Global Citizen Year Announces 12 New College Partnerships

Colleges and universities are increasingly recognizing the tangible benefits of students taking a meaningful gap year before arriving on campus. Global Citizen Year is excited to be a catalyst in advancing this trend, as highlighted in recent coverage by the Wall Street Journal and the Chronicle of Higher Education.

As part of this initiative, today we are announcing 12 new partnerships with the following institutions:

These partners now join Tufts University, Lafayette College, and Dickinson College in recommending Global Citizen Year as a transformative experience to their incoming students.

We are honored to be partnering with these forward-thinking institutions that are leading the nation in promoting meaningful gap (or bridge) years as a powerful on-ramp to college. From liberal arts colleges to large public universities, this diverse group of schools has several important things in common.

  1. Prioritizing Experiential Education: They recognize that there are limits to what can be taught in a lecture hall, and that today more than ever, a world-class education must be grounded in real-world experience.  
  2. Taking the Long View: They believe that changing the inputs of college is one of the best ways to improve the outcomes. This gives them the confidence to wait one year for a student who will arrive on campus that much worldlier, that much wiser…and that much more motivated to pursue a new-found passion in college.
  3. Strengthening Cross-Cultural Understanding: They take very seriously their commitment to strengthen cross-cultural understanding and inclusion, both on campus and off.  And they share a belief that a well-designed global immersion year is one of the most effective ways to build this muscle in their students.

Each of these partnerships takes a slightly different form, but they include two core elements:

  • The Admissions Office will proactively communicate with prospective students about why and how they support incoming students to take a gap year; and
  • The Admissions Office and/or other partners on campus will promote the Global Citizen Year Fellowship to all admitted students as a transformative — and, importantly, accessible — opportunity for students from all backgrounds.

Our model aligns well with the values and educational approach of higher education institutions for the following reasons:

  • We are a non-profit, which means we hold impact – not revenues – as our bottom line.
  • We are focused on leadership development through experiential education.
  • We offer students an opportunity for genuine community engagement through long-term immersion (vs. fly-by voluntourism).
  • We bring together talented students from diverse backgrounds to share this formative experience.
  • To do this, we offer a sliding scale tuition model, and the majority of our participants receive full or partial scholarships (need-based or merit-based).

Looking ahead, Global Citizen Year plans to expand our higher education partnerships to advance the following objectives:

  1. Shift the cultural norm that pressures students to go straight from high school to college, redefining gap years as ‘launch years’ for our most ambitious high school graduates.
  2. Build the evidence base on gap year outcomes, including through our founding role with the Gap Year Research Consortium at Colorado College.
  3. Encourage more colleges to follow the lead of UNC Chapel Hill, Duke University, and Florida State University, in mobilizing funding to support meaningful gap year experiences for their incoming students.

The tide is turning in college admissions, and we are thrilled to be working with an exceptional group of partner institutions in accelerating this positive trend!


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Global Citizen Year is moving forward as part of our new, larger brand: Tilting Futures. New name, same mission, expanded programs and impact.