4 Benefits of an Affordable Christian Gap Year Program

Picture this all too common scenario: It’s senior year of high school and just as you are finishing up what has been the most rigorous academic and social challenge of your life, you are bombarded by the question, “What are your plans for next year?” At age 17, we are unsure of the answer to this question, but we feel the pressure to provide a response. The unknown feels too vulnerable to share with others and oftentimes people assume the only correct answer for the next stop in life is to attend college. However, more questions arise when we consider going to college, such as "What will be your major?" and "What career are you interested in pursuing?" The response to these questions is nearly impossible to answer because, as adolescents, it is difficult for us to know our true God-given purpose yet. Therefore, if we are unsure of where God has called us to next, then maybe college right after high school is not the wisest option. Another avenue to consider is to take a gap year.

A gap year is often completed between high school and college to provide students the space to explore their next steps in life. It allows individuals an opportunity to learn more about themselves and God’s unique calling for their life before rushing to another academic institution. Specifically, the Cultivate Leadership Institute (CLI) gap year serves as a launching point for individuals as they determine their next steps in their educational and developmental journey. Four benefits that come from attending the CLI gap year are saving money, discovering your God-given purpose, establishing effective communication skills and developing healthy life rhythms.

Financial Benefits

Cultivate Leadership Institute (CLI) offers an affordable Gap Year Track for individuals. Student loan debt is on the rise in our society and colleges require tuition early in the semester, even if you do not complete all of your classes. Currently, the average student loan debt for an undergraduate degree is $29,400, which is about $7350 a year (Luthi et al., 2024). CLI allows you to pay as you take classes month-to-month, which helps reduce the risk of debt. The price ranges from $250-$450 a month for a personalized developmental learning experience that will equip you in discerning your next steps before spending a large sum of money on college tuition.

Discover Your Purpose

Unfortunately, many people who attend college before they know their purpose struggle to choose a college major and many drop out of college because of their uncertainty. There is a rising number of individuals who go to college and drop out within the first year. The drop out rate within the first 12 months of college is 24.1% and up to 40% of undergraduate students drop out before completing their degree (Hanson, 2023). Through CLI, individuals will complete several courses designed to help them learn more about themselves and who God made them to be. CLI leads people to discover more about their personality and natural skills God gifted them with, as well as recognize the important lesson that their value is based in who they are in God and not what they produce. This knowledge is foundational when deciding on a career path. Individuals who take a gap year will attend college knowing more about themselves and understand God’s purpose for their life, which in turn can reduce the college dropout rate.

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Effective Communication

Research has shown that people who take a gap year report a 96% increase in self-confidence and a 93% increase in communication skills (Data & Benefits – Gap Year Association, 2023). CLI offers specific courses on how to have crucial conversations and enhance communication skills with others. As individuals complete their gap year with CLI they will feel more confident in expressing their thoughts, which will be beneficial in college, relationships and their careers.

Healthy Rhythms

A gap year with CLI will allow individuals to spend intentional time developing healthy life and spiritual rhythms. Many students do not learn how to rest or take space for themselves in high school and then continue this pattern in college. During CLI, individuals will engage in experiences, such as a spiritual retreat, to practice healthy rhythms like silence and solitude. They will learn different ways to connect with God and care for their soul through assessments, assignments and discussions. Individuals starting these healthy habits before their career or college experience will then be able to implement these on a consistent level later in life.

An individual who takes a gap year has been shown to attend college 90% of the time (Shellenbarger, 2010). However, when these students attend college they have an increase in academic motivation, improved communication skills and more self-confidence. These benefits of engaging in an affordable Christian gap year through CLI will have long-lasting effects for the individuals and their community.


Data & Benefits – Gap Year Association. (2023). Gap Year Association. Retrieved March 29, 2024, from https://www.gapyearassociation.org/data-benefits/

Hanson, M. (2023, October 29). College Dropout Rate [2023]: by Year + Demographics. Education Data Initiative. Retrieved March 29, 2024, from https://educationdata.org/college-dropout-rates

Luthi, B., Pentis, A., & Lowery, K. (2024, January 23). Average student loan debt: A breakdown. CNN. Retrieved March 29, 2024, from https://www.cnn.com/cnn-underscored/money/average-student-loan-debt

Shellenbarger, S. (2010, December 29). More Students Taking 'Gap Year' Before College. The Wall Street Journal. Retrieved March 29, 2024, from https://www.wsj.com/articles/SB10001424052970203513204576047723922275698