Application Instructions

The 2021 Duke Gap Year Application is now available. 

Important COVID-19 Update

2021-2022 Funding Update: Due to the continuing impact of the COVID-19 pandemic, we regret the Duke Gap Year Program will not be able to distribute funding awards this summer. If current Duke University restrictions are lifted by September 1, 2021, we hope to provide funding for meaningful fall experiences. If not, and restrictions are lifted by Spring 2022, we hope to be able to provide funding at that point. We encourage you to consider this as you plan and budget for your gap year.

Students admitted to Duke University as first year undergraduates can access the 2021 Duke Gap Year Program application. You will be able to save your application to return to later, but be sure to read the following information closely before starting. You should email with any questions.


The deadline to apply is May 31, 2021. Applications will be reviewed on a rolling basis; students who are not ready to commit to a gap year are encouraged to submit their applications early and we will endeavor to respond prior to the final deferral deadline.

All students who wish defer their enrollment, whether through the DGYP or independently, must confirm that decision by May 31, 2021.

Applicants are asked to outline their gap year plans, taking into consideration:

  • Volunteering opportunities
  • Travel and cultural experiences
  • Unpaid internships
  • Experiential learning opportunities

As you plan your gap year, we encourage your to consider opportunities that promote civic engagement, personal development and global awareness.

While we understand that plans may not be finalized, we ask that applicants provide as much information as possible, including timeline, locations, costs, and goals of the experience. Your application should, to the best of your ability, cover the period of time from July 2021 to July 2022.

We recommend looking at “Gap Year Resources” for guidance on how to being planning your gap year. Please know this is a selective process. Applicants may be contact by the DGYP to provide further information, but are encouraged to include as much detail as possible in their application. You should also review the DGYP Terms and Conditions before applying.


Apply Here



Program Expectations:

Students must commit to enrolling at Duke in order to accept their place in the Duke Gap Year Program and receive any funding awarded.

Members of the Duke Gap Year Program will be expected to maintain regular contact with the Duke University Undergraduate Admissions Office, through monthly blog and social media posts, attending webinars, as well as a mid-year and end of year reflection.

Members of the cohort receiving funding may also be asked to provide receipts from their programs, travel and activities, confirming their expenses.

When the DGYP students arrive on campus for their first year, they will be expected to attend a “re-entry” session during orientation. They will also be expected to serve as mentors to future cohorts of gap year students, providing advice, speaking about their gap year experience, and helping at admitted student events.



Important COVID-19 Update

Due to the continuing impact of the COVID-19 pandemic, we regret the Duke Gap Year Program will not be able to distribute funding awards this fall. If current Duke University restrictions on travel are lifted by January 2021 we hope to be able to provide funding for meaningful Spring and Summer 2021 experiences. We encourage you to consider this as you plan and budget for your gap year.

While Duke Gap Year Program participants do not need to request funding to join the program, an award of up to $15,000 may be available to help support plans for those who apply. Funding is limited, but we hope to make gap years more accessible to those who, financially, may not have been able to consider this opportunity previously.

An applicant’s plans for their gap year, as well as their overall financial need, will be considered during the selection and funding award process. We want to be as flexible as possible in allowing students to explore their interests in creative and personalized ways, but there are also some restrictions on how the funding may be used. While the following may comprise a part of your gap year, funding awarded from Duke may not contribute toward:

  • Mandatory military or religious service
  • Paid work
  • Personal business initiatives or start-ups
  • Medical deferrals

Funding is distributed via direct deposit or by check. Awards will not be considered in the student’s financial aid package; however, they will be considered reportable income for that tax year.

Some students who do not receive or do not request funding may still be admitted into the cohort and participate in other components of the Duke Gap Year Program, depending on the nature of their proposed gap year activities. Students interested in deferring their enrollment outside of the Duke Gap Year Program, may do so through their Student Portal.

Important Things to Consider:
  • Applying for the Duke Gap Year Program does not commit you to taking a gap year. You will not be asked to confirm your gap year until you’ve received the outcome of your application.
  • This application is only for joining the Duke Gap Year Program. Students are responsible for their finding and confirming their gap year opportunities through established program, internships, volunteering organizations, etc.


Applicants to the Duke Gap Year Program will be asked to agree to the following Terms and Conditions:
  • You agree not to apply for admission as a degree-seeking student to any other college or university during the remainder of this year or during the coming year.
  • You may not enroll at another college or university as a degree-seeking or part-time student during your gap year with the expectation of:
    • Receiving Duke credit for those courses
    • Repeating those courses at Duke for credit
  • You may not enroll in a post-graduate program at a secondary school.
  • You continue to abide by both the Conditions of Application and the conditions mentioned in your letter of admission: We expect you to maintain high standards of academic performance and personal behavior in and out of school, which includes abiding by our COMMUNITY STANDARD. If there is any change in the information in your application—including any academic, personal, disciplinary, or legal matters—you must contact the admissions office within 48 hours.
  • You agree to provide blog and social media posts during their gap year.
  • You agree to participate in surveys to contribute to studies conducted by the GAP YEAR RESEARCH CONSORTIUM.
  • Once enrolled at Duke, you will serve as a mentor to the next cohort of students and participate in on-campus events and programming.

Any questions can be directed to