July 29, 2020

PORTSMOUTH – Take your gap year at Great Bay.

That’s the advice of Steve Gorman, Director of Admissions at Great Bay Community College. Because of the pandemic and uncertainty surrounding campus life and remote learning in the fall at colleges and universities nationwide, more students than ever are considering deferring college by taking a gap year.

A better idea is for students to fill at least some of that gap year by taking general education courses at Great Bay and transferring those credits to a four-year school later.

“Your gap year could be at Great Bay getting some coursework done, saving money and making progress on your college goals,” Gorman said. “People think of a gap year as backpacking through Europe or getting a job and working for a year. You can do all the fun stuff and still go to college and earn college credits, whether it’s full time or part time.”

European students popularized the gap-year concept by enriching their lives through travel or volunteerism, and the gap year concept is growing more popular in the United States – especially this year when campus plans remain unsettled and financial concerns are causing many families to reconsider their commitment to the annual cost of a four-year education.

The Gap Year Association estimates that about 40,000 students took a gap year before the pandemic. This year, as many as 750,000 students are considering the gap-year option, according to some estimates. The Gap Year Association says traffic to its website has been up by 80 percent to 300 percent daily since the lockdown began in the United States in March.

“Those new high school graduates are looking at their options and saying, ‘I’m not sure I want to pay $30,000 or more to be sequestered on campus taking courses remotely. Am I really going to pay all that money when I can go to Great Bay and transfer all those credits in later?’ “These folks can be a great fit at Great Bay” said Gorman.

Great Bay is hosting a Virtual Open House from 4:30 to 6 p.m. on Aug. 6 to share information with students and families about classes and courses of study, transfer options, costs, and the possibilities of a Great Bay gap-year experience. Students can explore academic programs and meet with faculty and staff.

Deanna Friedman, Associate Vice President of Academic Affairs says Great Bay’s Advising and Transfer Center is poised to help these students. “With five Academic Advisors, all with Master’s degrees and over 90 years of collective experience, we know how to help students select courses that will transfer. This is a complex area but one which we have had a great deal of experience. We help students stay on track for their degree.”

Across the country, college opening plans are all over the board. Some colleges are teaching classes remotely, and some are providing on-campus experience for some students, but not all. Gorman’s advice: Have fun close to home and get your general education credits out of the way and transfer them in 2021 or 2022.

Gorman also hopes to reach rising college sophomores who are rethinking their return to campus because they don’t know how the year will play out. “What they do know is that it won’t be the same experience, but they are charging the same amount of tuition,” Gorman said. “We’re interested in helping them, too.”

Friedman says they are ready for this population as well. “Many times students will take a break from their home college for various reasons. We have worked with countless students from a multitude of colleges over the years on making sure what they take at Great Bay will actually transfer back to their home institution. This year due to the pandemic, we are ready to help a lot more of them.”