap year for me was a great way to get me into the entrepreneurial scene in SF, I have learned a lot through the struggles of starting my startup, F the Line ( and gaining momentum. Gabe helped me a lot, pushed me to do the things that I was hesitant about (something like going out and interviewing potential customers and strangers.)

I learned a lot from this gap year, made some lifelong friends, and will continue to work hard on F the Line. Thanks for all the help!

What would you improve about this program?
It would be nice if there was a little more interaction with Dale. We feel like we hardly know you despite being in the program for almost a year now. You're the one setting the example for us as unschoolers and we almost never see you during the course of the program.

For the more entrepreneurial fellows in the program would want to be introduced to more influential people and grow a bigger network. I think you guys have the network and we would love to be introduced to more people. At least I know I want that.
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Yes, I recommend this program

My Gap Year Turnout

Taking a year to get to know myself outside of formal education was/is hard. Proving to myself that I can be independent was a struggle too. By having this year organized in a structured way gave me the chance to jumpstart my self discovery outside of a regular 20 year old person. I mean this wholeheartedly when I say UnCollege is the training wheels to growing up.
I started the Gap Year off by choosing to read the article my Dad gave me that ended up being Dale's program. Eager to have a change from society's norm, and from going back to College undecided, I applied. A few months later, I was in a country I never knew existed before planning. I've met lifelong friends, hung out with elephants for a day, attended and danced my heart out to a local's wedding, ate dog, slept in a cave, taught English to Lao children, climbed one of the many steep karst hills, have a new monk friend and many more beautiful happenings I didn't expect to run into on this "voyage phase" of volunteering. I didn't realize this phase lived up to its title as a true voyage.
The transition from a third world country to one of the most industrialized cities in the US was beyond a culture shock. Spending three months drawing water from a well to having unlimited access any place you walk into has made me appreciate the finer things in life. Another big contrast I noticed is Laos and San Francisco's idea of time management. While San Franciscans have a time-based schedule, Laotians method is to work some, rest some continuously through the day.
Living and learning the different cultures while taking workshops to propel me, and other fellows, towards our interests was an experience of a lifetime. The staff's ways of having 'Friday reviews', coaching and house meetings were executed perfectly to expand our comfort levels of mental and emotional health.
Job shadowing, cold emailing and a few internships later I can say I have not found what I am truly passionate about. What I have found is a better sense of myself and career paths I do not plan on pursuing.
I encourage anyone who is unsure of college, a career path and any questioning on your future to take the next year and discover more of yourself outside of your regular routine. I took the chance to "postpone" a year from college and not only discovered more of who I am, but met amazing, influential people.

What would you improve about this program?
I'd encourage Dale to participate more in any of the social aspects of the program: reviews, workshops, overseas skype calls, etc. I feel the fellows would be happier spending the money that they have on this program because the founder is willing to put in a bit more time from a busy schedule for all the individuals who are giving their whole year in his structured curriculum.
Otherwise, I think you guys should keep up the good work. :)


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Staff Interviews

These are in-depth Q&A sessions with program leaders.

Evert Zelaya

Job Title
Program Specialist
Evert is a coach at UnCollege. His focus is on personal and professional development to make sure students get the most out of their college experience.

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What is your favorite travel memory?

In 2014, my wife and I traveled to London, Rome, and Santorini for three weeks. We visited historic monuments, ate amazing food, and met some inspirational people. The best 3 week period of my life. Also, I proposed to her in Santorini at the end so that location will always hold a special place in my heart.

Which destination is most underrated? Conversely, which is most overrated?

As far as the locations that UnCollege offers, I think that India is vastly underrated. Everyone that returns from Dharamsala raves about the profound experience they had. Dharamsala has one of the highest Tibetan monk populations in the world and is known for its amazing temples.
This is a great place to do some soul searching and focus on yourself - without distractions. People also get to visit booming cities of India and historic monuments such as Taj Mahal.

What do you believe to be the biggest factor in being a successful company?

The biggest factor in being a successful company is definitely the people. It's imperative to have a group of people on the same page and dedicated to the company's goal. At UnCollege, our team works as one unit to give our fellows the best gap year experience possible. From going on their voyage, to one on one coaching, delivering powerful workshops, even gaining real world work experience, we work very hard to make this a great program. We have great communication with each other and provide support when someone needs it.

What unique qualities does your company possess?

We are a mighty group of 9 people that work incredibly hard, but a unique quality is that we also love being around each other. When it's someone's birthday, we celebrate that individual by dressing like him/her for the day. We have a book club where we gather once a month to talk about the latest entrepreneurship book we've read. We eat lunch together almost daily. Sometimes we'll start singing impromptu top 40 jams. Loving where you work is so important.

What is the best story you've heard from a return student?

I had a student return from living in India for almost 3 months and he said that experience changed his life. He taught English to young Tibetan monks and was awestruck by the culture and spirituality that Dharamsala provided. When I was coaching him here in San Francisco, he often referred to moments in India when thinking about personal growth. He's now in a great place, will be finishing college soon, and even has begun executing on some great business ideas. His confidence is sky high and he's doing more international travel because of his experience in India.

Professional Associations

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