Leadership: Wyoming

The 14-week Gap Experience begins with three and a half weeks at the National Outdoor Leadership School in Lander, Wyoming. Students explore the wilderness while camping, refining leadership skills, and examining environmental ethics.


Leadership: Wyoming

Gap students earn four credit hours: two credits in Natural Resrouces Learning and two credits in Wilderness Studies during their National Outdoor Leadership School expedition. Credits for NOLS will be granted through the University of Utah.


Service-Learning: South Dakota

The Gap Experience continues with four weeks of service-learning at locations across the country. Begin by traveling to Eagle Butte, South Dakota to learn about the Oglala Lakota tribe and serve on the Cheyenne River Reservation.


Service-Learning: Missouri

The second week of the service-learning experience takes students to Gateway Greening in St. Louis, Missouri where they focus on increasing access to fresh food for inner city neighborhoods.


Service-Learning: West Virginia

For the third week of the service-learning, we’ll travel to Mullens, West Virginia in the Appalachian Mountains. Here we’ll serve with the Rural Appalachian Improvement League, an organization dedicated to enacting positive social change for community members in the Southern West Virginia coalfields.


Service-Learning: North Carolina

The fourth week of service-learning brings students back to Alamance County, North Carolina where they’ll be able to connect what they’ve learned in South Dakota, Missouri, and West Virginia with social justice issues in the greater Elon community.


International: Spain

The Gap Experience concludes with six weeks in Spain. Students live with a local family while studying in Alicante. 


International: Spain

Students will earn four credit hours toward their Core Curriculum Requirements in Spain, two in Spanish Language and two in Spanish Culture and Society. All levels of Spanish language will be offered. 


Elon Gap Semester

Elon Gap Experience

Bridge Your High School and College Experiences

Who says you have to jump straight from high school graduation to first semester freshman year? Maybe you want more time for personal growth, challenge and enrichment. Imagine discovering more about yourself hiking under the big sky. Or learning firsthand what you can do to help improve a community. Maybe an international experience would challenge you to reexamine your role as a global citizen.

You’ll do all this and more in Elon’s three-pronged Gap Experience, a special 13-week fall term experience designed for students who wish to begin their Elon education through a different perspective while still earning 9 hours of academic credit.

Students will have an initial on-campus orientation to the Gap Experience and then return to Elon for the January Winter Term and spring semester.

Three Settings. One Incredible Learning Experience.


Begin your Gap Experience in Wyoming with a three and a half week experience offered exclusively to Elon by the National Outdoor Leadership School (NOLS). Experience the wilderness while you learn outdoor skills, leadership and environmental ethics.


This second leg of your journey encompasses four-weeks of service-learning experiences that will take you across the country to examine poverty, hunger, the environment and other issues critical to the welfare of every community. You may work to weatherize homes, harvest an organic farm, or prepare meals for those in need, while learning more about the cultures and traditions of different populations in order to understand the critical nature of responsible citizenship and service.


The Elon Gap Experience concludes with a six-week experience based in Alicante, Spain. You will live with local families, study Spanish Language, the culture of Spain, and have opportunities to travel within this magnificent country.

How Can I Apply?

Students should apply to the Gap Experience via the freshman application. Applicants may apply Early Decision (binding) or Final Deadline. 

  • Early Decision (binding) applications are due by November 1 with decisions released on December 1. Admitted students will be required to submit a $500 nonrefundable enrollment deposit no later than January 10. Space in the Gap Experience is limited. You should only apply as an Early Decision applicant if you plan to attend Elon. If not selected for the Gap Experience, students will be considered for Early Decision admission to the university for the traditional campus-based fall semester.
  • Final Deadline applications are due by January 10 with decisions released around March 15. Admitted students have until May 1 to submit their $500 enrollment deposit. If not selected for the Gap Experience, students will be considered for Final Deadline admission to the university for the traditional campus-based fall semester.


Who is Eligible?

The Gap Experience is only for freshman applicants who plan to attend Elon and who meet the university’s standard for freshman admission.

The Elon Gap Experience is designed for the student who would benefit from a highly experiential program and would enjoy participating in a program that's alternative to the traditional on-campus college experience.

The program is NOT for the student who has a history of discipline problems, academic or social suspension from high school, or other personal circumstances that might be challenging to the the individual or group dynamic.

How Much Does It Cost?

Program costs are the same as Elon tuition, fees, room and board for fall semester. Students will be considered enrolled at the university and eligible for any financial aid for which they qualify. Students will automatically be considered for the Presidential Scholarship or the Elon Engagement Scholarship; however, Gap students may not be Fellows due to the fall semester requirements of the Fellows Programs.