September 14, 2020
December 11, 2020
Space is limited for Fall 2020
Registration deadline: July 31, 2020
All activities are directed and facilitated by Katherine Stievater, Professional Member of IECA, and member of Advisory Board and Standards & Accreditation Committee of national Gap Year Association. Katherine founded Gap Year Solutions to help students transition successfully to college by participating in Real World Learning outside the traditional classroom.
New for fall 2020, a virtual Gap Year experience in response to the uncertainty created by COVID-19. These activities combine social connection, mentorship, learning, structure and fun. Click here for flyer.
ImagineU students should expect to dedicate 12-15 hours each week to activities from this list (not including the self-guided activities).
Online Skill-Building Workshops
A unique aspect of ImagineU is the variety of learning opportunities created specifically with these students in mind. The skill-building workshops are taught by experts in their field who tailor their delivery to the interests and brains of teens. The goal is for students to focus on some areas of personal and professional development.
- Possible topics include public speaking and effective presentation skills, personal finance, good decision making, professional etiquette, stress management and wellness, and finding your personal purpose.
- Workshops vary from 1-3 hours over one or multiple sessions
Online Guest Speaker Series
The goal of the speaker series is to engage students with inspiring talks on interesting topics with interesting people. Some may provide students with career ideas, but mostly these are intended to be fun and engaging.
- One-hour presentations each week during Fall semester (total of 10)
- Speakers may include an architect talking about “why”, a leading infectious disease doctor talking about pandemic preparedness and a local “green” expert talking about sustainability
Students will complete an interest form and be matched with openings sourced by Gap Year Solutions. These are a great opportunity for students to learn more about an industry, job types and certain activities. Students will receive feedback from their work, which will help sharpen their professional skills and expose them to the expectations of employers, and have experience to add to their resume.
- Projects are with small businesses, entrepreneurs and startups. Examples: home furnishings retailer, social media agency, and healthcare consulting
- Types of activities include social media, research, databases, analysis, modeling, photography, blogging, customer service and other special projects
- Sponsor will provide a professional recommendation for student after internship, assuming satisfactory performance
- 5-10 hours / week
During the last week of ImagineU, students will make presentations in our Zoom room on a topic of their choosing to the rest of the group. The goal of this project is for the student to practice presentation skills and have a tangible deliverable – something to have accomplished and be proud of at the end of the semester.
- Topics can be a skill, something the student focused on learning in the Fall, another activity from the Fall, or anything of interest
- Presentation format can include powerpoint, music, dramatic reading, video, interview, slide show, explanation of physical object, and so on
- Opportunity for students to “play with” and learn multimedia and video editing
- Students will receive coaching and presentation tips during weekly 1:1 mentoring sessions
Weekly Gap Chat
ImagineU students will participate in weekly Zoom sessions that give them an opportunity to share experiences, learnings, ideas, college tips and anything else on their minds. The purpose of this time is to create strong social connection while the U.S. is likely still in the midst of some level of physical distancing, and build social cohesion among the cohort of ImagineU students. Katherine inaugurated these sessions with great success with her Spring 2020 students who returned home quickly and unexpectedly from their activities due to COVID-19.
- One-hour sessions moderated by Katherine
- Safe and easy place for students to share
Mentoring is an important part of any Gap Year. Katherine serves as each student’s guide during this time, and meets weekly with each student to check in and ensure that they are staying on track. (This is a great way for teens to benefit from some adult guidance that isn’t coming from their parents!)
- Check in on student’s overall progress and how they’re doing with the rest of the group and the online format
- Review activity from the prior week and plan for the current week
- Suggest adjustments to Gap Year plan as appropriate and work on Spring 2021 plan (for Gap Year Plan clients)
Self-Guided: Mind & Body Activities
One of the most important things that students need to do during the COVID-19 pandemic is focus on their physical and mental health. ImagineU will check in with students to ensure they are incorporating activities to focus on this during the Fall. In areas with a 2nd wave of COVID, gyms may still be closed. ImagineU will suggest activities that do not require person-person contact.
- Live streaming yoga, barre and other exercise sessions
- Meditation apps and other recommendations
- Reflective journaling
- Other online opportunities for physical and mental health
Other Self-Guided Online Activities
In addition to physical and mental health, there are a number of other online activities that support a student’s Gap Year interests and goals. There are hundreds if not thousands of options for online learning to take the place of classroom instruction and some which offer enhanced virtual experiences. ImagineU offers vetted lists of these activities which students will select to “fill out” their weekly schedules. Some of these may have additional costs which families will pay separate from ImagineU (e.g., online language and university extension courses).
- Online language courses
- Online university courses
- Videos teaching different life skills, e.g., cooking, personal finance, international travel tips
- Personality and personal skills inventory
- Virtual cultural immersion (museums, cities, historical sites etc.)
Being able to connect with other gap year students virtually definitely opened my eyes to so many parts of the world through stories and connections…my gap year definitely prepared and helped me navigate the world, and especially during a hard time like this.
Zach Herman, Gap Year Solutions student, Spring 2020