answer to all your questions about gap year
Cru is an International Christian Ministry which has a presence in 191 countries and over 25,000 staff worldwide. The high school ministry of Cru helps students apply their faith to every-day life.
A Cru Gap Year offers unique opportunities for students to be developed personally , professionally, and spiritually. Students will spend a month at Cru international headquarters in Orlando, Florida where they will participate in a strategic personal development program that includes personality assessments, relationship building and mentoring. They will also receive training in ministry from local Cru high school staff, Jesus Film and other ministries within Cru. They will have opportunities in local schools and in the community to apply what they learn. After their time in Orlando, students will depart for other countries where they will start ministry in local schools or work alongside our national staff in established high school ministries. They will end their Gap Year with a debrief time back in Orlando to process their experience.
Many students today lack the maturity and motivation to maximize their college years. As a result, over 75% change their college major multiple times and amass paralyzing debt as they delay their graduation searching for the right fit. Students often lack a clear sense of their place in the world and what they can contribute. They struggle with self-awareness and transition into adulthood. A Gap Year provides the opportunity to develop maturity, discern God’s direction and prepare for a successful college experience.
Gap Years have been proven to have a positive impact on academic performance in college. Research shows that students who participate in a Gap Year often perform better in college, have a better sense of direction in life, and have higher employability than those who go directly to a university after high school. For statistics on the benefits of Gap Year Programs visit: www.americangap.org/data-benefits.php
While many parents worry that their child will not attend college if they take a break, research shows that 90% of students who participate in a Gap Year return to attend college with a renewed sense of purpose, motivation and maturity. Cru highly encourages students to use their Gap Year experience as a means of gaining wisdom and maturity that will direct their college and career decisions. We will provide mentoring and real world experience that will propel students toward making thoughtful decisions about their future. Many colleges encourage Gap Years and see them as a positive experience that prepares participants to be better students, employees and community members.
Many Gap Year students apply for college during their senior year of high school and upon their acceptance choose to defer their enrollment for a year. This method can be beneficial for several reasons:
Students have the support of school counselors to help them with the process
By the time students leave for a Gap Year they have a plan in place for their return
Students are able to navigate the process while they are in the US with the help of their families
If students wait to apply during the Gap Year we highly encourage them to complete the common application with essay, gather references from teachers and prepare transcripts before the Fall.
Eight states have lottery scholarship programs that provide tuition scholarships to students who qualify. All but two allow students to defer their enrollment by at least 16 months. Several states and cities offer free tuition for community college. Each program is different, but some require immediate enrollment. Check with the program you are considering to find out their requirements. Merit based scholarships can often be deferred but you will need to check to find out the specific guidelines. Financial Aid offers need to be applied for each year. We recommend that parents fill out the FAFSA as soon as it is available on October 1st.
Gap Year students will join a team of other students and adults leaders who serve Cru high school movements in host countries. They will have opportunities to speak to groups of students about their faith in Christ and participate in activities where they can intentionally build relationships with young nationals with the hope of personally sharing the Gospel. Each ministry setting is different, but Gap Year may include:
Gap Year teams are led by experienced adult leaders. Each team of 5-8 students will have staff leading them during their time in Orlando and overseas. They will be working along side Cru staff and ministry partners in the host countries who will be able to help them adapt and navigate the new environment and maximize their international experience.
We do live in a complex world, Gap Year does not include what we consider unnecessary risks, either in locations visited or activities implemented. We are in touch with the U.S. State Department on all of our missions and are alerted to changes in safety and security while overseas. We work to make sure all our missions are as safe as possible. Our Gap Year leaders are experienced in international ministry and trained in crisis management. A crisis manager is on call at all times and contingency plans are in place. Emergency evacuation and supplemental health coverage are included in the cost of the Gap Year Program.
Depending on your location, your team will live in a college dorm, guest house, regular hotel, or youth hostel. Typically, public transportation is used to get around the cities. Vehicles may be rented by staff to get around for some in-country travel. Security in housing and safety in travel are important considerations as we choose our locations in a country. We work closely with local in country staff to determine the best housing and travel accommodations.
There is usually limited internet services available in most international locations. Phone cards enable you to communicate from some countries. Your Gap Year leaders will inform you of the best options for your country. Team leaders will also be communicating back to the states that the team has arrived safely to their locations. While being able to communicate is important, we would like our students to be fully present while they are in county and not consumed with what’s going on back home.
