Elon Gap Semester

Elon Gap Semester - Frequently Asked Questions

Admission Questions

Who is eligible for the Elon Gap Semester Program?

Applicants must be high school graduates who plan to attend Elon. Students who apply for the Elon Gap Semester Program must meet the university's standards for freshman admission.

How do I apply?

Students can apply to the Elon Gap Semester Program through Early Decision (binding) or Final Deadline via the freshman application. All freshman applicants are required to write an essay. If you are applying to the Gap Semester Program you should write on the topic specific to the program.

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

What happens if I am not admitted?

  • Early Decision (binding) students not admitted to the program will automatically be considered for Early Decision to the university, with a decision released December 1. Students not admitted to the Gap Semester Program are eligible for the Fellows Programs, pending your Fellows application is received by the January 10 deadline.
  • Final Deadline students not admitted to the program will automatically be considered for Final Deadline to the university, with a decision released March 15. 

Program Questions

How much does it cost?

Program costs will be the same as Elon tuition, fees, room and board for fall semester. Students will also 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 academic requirements of the Fellows Programs.

Additional costs will be incurred for transportation, NOLS equipment and any personal expenditures.

Will Elon faculty and staff be involved with the Gap Semester Program?

Yes. Two Elon staff members will accompany students to NOLS orientation and then both will depart; NOLS staff will manage the duration of the expedition. After NOLS, The coordinator of gap programs and 1 faculty or staff member will accompany students throughout the service-learning projects. Elon staff will be in residence in Costa Rica.

I don't have a lot of experience in the outdoors.  Can I still participate?

If you are motivated and in good physical and emotional health, you can excel. NOLS students come from a wide variety of backgrounds. The desire to learn and participate is the most important factor for success on a NOLS course.

Do I need to know Spanish in order to participate in the Gap Semester Program?

While it is not necessary to know Spanish, you may find it helpful as you travel throughout Costa Rica. There are varying levels of Spanish classes that can be taken at the Centre, from beginner to advanced. There will be a questionnaire to complete so you can be matched with the best possible homestay family and feel the most comfortable during your stay there.

What will the group do for service projects?

The group will be performing service projects between Wyoming and Washington DC. The projects may be the same as the previous year’s Gap students, or they may be different. The service work will vary from site to site, depending on the organization we work with on that day. Some projects could include construction and/or home repair; food harvesting, preparation, cooking and/or serving; reforestation and/or other outreach projects.

Transitioning to Elon

When do I sign up for classes?

The coordinator of gap programs will also be your academic advisor in Costa Rica. Your schedule will be planned out taking into consideration any prior coursework or dual enrollment courses from high school. You will sign up for winter term and spring classes while in Costa Rica.

Where will I live on campus?

In Costa Rica, you will be asked to complete a housing questionnaire so you can be paired to the best possible roommate in the area you’d most prefer to live in. While not all housing options may be available, gap students will have priority over spring admitted and transfer students since Gap students arrive for winter term and will have completed a semester as an Elon student in the fall. 

How will I transition back to Elon's campus?

Gap students will have a transition to campus life through the following steps:

  1. Take advantage of the extended winter break to process the experience and use the tools learned throughout the gap semester program.
  2. During winter term, use your Elon 101 course to help with the transition to campus, to learn about all the resources available to you and where they are located, as well as to get to know the community around the university.
  3. Participate in your winter term course. This course meets three hours daily and students in the class get to know each other well. Taking the one course helps with the academic transition back to the classroom for the spring semester.
  4. Spend time with your roommate/suitemates/hall mates. They have had a semester to get to know the campus and will be great resources to help you adjust to campus life.
  5. Don't forget about each other! You just spent an amazing semester with 14 other students who are also new to campus and you know them pretty well, don't you?
  6. Previous Gap participants are also on campus and students have the option of participating in a mentoring program to talk with students that have already gone through this transition to campus through winter term and spring semester.
  7. Get ready for other students studying abroad to come back to campus. Winter term is a time when many students elect to study abroad, so campus isn't quite as busy as the spring semester. Enjoy the month with fewer students around.

I have additional questions about the Elon Gap Semester Program. Who should I contact?

For questions about admission to the program, contact admissions@elon.edu. For questions about the program schedule and content, contact Steve Morrison, coordinator of Gap Programs.