- get a chance to focus on your interests and decide what you want to do in college
- develop your independence and the ability to work on your own
- build your resume before you even get to college
- create a network base of varied contacts
- take a break from your formal education, so you can go back to school refreshed and ready to take on new challenges
Additionally, if you decide to spend your interim year abroad, you can gain fluency in a language and a better understanding of the world.A World of Programs Interim programs are as varied as the students who participate in them. "You can volunteer on a ranch in Montana doing political research, help in conservation restoration in New Zealand or work with an artist in Italy," said Holly Bull, vice president of the Center for Interim Programs. You can also take as much time off as you want. "Though the average student has an interim experience of one year, you can take part in programs that last anywhere from a semester to two years," Bull said. Going Back to College If you're interested in an interim before college, you can apply for college during your senior year of high school and, once accepted, defer your enrollment until the following year. You can also apply during your interim. You'll probably find that your time off won't hurt your chances for college admissions. "Most colleges today are very supportive of students taking time off between high school and college, as long as you're using the time productively," Bull said. Fred Hargadon, the director of admissions at Princeton University, agrees, noting that an interim program can give students the wisdom, perspective and experience they need to take full advantage of college. Footing the Bill How much an interim experience costs depends on how you choose to spend your year off. Many interim programs offer room and board and sometimes a small stipend in exchange for work. Usually, transportation costs and miscellaneous expenses are your responsibility. If you use a consulting service to match you with an interim program, there may be an additional fee. Interim experiences are becoming more popular for students who want to learn outside of the classroom. Take a break from textbooks and exams and get the education of a lifetime.