If you are uncertain of your career path post-graduation, consider pursuing a gap year opportunity (i.e. travel, interning, volunteering, or a fellowship) after graduation. Gap year opportunities usually last 9 months to 2 years and are completed immediately after graduation. Start planning the year before you graduate if you are interested in pursuing a gap year. Review a sample of opportunities below. Download the PDF HERE!
AmeriCorps*VISTA (Volunteers in Service to America)- Sponsored by the U.S. government offers 1 and some 2-year full-time community service programs providing a subsistence allowance, health insurance, loan deferment, and an educational voucher upon completion. Participants work in nonprofit or government organizations.
AmeriCorps*NCCC(National Civilian Community Corps)- A ten-month, full-time residential service program for men and women age 18 to 24. Members address education, public safety, and other issues, however, their first priority is improving the environment. AmeriCorps*NCCC promotes leadership and team building skills.
BAYAC AmeriCorps- A 10-month program. with a collaborative of over 30 community service organizations that serve youth and families in the San Francisco Bay Area. Members provide direct services to youth in the areas of tutoring, safe and structured after school activities, and health education.
City Year Youth Service Corps- For people ages 17 to 24 from diverse economic, racial, and geographical backgrounds a year of full-time service to communities. During the ten-month program corps members engage in a variety of activities to meet critical needs in their communities. Primarily focused on the education and development of youth, serving as mentors for children in partnership with public schools and organizing and running after-school programs and curricula on important social issues including domestic violence prevention, AIDS awareness, and diversity. City Year accepts applications during four cycles each year: Nov. 30, Feb. 15, April 15, and May 31. Programs in 16 locations around the U.S.
Congressional Hunger Center- Bill Emerson National Hunger Fellows Program- Application deadline: January to begin the following August. A 12-month paid service and learning opportunity in direct service program development public policy related to hunger and poverty issues. Fellows work for 6 months with both urban and rural organizations involved in direct humanitarian efforts, e.g. food banks, local advocacy organizations and comprehensive empowerment programs. Then for 6 months in Washington, D.C. to process and evaluate field experiences and participate in placements with national nonprofits. Includes living allowance for the year and housing provided in the host community during the 6-month field placement. Leland International Hunger Fellows Program - trains emerging leaders in the fight to end hunger worldwide.
Public Allies - Identifies talented young adults from diverse backgrounds and advances their leadership through a 10-month program of full-time, paid apprenticeships in nonprofit organizations, weekly leadership trainings, and team service projects. Public Allies operates in 10 communities and has more than 1,500 Alumni nationwide.
Public Interest Research Group- 2-year fellowships for recent grads interested in public interest advocacy and administration. Locations nationwide. Designed to develop leaders for the public interest movement. Offers a unique combination of mentorship, training, and hands-on advocacy and organizing experience. PIRG Fellows receive extensive classroom training conducted by national experts on public interest issues and strategies. Working side by side with experienced advocates and organizers Fellows function as adjunct advocates and organizers. Work may include lobbying, research and report writing, contact with the media, coalition organizing, and running grassroots citizen outreach campaigns.
Everett Public Service Internship Program- Funds over 150 paid summer internships at progressive public service organizations in DC and NY. Each internship lasts ten weeks and provides $230 weekly for expenses.
Echoing Green Public Service Fellowship- During their first two years, Fellows receive up to $90,000, participate in leadership development gatherings, and will access the powerful network of Echoing Green Fellows, partners, and friends (students or alumni within 10 years of graduation) who are emerging social innovators. Fellowships are awarded to individuals with innovative ideas for creating new models for tackling seemingly unsolvable social challenges. Areas: Global Fellowship, Black Male Achievement, Climate Fellowship.
The White House Fellows Program- Seeks outstanding people with substantive public service background and advanced degree, to serve for one year as full-time paid assistants to senior White House staff. Deadline February 1.
Carnegie Endowment for International Peace- In Washington, D.C., a 12-month paid Junior Fellowship for graduating seniors. Substantive experience in foreign affairs. Must be nominated by your university. Contact National Scholarship Director if interested. Deadline in November.
The Herbert Scoville Jr. Peace Fellowship- Provides 4 - 6 month paid fellowships on arms control research and/or advocacy at one of 20+ organizations in Washington, DC. Supported by a salary, the fellows serve as full-time junior staff members at the participating organization of their choice. The program also arranges meetings for the fellows with policy experts. Many former Scoville Fellows have gone on to pursue graduate degrees in international relations and related fields and taken prominent positions in the field of peace and security with public-interest organizations, the Federal Government, academia, and media.
