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

We encourage incoming students to gain valuable global skills and experience before arriving on campus and are excited to partner with Global Citizen Year to help provide these options for students. We believe in the benefits of taking a gap year and learning beyond the classroom.

Global Citizen Year offers two experiences—the Fellowship and the Academy—which select talented students from diverse backgrounds, and help provide them with the empathy, agency and global network to drive impact today—and over the course of their lives.

We will grant deferral to any admitted student who enrolls in a Global Citizen Year program. Here’s more about the program offerings:

Global Citizen Year Academy: This unique leadership experience—delivered virtually—inspires and equips students worldwide to find their purpose, their people and their power to make an impact.

Global Citizen Year Fellowship [currently paused due to COVID-19]: Since 2010, Global Citizen Year has run this fellowship program for 1,000+ exceptional young people, who spend a year before college living alongside the global majority in communities across Africa, Asia and Latin America.

More Gap Year Opportunities

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.