perspective of a student in a mountainscape from behind

Gap years can ignite meaningful learning and lives of purpose—and Whitman values the experiences and new perspectives that our gap year students bring to campus.

We are supportive of first-year students intending to take a gap year, and flexible as to the format that a gap year takes. Students who wish to take a gap year should submit a gap year request form after they have enrolled at Whitman. 

Some students know that they plan on taking a gap year before they even apply to colleges, while some decide after they’ve been admitted to colleges or even after they’ve chosen a school. Regardless of when you decide, we are happy to work with you! 

To request a gap year, you must first enroll at Whitman by submitting your deposit. Afterwards, you may fill out the Gap Year Request form linked in your applicant portal at any time. You will then receive notification of deferral and learn more about your new enrollment timeline as a gap year student. Even if you indicated in your Common App that you wish to take a gap year, please remember that you must still follow up to confirm these intentions after you have officially enrolled at Whitman. 

For housing purposes, it is helpful for us to know your intention to defer your enrollment by July. However, we have a flexible approach to gap years and we are always happy to work with you.

Our Partnership with Global Citizen Year

Whitman is excited about our partnership with Global Citizen Year—an 8-month global immersion and leadership development program in Brazil, Ecuador, India or Senegal. Global Citizen Year Fellows live with a host family and apprentice to a local organization working in education, health or the environment. We believe in the benefits of taking a gap year and learning beyond the classroom.

If you are interested in this opportunity, we encourage you to apply directly. If you indicate on your application that you have been admitted to Whitman College, Global Citizen Year will fast-track your application, guarantee you a final interview, and prioritize you for their pool of need-based financial aid. If you are selected, you will also receive a $5,000 merit scholarship from Global Citizen Year to help cover your gap year tuition. 

There are many other gap year programs to choose from, by no means limited to this list. You do not need to confirm your participation in any gap year programs to have your gap year request to Whitman approved.