They decided to hold off on the crazy freshman year of college and experience a life changing tour around the world.  The 2013-14 KIVU Gap Year class has graduated, and they’re on their way to developing into the people they were born to be.

Blair Boring, one of our students, made this video, and I couldn’t be more proud of her work.  It captures so much of their experiences this year visually, I find myself asking, “Who in the World Wouldn’t Want to do this?”  And I’ve found out a few obstacles many potential college Freshman have. I’ll try to put them in perspective.

1.  If I don’t go to College, Won’t I be Behind?

There’s a common misconception when students apply for college their senior year of High School.  In the back of so many minds there is this imaginary finish line you have to cross before you can start your life, and I’m finding research showing this practice is becoming more and more foolish.  Not only are High School Seniors spending an inordinate amount of time working to produce the right resume to get in college, the current statistics are that only 60% of College students actually finish their undergraduate degree.  (A Little known fact Universities don’t want you to know)

So here at the KIVU Gap Year, we are working diligently to answer those reasons why students don’t cross the finish line.

a.  Today’s inbound college freshman has been trained to regurgitate information rather than think through issues.
b.  The maturity level of today’s 18 year old is akin to a 15 year old a decade ago
c.  Many students are just tired.  They’ve been plugging along in High School to produce hours of homework, months of athletic training, and whatever other extra curricular activities they feel they need to impress an admission counselor.

Look, there’s nothing special about beginning life at 21 over beginning at 22.  The opportunities you’re going to be afforded in life have little to do with the timeline toward graduating early, and more to do with the level of skill you bring to an employer.  If you’re 20 and have the skills, then you’re going to be fine.  But if you’re 22 and have the skills AND the network of opportunity knocking at your door, well, the finish line is a whole lot sweeter.

2.  Will I forego my scholarship opportunities if I take a Gap Year?

Another common mistake is to think that all the scholarships you’ve worked so hard to earn will just vanish.  Now, Each University has their own rules and regulations, but this year; one of our students was awarded a full ride scholarship to Vanderbilt University in Nashville Tennessee.  (@$300K USD)  She applied for the scholarship the year before and didn’t make it past the first round, but after her experience around the world, she was able to contextualize global issues the scholarship foundation found useful.  So, they decided to invest in her as a shining Vanderbilt Student.

And that’s where a lot of parents are falling short in this college scholarship thing.

As I discuss admissions with some of the major University counselors in America, they’re exhausted.  They see the EXACT SAME application coming across their desk.  Every kid has a 4.0.  Every kid has high ACT scores.  Every kid was a leader on some team.  Every kid started their own non-profit to help orphans in some third world country.  It’s like everybody has tried to figure out how to get into the schools with what the schools are looking for; but now all the school see is the same kid.

If you want to stand out to Admission counselors, you’ve got to be unique.  You have to be able to bring some sort of added benefit to the table, otherwise you’re competing with all the other “perfect resumes” submitted each year.

The reason Alexis was able to get the scholarship was nothing more than she was able to sit down in an interview and articulate global issues and ideas as they relate to her.

Remember, Higher Education isn’t about just learning facts and figures.  The more competition there is to get into the same number of seats in America, the more students are having to learn how to “Talk Shop” instead of regurgitate ideas.

3.  If my student takes a Gap Year, I’m afraid they’ll never go back to school

100% of The KIVU Gap Year Kids have been enrolled in University after they leave the program.  We’re not building a “year away” so students find something outside of the necessary education at the University.  We’re trying to help hone their skills, show them what’s out there in the world, help them know who they are and what they are gifted at doing, and help them build a network of people who they can call on in their field of study.

This program emphasizes the necessity of learning the tools you need to be successful in your particular field, and the first step is getting a College Degree.

I believe when they go back to the University with the Global Year under their belt, they’ll be much more proficient, more adept to finding their calling, and in the long run; they’ll be light years ahead of students with similar backgrounds.

4.  What actually will be the benefit of The KIVU Gap Year for my student

There are so many it’s hard to write in a blog post without making you scroll down.  But just to name a few:

  • Increased Relational Awareness
  • A Higher Cultural Intelligence
  • Creative ways to find a niche in their field of study
  • Over 900 hours of community involvement based on a variety of cultural engagement
  • A Global Perspective on business, education, medicine, sociology, urban planning, and spiritual development
  • A clear picture of the impact and consequences of various global agencies

We’ve seen students with affinity for teaching, medicine, art, community work, business development, construction, project management, and a variety of other useful skills be able to put those skills into action as they learn.

One of our students was a project manager in Rwanda, after his supervisor instructed him on the project, he was the lead.  Imagine what kind of experiential learning that happens when an 18 year old kid becomes the project manager on a job site and then goes back to his engineering school to learn the pieces of the project he missed or needed.  This program is invaluable.

For the sake of length, I’ll stop here.  There are several other issues we are finding when parents are exploring a Gap Year, and I’ll try to post more at a later date.  Be sure to watch the video, or open our website at to explore the inner workings of this exciting program.  We are currently beginning the process of Quantifying all they’ve learned, and we’ll have more concrete studies for those who are interested very soon.


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