After a year studying mechanical could include internships, job-shadowing, engineering at Boise State, Autumn Lay left school to serve a mission for the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. She returned from her post in Indiana, continued her studies, but her mission had changed her.
“Mechanical engineering wasn’t where my heart was anymore,” Lay said. She felt called to live a life of service, but wasn’t yet sure what that meant for her. Then the pandemic hit and with it, a shift to online learning. Lay struggled. For the first time in her life, she failed classes.
She realized she needed a break. Boise State’s Bronco Gap Year program, launched in the fall of 2020, was ready to meet her where she was.
The program’s goal is helping students, including those who aren’t sure they’re ready for college, those who are uneasy about returning to campus during a pandemic, or those, like Lay, who need time to find a new direction without losing their ties to the university.
“Each of our gap year students comes to the program with a different story,” said Kelly Myers, interim associate dean in the College of Arts and Sciences. “Bronco Gap Year offers these students a totally different kind of academic space.”
Bronco Gap Year Snapshot
Average student age: 20 (age range: 18-29)
3 out of 4 Bronco Gap Year students already have some college credits
A majority of BGY students are Idaho residents, but the program has attracted students from Washington, Montana, California, Alaska, Florida and Norway