Student plotting course

Done with High School, Ready for the World

A gap year is typically a semester or a year after high school graduation where a student defers college admission to travel, study, volunteer or work.  On Semester at Sea you have the opportunity to do all of these things with your gap year by travelling on one of our semester voyages.

Why choose Semester at Sea for your gap year?

Give your future a kick start

The broad exposure of Semester at Sea provides a comparative global education experience. This is incredibly valuable for gap year students in narrowing their field of study, choosing a major, and thinking about future opportunities to study, volunteer, or work abroad. Click here to explore some of the other personal, academic, and career benefits of Semester at Sea.

Define Your World

As a gap year student on Semester at Sea, you will get a taste of the entire world as you explore 8-12 international ports and communities, attend classes on global topics with students from around the world, and take part in service projects and cross-cultural opportunities in port.  You will then be more prepared to head off to college with a defined sense of the world and a clearer understanding of your own strengths and interests.

Prepare for College

Some options for additional support for gap students include an seminars on preparing for college, informal mentoring with upperclassmen, academic tutoring, access to shipboard faculty, involvement in student clubs and activities, and reflection activities after each port and at the end of the voyage.

Specialized Programing

On Semester at Sea voyages, gap year students are fully mainstreamed in with the shipboard community, but we do offer some additional support that students can choose to utilize.  The Living Learning Coordinator for Academic Success will provide support for gap students throughout the voyage. This LLC will set up an initial meeting to give gap students the opportunity to connect with their peers, ask questions, and explore common interests. After this initial gathering, the students can decide whether or not they wish to continue meeting as a group.

Application requirements for gap year students:

  • Check out the gap year admissions checklist
  • Fill out the application for a voyage
  • Demonstrate at least a 3.25 cumulative GPA
  • Be in good academic and judicial standing at time of application
  • Demonstrate writing skills in a 300-500 word essay as indicated on the application
  • Provide proof of admission at an accredited college/university
  • Provide all high school and any college level transcripts
  • Provide all SAT, ACT, and/or AP score reports
  • Provide at least one academic recommendation
  • Provide a signed Disciplinary Clearance Form completed by your high school. Your signature provides the release for this information. The existence of a disciplinary record does not preclude your admission, but it will be considered in the overall evaluation of your application. If you have a disciplinary record, please submit a written statement explaining the events on your record.
  • Submit an additional 300-500 word essay that responds to the following question:
    • Why do you wish to participate in Semester at Sea as a gap year student and how does it fit into your long-term academic plan?

What do gap year alumni have to say about how Semester at Sea prepared them for college?

Kasey Oopik

After traveling the globe for a semester my desires and goals have become much more focused. I feel much more motivation to do well in my studies and I have taken much more interest in global issues. My hope is to major in international studies, whereas before I had no idea what where my interests lay.

University of North Carolina Wilmington

Kayla Allen

Before embarking on my SAS journey I had no idea just how intense college courses would be. I am so grateful that I decided to do this program before entering my first year of college. It really provided me with an idea of what to expect in the fall.

Baylor University

Charu Sharma

My experiences prepared me for life, not just for college. After SAS, I was academically, socially and emotionally more than ready for college...I realized several aspects of my personality, and during SAS, my true personality showed up, and I was exposed to a whole new spectrum of myself...I loved it so much that I came back for another voyage, and I'm positive that I will sail again in future, not just once, but multiple times. MV Explorer is home for me.

Mount Holyoke College

Casey Grindon

One of the most valuable things I took away from my experience was the relationships I made aboard the MV Explorer, some of which I continue to connect with. They were all current college students, and offered me great advice when I began my freshman orientation during the fall after my summer voyage.

Bowdoin College

Andrea Endlein

We learned a lot [about] how to live with others who are completely different [from each other] and still have respect and a lot of fun together and still hold our friendship until this day.

University of Technology, Munich, Germany