Research Outline

Gap Year Statistics; United States


To get a report containing statistics and opinions on the number of people who take a gap year each year in the United States after high school and before entering college.

Early Findings

Gap Year Statistics

  • According to the data published by the Gap Year Association, 40,000 students did some kind of gap year last year.
  • A study conducted by "the Cooperative Institutional Research Program at UCLA in 2015 found that only 3% of American students take a year off before heading to college."
  • SimpsonScarborough's survey findings from 2020 revealed that up to 40 percent of students nationwide are seriously considering taking a gap year.
  • As per an article published by the Denver Gap Year Association in 2019, annually, "8,000 U.S. students take a gap year." The article also revealed that "an estimated 1.6 million students volunteer during their gap year, with many partaking in programs with a gap year organization."
  • According to a CNBC article from 2017, more than 35 percent of high school students think of taking a gap year.
  • More than 40 USA Gap Year Fairs were organized in "20 states across the United States in 2019, more than 6,000 potential gappers and their families attended these fairs."
  • "Roughly one in six high school seniors say they definitely or most likely will change their plans to attend college in the fall because of the coronavirus, according to a survey of 1,171 students conducted April 21 through 24 by the higher education market research firm Art & Science Group, of those, 16 percent say they will take a gap year."

Deferred Admission Statistics

  • Harvard University "encourages its admitted students to consider deferring admission" and taking a gap year, and nearly 20% of the first-year students have deferred admissions this year, three times the usual number of deferred admissions.

Benefits of Taking a Gap Year; Statistics

  • As per the data from the Milkround graduate recruitment - Gap Year survey, 88 percent of gap year graduates report that their gap year had significantly added to their employability.
  • "American universities say that students who took a gap year achieve 23% higher grades than students who went straight to college."
  • "In a 2015 national alumni survey conducted by the American Gap Association in conjunction with Temple University, students who had chosen to take a gap year were asked about their motivations for doing so: the top answers were to gain life experiences and grow personally (92%), to travel and experience other cultures (85%), and to take a break from the academic track (82%)."
  • "98% of respondents from the 2020 national alumni survey reported that their gap year experience helped them interact with people from background or cultures different than their own to some extent, and 80% reported that it significantly helped."

Additional Statistics

Summary of Findings

  • As requested, we have provided relevant statistics about gap year students in the United States. During our research, we observed that there is no sync between the national and the local data about the number of students taking a gap each year. Even the most renowned organizations operating in the industry do not have exact figures on the topic. However, we have included some research findings from different research studies that have been conducted over the years, and it is quite evident that the number of students taking a gap year each year in the United States has been growing has experienced a sudden increase due to the situations created by the COVID-19 pandemic.
  • Additionally, we have also observed that a lot of information is available about the interests of students who are thinking about taking a gap year, the kinds of programs that are already available in the US for GAP year students (both online and offline), the pain points of gap year students and the main motivations for students to opt for a gap year. Due to time constraints, we were only able to provide relevant statistics about the total number of students opting for a gap year in the United States; we propose further research to provide a more comprehensive summary of the current situation of gap year students in the US.