Start off your college years with a cohort of like-minded students … live, learn, explore and serve!

The St. Norbert Gap Experience

Looking for an adventurous and challenging way to start your college career? St. Norbert’s Gap Experience offers you a once in a lifetime opportunity to earn full academic credit while traveling across the country and in St. Lucia.

An Adventurous Start to Your Degree
If you’re not sure what you want to major in, this is a perfect way to explore who you are and see the needs within our global society that you may be able to fulfill.

This program can provide you with both the time and life experience to learn more about how your gifts and talents align with the needs of the world - while still staying on track with your college degree plans. You’ll further develop your personal leadership skills within a cohort of no more than 20 adventurous St. Norbert students who are looking to begin their college career in a unique and challenging way. 

Leadership, Service & International Travel
You’ll begin with an outdoor leadership adventure along the Canadian north shore of Lake Superior, followed by travel to various service sites throughout the country, then wrap up your first semester with an amazing international travel opportunity on the Caribbean island of St. Lucia. Not a bad way to begin college!

This isn’t a glorified vacation, though. You’ll have rigorous academic requirements. Your entire first semester will be spent off campus living, learning and serving others. During the semester, you’ll complete three credit-bearing college courses, and after completing the fourth, j-term course just like any other first-year student you’ll be on track to graduate in four years, backed by our four-year graduation guarantee.

Gap Experience Distinctions
You probably have a number of questions about how the program works. Here’s an overview of what makes this program unique. You can find more details in frequently asked questions.
  • Cost Students participating in the program are responsible for their travel costs to the starting location, and to fly to and from St. Lucia. All other costs are included in your St. Norbert tuition, room and board. Any scholarships, academic awards or financial aid that you’re offered are applicable.
  • Eligibility Once you apply to and are admitted to St. Norbert, you’ll need to complete the online application for the Gap Experience. A maximum of 20 students are admitted to this unique program. The program is organized and facilitated by full-time, professional St. Norbert staff, so you’ll be considered fully enrolled as a St. Norbert student and earn credits equivalent to full-time status.
  • Financial aid from SNC You’ll qualify for a financial aid package that helps to finance this opportunity. Just as financial aid helps offset the costs of tuition and fees for a student on campus all year long, your financial aid package will help cover the cost of the program for your Gap semester as well as your J-term course and spring tuition and fees.
  • College credit toward your degree Because the Gap Experience is run by St. Norbert College, we’ll make sure that you’re not only earning college credit, but that these credits will satisfy curriculum requirements at SNC and you’ll be at the same place as your peers on campus  on track to graduate in four years, guaranteed.
  • Character-building leadership You’ll not only see what you’re capable of, but what kind of leader you can be. You won’t learn about leadership in a vacuum; you’ll put those ideas to the test as you push yourself physically and mentally.
  • Experiential service learning See what it’s like to walk a mile in another’s shoes. You’ll learn, first-hand, about the challenges that so many in our country face every day. You’ll work to make a positive change in the lives of others as well as in yourself. We encourage all of our students to connect their passions with the needs of the world  at these service sites, you’ll do just that.
  • Faculty, staff and student support Make lifelong connections with other SNC students (especially your Gap Experience cohort) and SNC staff. St. Norbert College faculty and staff who facilitate the program will make sure that you have all of the help and support you need during the Gap program and as part of our on-campus community.
Timeline of GAP Experience
June 2015
Summer Orientation with special Gap Experience sessions (preferably June 16-17)
Aug. 27-Sept. 25, 2015
Outdoor leadership adventure – an immersion experience like no other, hiking the Superior Hiking Trail along Lake Superior and canoeing in the Boundary Waters Canoe Area Wilderness in northern Minnesota.
Sept. 28-Oct. 18, 2015
Return to a location near campus and regroup while you debrief from your wilderness leadership experience and start your next college course.
Oct. 8-11, 2015
Fall Break
Oct. 19-29, 2015
Learn about St. Norbert College’s culture of community engagement as your spend time assisting those in need in urban Chicago.
Nov. 1, 2015-Dec. 11, 2015 Overseas Adventure and International Service Learning in St. Lucia
Dec. 12, 2015-Jan. 3, 2016
Winter Break
Jan. 4, 2016
Begin J-Term course and and introduction to FYE.
Jan. 4-21, 2016 J-Term course and continuing Gap informal meetings.
Jan. 22, 2016
J-Term ends
Jan. 25, 2016
Second semester classes begin.
March 19-28, 2016
Spring/Easter Break
March 24, 2016
Classes resume
May 6, 2016
Second semester classes end. Gap program wrap-up with director.
May 9-13, 2016
Final Exams