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Gap Year

Dartmouth fully supports students taking a gap year, or a service year, before enrolling as a first year student. Many of our students have accomplished great things, expanded their experiences, and energized their hunger for learning during a gap or a service year.

Gap and service years are becoming more and more common

Thinking of taking a gap or service year between high school and college? If you've been accepted to Dartmouth, this step-by-step guide explains how to make it happen.
Curious about what you might do during a gap year? You can travel, work, take courses you weren’t able to take in high school, engage in community service, and/or pursue other interests. The options are wide open.
Considering community service? A service year can be beneficial for the students that participate and can provide numerous benefits to the communities they serve. Dartmouth believes that getting more individuals involved in service programs will have a positive effect on the civic health of our society. Dartmouth is committed to helping students who plan to enroll at the College learn about their opportunities to get involved and has partnered with the Service Year Alliance, a group whose vision of a service year is “A paid opportunity to develop real-world skills through hands-on service.” Lear more at   
If you are interested in any of the organizations below, with which Dartmouth has service year relationships, please apply as directed.

New Hampshire AmeriCorps

Campus Compact for New Hampshire

AmeriCorps NCCC

Teach For America

City Year


Peace Corps

Equal Justice Works

Community Health Corps

Food Corps

Jesuit Volunteer Corps


College Advising Corps

Citizen Schools

Public Allies


  1. Confirm your intent to enroll at Dartmouth by the deadline.
  2. Email the Assistant to the Dean of Admissions and Financial Aid by June 1. Your email should outline your reasons for postponing your enrollment and plans for your gap/service year.
  3. You will receive an email letting you know if we need any additional information. An official response from the Dean of Admissions and Financial Aid will grant your request. Allow 2 weeks for processing gap/service year requests.
  4. Go gap. Serve your world. Take a job or internship, pursue a dream, help the world be a better place, help your family or others in need. It’s your gap year. Make the most of it.
  5. Re-apply for financial aid. The CSS/Financial Aid PROFILE® application and the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) are available on October 1st. Visit Dartmouth's financial aid website for application instructions, following the deadlines for "Regular Decision." If your family's financial circumstances are similar to when you originally applied, you can anticipate a similar parent contribution to that originally offered. Please be advised, though, that if there are any changes to Dartmouth's financial aid policies, it may impact your award and/or eligibility. Please note that your eligibility for financial aid—and level of demonstrated need—will be based on the new information you provide to us when you reapply for aid.
  6. While on your gap/service year, you'll need to update us as soon as possible after January 1 to reaffirm your commitment to join the newest matriculating Dartmouth class. We'll also want to know more about your experiences and undertakings during your gap/service year.

Gap/Service-Year Facts & Fine Print

  • Admitted students who postpone their enrollment may not apply to any other colleges or universities during their gap/service year.
  • Postponed enrollment for two years will be permitted for obligatory national/military service.
  • The Admissions Committee reserves the right to review the status of any admitted student, including those on a gap/service year, and to rescind its offer of admission if a student's academic and personal record does not remain satisfactory in all respects.
  • The American Gap Association defines a gap year as: "A structured period of time when students take a break from formal education to increase self-awareness, learn from different cultures, and experiment with possible careers. Typically these are achieved by a combination of traveling, volunteering, interning, or working." Visit the American Gap Association website for inspiration and advice on how to spend your gap year.
  • If there are any policy changes at the College, they will apply to you as a member of your matriculating class.