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AU Gap Program - FAQs

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AU Gap Program
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AU Gap Program

WHAT ARE THE APPLICATION DEADLINES?

Application deadlines can be found here.

HOW MANY STUDENTS ARE ADMITTED TO THE GAP PROGRAM?

We have limited space in the Gap Program for two academic sections per semester. We accept applications on a rolling basis – up to the application deadline date for the program/semester to which you are applying.  

WHO TEACHES THE GAP PROGRAM COURSES?

The Gap Program professors are full-time, American University faculty with appointments to the School of Professional and Extended Studies.  

WHY ARE THE DOMESTIC AND INTERNATIONAL GAP PROGRAMS DIFFERENT?

While both programs offer the same seminar options, there are differences between the programs, with internships and fewer credits per semester for domestic students, and service learning and more credits offered to international students. This is due in part to the visa (F-1) required for international students to study at American University in the Gap Program. For F-1 status, students must take a full course load and cannot work in internships.

International students can select a semester or summer to attend the program. Domestic students can select fall or spring semester, or study in the program for both semesters.

WHAT ARE THE COURSES LIKE?

Both the domestic and international programs share Seminar classes. Beyond that, each program is unique to offer either internship or service learning options.

The seminars are:

Politics in the US Seminar

Students will study American government through active learning in the classroom and beyond. Specifically, students will be immersed in both the theory and the practice of American politics through meetings with experts and site visits to political institutions in Washington, DC. As a result, students will have a better understanding of American politics, particularly key constitutional principles, the political process, policy-making institutions, civil rights, and current political issues. Offered in fall and spring.

Global Business Seminar

Offered to students will learn about global business as it plays out in the nation’s capital. This seminar immerses students in both the theory and practice of global business through meetings with experts and site visits to such organizations as the World Bank, the International Monetary Fund, and the U.S. Chamber of Commerce. Offered in fall and summer.

International Affairs Seminar

Students will learn about international affairs and U.S. foreign policy. This seminar immerses students in both the theory and practice of international affairs through lectures, as well as meetings with decision makers and experts in international relations and site visits to organizations such as Federal offices, Congress, think tanks, embassies, and other international-focused organizations. Students will gain a better understanding of international relations and foreign policy, as well as comprehension of the theory and practice of international relations and the process of U.S. foreign policy formulation and implementation. Offered in fall and spring.

For Domestic Gap Students

Mentored Field Practicum (4 credits)
In addition to the Seminar course, domestic Gap Program students will have a graded internship by way of a Mentored Field Practicum course. The Mentored Field Practicum (MFP) enables students have a successful educational experience at their internship, as it provides a forum for exploring common challenges and opportunities in the workplace, including job responsibilities, communication with co-workers, etc. Students will identify skills crucial to success in the professional field they are interning. Students also will connect theories and knowledge gained in their seminar classes with “real world” experiences. The MFP is a 4 credit course.

For International Gap Program Students:

In addition to the Seminar course, international students are enrolled in:

The Culture of U.S. Higher Education (3 credits)
This course will provide you with the tools to succeed in a college or university - in the U.S. or elsewhere. You will gain an understanding of academic integrity, student faculty interactions, and successful adaptation to U.S. classroom culture. In addition, students will improve English language abilities, including reading comprehension, building vocabulary, and oral communication for class discussions and presentations.

Intercultural Understanding – with Service Learning (3 credits)
This class will enhance your ability to think critically and creatively about today’s cultural challenges; provide opportunities for you to engage in intercultural relations; and provide a perspective on personal and social responsibility. The course topics include the impact of racial discrimination; poverty, inequality and mobility; and strategies and agents of community change.

Introduction to College Inquiry (3 credits)
You will develop academic questioning, research, analytical and problem solving skills that are required to be successful in college. You will learn how to identify key approaches to both inquiry and academic research; compare and contrast diverse sources and information content; and evaluate course readings, resource materials, individual research, active discussion, and analytical writing as they apply to research.

CAN I TAKE ADDITIONAL CLASSES AT AU?

Gap Program students enroll in the classes affiliated with the Gap Program. We cannot offer any AU elective courses beyond what is already offered in the program.

HOW DOES THE INTERNSHIP SELECTION PROCESS WORK?

Gap Program staff do not place students in internships; however students are given the tools to place themselves in an internship. Searching for an internship is a key skill developed through this experience.

Prior to entering the Gap Program, students are given access to resume resources and work with program staff to fine-tune their resumes. Students are then given access to the SPExS Internship Database, which has the largest collection of internship offerings in the DC area. Students are highly encouraged to start applying to internships posted on the database over the summer.

After arrival on campus, students can also work with the Gap Program office staff and a professor to fine-tune their search and secure an internship.

HOW DOES THE INTERNSHIP EXPERIENCE HELP STUDENTS?

Gap Program students will start to make contacts, build credentials, and gain real-world experience through the mentored field practicum. Internships are available in areas of interest ranging from politics and justice, communications, international affairs, psychology, and arts & sciences.

WHY IS THE INTERNSHIP NOT PART OF THE PROGRAM FOR INTERNATIONAL STUDENTS?

International students are classified as non-degree, full-time students while at AU because students are issued a U.S. Government Form I-20 by American University to obtain F1 visa to attend the program. International students do not have the applicable visa to have an internship. The J1 visa is used for student interns in the U.S., and the Gap Program does not fit the criteria to issue this type of visa to students.

HOW MANY CREDITS IS THE PROGRAM AND DO THE CLASSES TRANSFER?

Domestic Gap Program students are enrolled in two classes each semester for a total of 7 undergraduate credits, and international students are enrolled in 12 credits in the semester or 6 credits in the summer session program.

If you want or plan to use these credits to transfer to another university, the decision about the transferability of credits rests with the university you are joining after the Gap Program. We encourage you to contact the college or university you are planning to attend after the Gap Program to determine the transferability. Last year, the School of Professional & Extended Studies programs hosted students from 114 colleges and universities, 26 states, and 18 countries so many schools understand our curriculum and accept the classes as transfer classes.

CAN GAP PROGRAM STUDENTS USE AU STUDENT SERVICES?

Yes. Gap Program students are non-degree seeking students at AU and have full access to all AU facilities and activities. These include computer labs, library, fitness centers, resource centers, clubs, speakers, campus events, etc.

CAN STUDENTS BRING CARS?

Gap Program students, like other resident students, are not allowed to bring cars.

WHERE DO GAP PROGRAM STUDENTS LIVE?

Gap Program students are housed on the AU campus in a residence hall. Gap Program students will room with other Gap Program students or other first year students.

IS IT MANDATORY TO HAVE A MEAL PLAN?

Yes. All students living on-campus are required to have a minimum 175-block meal plan. However, students may opt to have a larger 200, 225, or 250-block meal plan, or the super plan, which has unlimited meal swipes at the Terrace Dining Room. Students living off-campus are not required to have a meal plan.

WHAT ARE THE STUDENT HEALTH CARE OPTIONS?

D.C. law states that all students must have health insurance - through their parents or through AU. If a student has insurance by way of their parent’s plan, they can waive AU Health Insurance through their myAU.american.edu portal. International Gap Program students must purchase AU health insurance.

ARE GAP PROGRAM STUDENTS ELIGIBLE FOR FINANCIAL AID?

Due to the fact that Gap Program students have non-degree seeking student status, financial aid is not available for attending the Gap Program. Students/families typically use private loans to pay for the Gap Program.

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