Undergraduate Admission
Rice: Unconventional Wisdom

Requesting a Gap Year

At Rice, we understand the value of a gap year and support students seeking a formative, meaningful experience outside the classroom before beginning their college education. Gap year activities come in many forms including extended travel abroad, research and internships, community service, or working to earn money. Successful gap year proposals demonstrate clear intent with goals and a plan that will make the candidate a better student when they arrive on campus. Whether the gap year takes the form of a single year-long pursuit or participation in multiple opportunities over the course of a year, the experience should be a time for personal enrichment.

Admitted freshmen who wish to request a gap year should submit a detailed plan in writing describing exactly how they will spend their year away and confirming their understanding that they do not intend to enroll or apply to any other college or university during their gap year. Gap year requests must be submitted electronically. Use your Rice Admission Student Portal login to access this form.

If your plan is approved, you will be required to submit a non-refundable $300 enrollment deposit, and if housing is desired, a $100 housing deposit to reserve your space in the class of 2022. In addition, you must confirm in writing that you have withdrawn all active applications at the schools to which you were admitted or wait listed this year.

Admitted transfer students are not eligible for gap year consideration.

Olivia Ragni

Major: Ecology & Evolutionary Biology

Why did I choose to take a gap year?

I have always been passionate about travel, so when the chance came to intern and volunteer in foreign countries, I jumped at the opportunity. I spent two months shadowing doctors and volunteering with the health education department at hospitals in India, attended a Spanish language school f or one month in Guatemala, and volunteered at an elephant camp in addition to shadowing doctors during one month in Thailand.

Since I traveled alone, I gained independence by having to make important decisions as well as cultural awareness by experiencing life like the locals. When I entered Rice as a freshman, I had an invigorated zeal for learning in a classroom setting, and I also felt more mature.

My advice to anyone to consider taking a gap year is to venture out of your comfort zone and go see the world!

Major: Mathematical Economic Analysis

Why did I choose to take a gap year?

I chose to take a gap year to build on my leadership skills. When I graduated high school I had been working at Chick-fil-A for 8 months. At that time, my managers offered to promote me to “Team Leader”. I used the gap year to accept the promotion and learn about leadership in the workplace. In addition, I spent time volunteering in my church and coaching baseball in my community.

Major: Civil and Environmental Engineering

Why did I choose to take a gap year?

My heritage was one of the primary reasons for requesting a gap year. Because of my family ties to Bangladesh, I have seen firsthand the volatile political and environmental climate, and have dedicated myself to helping developing countries. I spent the year volunteering as a science teacher at the LAMB Project School in Dinajpur, Bangladesh. The LAMB Project has worked to provide healthcare and education to the rural north of the country - one of the poorest areas. My time with the LAMB Project furthered my understanding of the developing world and helped shape my views on how my intended major can help provide resources to those in need.

Major: Mechanical Engineering

Why did I choose to take a gap year?

One of my longtime goals was to through-hike the Appalachian Trail. I took a gap year to realize my dream of making the six-month long hike. The hike started in Georgia in early February and finished in Maine in early August. Before taking on the Appalachian Trail, I prepared by going on a series of three-week hikes in the John Muir National Park, the Ouachita Trail and the Long Trail. The gap year hiking and connecting with nature helped me gain valuable perspective before college.

Major: History

Why did I choose to take a gap year?

I took a gap year to participate in Global Citizen Year, where I was able to work in an international development apprenticeship in Ecuador. I felt that this opportunity was an extremely valuable and beneficial experience, especially in shaping my educational goals at Rice. It was an opportunity for me to practice and improve on my Spanish and engage in local service work, but also to learn not just about Ecuador and its history and culture, but how the United States appears to them from a Latin American perspective.

Major: Linguistics

Why did I choose to take a gap year?

I sought the opportunity to be an Au Pair in Spain the summer after graduation. During that time, I took care of four children while the parents were working or had the night off, taught the family English, and learned Spanish little by little. I was fully accepted as a member of the family: we ate every meal together, went hiking and canoeing, and went on trips together. The more time I spent there, the more I loved the culture, environment, and language — and the more I wanted to fully experience it. I requested a gap year to continue my time in Spain because engaging in another culture and being bilingual are priceless aspects of life that I did not want to miss.