“When our daughter began her senior year in high school, my husband and I began learning about Gap Year programs, and the many benefits of a bridge year between high school and college. Our primary requirements for a program were that it was reputable and safe (as much as possible), and also that it would be a worthwhile and positive experience. We quickly discovered that the available programs are numerous and growing, and that it would take an overwhelming amount of time to research all of the available options. Time and experience were two things we did not have.

We discovered Katherine through a mutual friend, and learned that she was in the midst of a Gap Year with her second child, and had been through an exhaustive research process in selecting her son’s program. When my husband, our daughter and I first met with Katherine, we were impressed by her knowledge of the field, but even more struck by Katherine’s connection with our daughter and interest in her life — past, present, and future. After our initial consultation, Katherine met with our daughter again to learn more about her interests, strengths, goals, and anxieties. I was surprised how open our daughter was with Katherine; she clearly felt comfortable enough to be completely honest.

Katherine provided us with a brief list of options. From over hundreds to choose from, we were given five recommendations. This short list was exactly what I was looking for — five reputable programs that we could read about and discuss with our daughter.

When we three met again with Katherine to discuss our preferences and likely selection, we were pleasantly surprised to learn that her services covered not just the travel portion of our daughter’s gap year, but the entire academic year between high school and college. Katherine explained how important it was for our daughter to be busy when not traveling, and that the best way to accomplish this was with a job and/or other scheduled activities. She queried our daughter on past work experiences or interests, and helped brainstorm employment opportunities in our area. In addition, she helped our daughter understand the importance of writing her first resume, contacting potential employers, keeping a schedule and, ideally, also a journal for her time at home and abroad. In essence, Katherine was the perfect parent who was also nice and cool enough to be admired by our 18-year-old.

Our daughter is now three months into her gap year. She’s working as a barista, part time, and attending a weekly class at Harvard Extension School. This Fall “term” has been more pleasant than any of us imagined, our daughter included. I think the reason is entirely due to the fact that we have not had to manage her. Our daughter has had the benefit of getting to know a fun “gap year expert”, who has a wealth of information and good ideas pertaining to her exact stage of life. She considers Katherine a gift, and so do we.”