Teach for America- A national corps of recent BA/BS level graduates who commit two years to teach in under-resourced urban and rural public schools and earn entry-level teacher’s salary. Included a 5-week summer training program.
Inner City Teaching Corps- Places BA level grads as paid classroom teachers in Catholic schools in Chicago’s inner city. Corps members live in a faith-based community.
New York City Teacher Fellowship Program- Fellows pursue teacher education through a subsidized Master's degree program and are placed in teaching positions with New York City Schools.
Environmental Careers Organization (ECO)- Offers paid, short-term environmental positions nationwide for seniors, graduate students, and entry-level environmental job seekers.
Green Corps- Environmental Leadership Training Program- Training program in grass roots organizing for recent graduates. A paid, 13-month, full-time, field school for environmental organizing and activism. The program features classroom, fieldwork, and career placement components.
Student Conservation Association’s Resource Assistant Program- Provides room, board and travel allowance for 3-month environmental projects, primarily in national parks.
WWOOF- Willing Workers on Organic Farms- Connects volunteers with organic farmers both domestically and internationally. WWOOF has independent national level organizations. Volunteers learn organic farming techniques from organic farmers. By working and living with the host family, they also learn about life and culture in another country. In exchange for hospitality, meals and accommodations with host families, volunteers are expected to work at least six hours a day and six days per week.
National Association of Service and Conservation Corps - Serves as an advocate and central reference point, and provider of training and technical assistance, for youth service and conservation corps programs across the country. Select “The Corps” then “Corps Jobs”
WEBSITES THAT ADVERTISE POST-GRADUATION ALTERNATIVE OPPORTUNITIES
Backdoorjobs.com - Are you looking for opportunities to work, travel, play, learn, help, create, experience and grow in the U.S. or worldwide? Short-Term Job Adventures is simply about discovering life's options and finding your place in the world (and that's real exciting stuff). So come explore, dream, discover and do! Opportunities include U.S., worldwide, wilderness, environmental, sustainable living, teaching, and volunteer positions.
Center for Social Concerns (sponsored by the University of Notre Dame)- List links to post-graduation opportunities in the following categories: domestic, international, teaching, secular.
Foot Meet the Door- Short Term Opportunities for College Graduates- Features short-term, foot-in-the-door opportunities of a few months up to 2-3 years upon graduation with their bachelor degrees.
Global Services Corps- GSC has been a leader in the field of international volunteerism designing and implementing effective community development volunteer service-learning programs in Africa and Asia since 1993. GSC community training and development programs are offered year round, from two weeks to one year, in HIV/AIDS Education and Prevention, Sustainable Agriculture and Food Security, International Public Health, Cultural & Buddhist Immersion, Orphanage Care, and Teach English Abroad. Through the development of these community training programs, GSC has also attained NGO status and is a respected international development organization.
Global Volunteer Network- The Global Volunteer Network (GVN) offers volunteer service opportunities in community projects throughout the world. We currently provide volunteer programs through our partner organizations in 21 countries. The network continues to expand with new programs currently being researched and assessed.
Habitat for Humanity- Provides volunteer and full-time work positions like... Global Village Program: Help build decent, affordable housing around the world. U.S. Volunteer Program: Volunteer your skills at our international headquarters in Americus, Georgia. Gulf Recovery Effort: Join in continuing recovery efforts to help hurricane-affected families in Louisiana, Mississippi, Texas and Alabama. Women Build: Learn construction skills alongside other women in an unintimidating environment.International Volunteer Program: Spend 6 to 12 months volunteering in Habitat offices overseas. Habitat AmeriCorps/VISTA: Serve communities, earn stipends and educational awards through this residential service program.
Idealist.org (specifically for one-year opportunities)- One of the largest job posting boards focused on opportunities in the nonprofit world, including full-time, part-time, volunteer, internships, etc.
Projects Abroad- Projects Abroad is the leading volunteer abroad organization. We offer a diverse range of international service projects, plus the opportunity to become part of one of our volunteer communities abroad. Our continuous presence overseas and unparalleled in-country support from our international staff ensure that your experience will be far more worthwhile and genuine than those of the average tourist.
UMD National Scholarships Office- Aims to provide undergraduates with the best possible information, for guidance and support as they learn about and apply for national scholarships. We invite you to explore our website to learn more about national scholarship opportunities, and to contact us with any questions you may have. You can request an appointment or send us a question by email.
United Planet- As an international non-profit organization,United Planet(UP) strives to create a world in which all people understand, respect, and support one another. United Planet's global network of leaders and volunteers fosters cross-cultural understanding and addresses shared challenges to unite the world in a community beyond borders.