A "Gap Year", also known as an Interim Year, is a year taken after graduating from high school and before going on to college during which students choose alternatives to mainstream education. Students participate in programs that might include work, travel, internships and community service, or even academic programs in new settings. These programs may spans several weeks, a full semester, or an entire year.
Holly Bull is the
President of the Center for Interim Programs and has written an article entitled Navigating a Gap Year. Dozens more article are available on the internet.
The Peace Corps is perhaps widely recognized as one of the longest standing gap year programs available to students in the US, but here is just a small selection of additional links associated with gap year programs. John A. Coleman does not specifically endorse any of these programs. They are simply a resource for those interested in investigating this option further. We strongly suggest that parents and students spend time together with their favorite internet search engine to get as much information as possible!
The Samaritans, a telephone support service for those in despair, has a year long volunteer program for non-judgmental people who desire an interim high school/college experience. Most states and even many locales have their own chapters, all of whom can be found in the internet.
Here is a state-by-state database of technical and vocational schools compiled by RWM.