Skip to main content

Gap Year & Graduate School

Planning a successful gap year should be done with purpose and intent - it doesn't have to be overly structured but does need to be done with careful thought. We encourage STARTING with more structure and working into more independent activities. It is essential to learn basic risk management, cross-cultural, and other life-safety skills before going out independently. For a list of common gap year programs and organizations, visit the Gap Year Programs page.

Most gap year activities fall under one of these four categories. Where do you fit?

  • Career Exploration to understand what your interests/ intended major looks like in the real world.
  • Service/Volunteering - to emphasize empathy & independence of us all.
  • Paid Work -   for increased ownership of your gap year & financial literacy.
  • Free Radical allow some space to explore the unknown!

Below are a few simple steps to consider as you're working through some of your questions.

  • Make a list of goals you would like to achieve, skills you want to learn, and experiences you want to have.
  • Challenge yourself with where to go and what to do. Now is the time to experience the world by living in it.
  • Tackle the logistics. Consider implications for college after your gap year and those of your actual gap year too.

Stop into the Department to make an appointment with an advisor to explore your next steps.

Graduate School

Geneseo students are highly motivated and often decide, either upon graduation or after several years, to pursue an advanced degree. Graduate school involves a significant commitment of time, money and energy; depending on the advanced degree, sometimes even more determination than undergraduate study. Graduate school may prepare you for a profession such as law, medicine, social work, or academia, or it can merely deepen your knowledge of a particular field. However, it should never be used to avoid or delay a job search. “ Don’t go until you know” is a sensible mantra for those on the fence about pursuing an advanced degree.

Use these graduate school resources for more information on how to select a program, the application process, and how to finance your decision.  Graduate School Guide  |   Tips for Transitioning to Graduate School


  • Make note of application requirements and deadlines
  • take appropriate standardized tests
  • Research financial aid, scholarships, assistantships, etc.
  • Request letters of recommendation from professors and supervisors
  • Attend graduate school fairs & open houses Finalize documents: resume, personal statement, admissions essays
  • Complete and submit applications before the deadline
  • Prepare for an interview by scheduling a mock interview with Career Development


Many students withdraw from graduate programs because they dislike the concentrated academic work and realize they had not clearly defined their career goals. Ask yourself the following questions to help assess your needs, interests, values, and goals.

  • What are my short-range and long-range career goals?
  • Do my professional plans require further education?
  • Am I mentally and physically prepared to undertake another long-term academic commitment?
  • Would I benefit more by gaining some practical experience before pursuing graduate studies?
  • Can I realistically invest the time and money required pursuing another academic degree?

The Three Best Ways to Stand Out

1. Contact the professors

  • Ask for a clarification of the program offerings
  • Comment on a recent publication

2. Visit the department

  • Make your appointments with professors
  • Send a thank you note later!

3. Submit an outstanding work sample

  • Your best paper, lab, article, or writing sample
  • Make sure the sample is directly related

4. Get a professor to review the work sample first!