The application process is entirely online. As a parent/guardian you must complete a signed consent form as part of your student’s application if they are under 18. The complete application includes: Basic Information, Passport Information, Personal Calling, Ministry Experience, Values & Practices, Medical Information and References. Students will need four references, a parent/guardian, a peer, Cru staff/spiritual leader or mentor and a teacher, coach or employer. After the students application is processed we will set up a phone interview to discuss the application and answer any questions your student might have.
After completing the application, receiving all four references and paying the $25 application fee, your student should hear from us within a couple of weeks to set up a phone interview.
What happens after my student is accepted on a Gap Year – When your student is accepted to the Gap Year Mission we will send them a “Go Pac”. This includes an acceptance letter and a Gap Year guidebook. The Go Pac will include lots of important information including ministry preparation and various fund raising ideas. Please have your student read through the guidebook very carefully.
The prices of Gap Year Programs vary. The Cru Gap Year program is comparably priced to similar programs. Students are trained and encouraged to raise the funds necessary to cover the entire cost. All donations are tax deductible. The return on this investment is immense. The personal development, career direction, life skills and international experience enhance both college application and career opportunities. Plus the dependency on the Lord and the faith journey are immeasurable.
The Gap Year budgets will depend on the locations and ministry sites for each team. We anticipate the cost to range from $16,000 – $19,000.
Most of the student’s financial support will come from individuals they ask to be a part of their prayer and support team. We call them “Ministry Partners”. The Go Pac has detailed information on Ministry Partner Development. It covers things like, God’s promises, name storming, sample letters, and other ideas as well as frequently asked questions about fund raising. The Go Pac will be a great resource for students as they prepare for this mission.
Investing finances in a student participating in a Gap Year can be one of the wisest and fulfilling investments that people can make. It will provide great returns spiritually for all eternity. Not only will the student participating be forever changed, but also hundreds of lives can be affected as the Gospel is shared. Ministry Partners can truly make an eternal difference by helping to send those able to go and personally share Christ all over the world.
The Gap Year cost includes all lodging and in country ministry transportation, international airfare, 3 meals a day, cost of briefing and debrief, training and ministry materials, visa processing fees, and emergency evacuation insurance.
The Gap Year cost does not include domestic flights to and from Orlando, extra meals students may want, passport fees, tourism, ministry partner development materials, money for laundry and souvenirs, immunizations, and expenses that occur for early return back to the states.
Most locations have adequate, if not good, medical facilities. If an emergency or a serious issue arises, students will leave the country to get treatment in the best place possible. If it is an extreme emergency they will be airlifted out by our emergency evacuation service (a company called SOS).
If there should be political unrest in the country of choice, the gap year may be reassigned to another destination. Great care is taken to evaluate potential risks, and to provide the greatest protection possible for our team members. If students choose to withdraw from the team due to unrest, funds already donated can be redirected to another student participating in a Gap Year, or your student may choose to go on another Cru mission in the same year.
Our risk management team carefully evaluates each location’s safety using several factors and informational sources: U.S. State Department, U.S. Health Department, Travel Bulletins, and advice from Cru National Leadership.
Past participants in Cru missions have experienced tremendous spiritual and personal growth. Many have taken great steps of faith and seen lasting changes in their relationships and in their life choices. Many gain a deeper concern for others, develop team-building skills, learn greater flexibility, and gain self confidence. These personal benefits occur as God works through the team to bring the Gospel to many who have never heard. The lives of those in other countries will be changed forever and many lasting friendships between students are formed.
“Lord, thank you that you are a God who provides for all of my needs. As I follow You into this Gap Year Adventure, I want to trust you to raise up a team of people who will pray for me faithfully and give generously. Thank you that you already know where my support will come from. I want to be faithful to ask others and trust You to provide! I am willing to follow You wherever you want me to go so that more students around the world can know You personally. Amen.”
I am following God’s call to go to the world (Matthew 28:16-20)
I serve a God whose resources are infinite and who can abundantly provide (Ephesians 3:20)
God calls all of us to give generously so it is okay to ask others to support me (2 Corinthians 8:1-5)
God has promised to meet all my needs and it is a part of His character to provide for me (Philippians 4:19, Genesis 22:14)
I am inviting people to be partners in ministry with me and those who pray and give will be blessed. They are laying up treasures in heaven and they are involved in the fulfillment of the Great Commission because of their giving (Acts 20:35, Matthew 6:19-20)
God has called me and He will equip me. He will not only provide for me financially, but through raising support He is building my faith. (Hebrews 13:21, 2 Corinthians 9:8)