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Imagine feeling prepared for life's challenges, equipped with tools to help you become a successful architect of your life. 


Waiting to enter college doesn't mean you are just taking time off, it means you are giving yourself time to explore and reflect.  It means you are giving yourself the gift of time.  Time to find clarity and purpose.  

According to Forbes magazine, studies show that taking a gap year can lead to increased college GPAs and improve overall satisfaction and engagement with college in general. "In short, taking the time to figure out what success looks like is a surefire way to be directed in achieving it."


Whether you are building a skyscraper or a tiny house, a solid foundation is key in any building project. 

How do you become the architect of your life and your college career? How do you prepare for a life of learning and growth?  How do you build a solid foundation before entering college and the journey of your career?


The Gap Year Project can help!

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Transitions are challenging.


Whether it is college, a new career, or simply transitioning into being a responsible adult, The Gap Year Project helps you practice the skills needed to succeed.


Confidence and adaptability.


A year of increased self-awareness and self-directed growth will enhance your existing skills and better equip you for the academic rigors of college, the freedoms of college life, the social experiences, and the stresses of transitioning to adulthood. 

The Gap Year Project

The Gap Year Project is an online program that provides you access to the best minds in personal development. It provides interactive opportunities with top speakers and thought leaders, who outline the "soft-skills" needed to thrive in college and life.


This unique combination of access to professional speakers, personal coaching, weekly readings, podcasts, edutainment, and connection to a growing online community, will put you in the driver's seat of your future.


What do participants receive?

Live speakers - Mondays at 7pm.

Strengths coaching - Tuesdays.

Podcasts with thought leaders and national authors on career exploration - Released every Wednesday.

An online community of others exclusively participating in The Gap Year Project.

Over $300 in books on personal wellbeing, engagement, financial literacy, etc.

A forum to share your thoughts on these topics.

Practice in discussion-based learning.

Dedicated opportunities for self-reflection and self-exploration.

Development of personal accountability skills.

Practice in self-directed learning crucial for college success.

Clifton Strengths for Students assessment.

Purpose driven assessments and personal inventories.

Career coaching, discernment, and development.

Leadership coaching.

Access to summer employment.

40 weeks of curated content developed for personal growth.

Certification of completion.

What do parents receive?

  • Confidence your young college student is developing life-long Wellbeing skills.

  • Reassurance attending college is a solid investment.

  • A young adult, who is engaged in their future.

  • A safe community for sharing thoughts and concerns.


Founder and CEO

Jeff Venekamp, M.S. in Administration and Leadership from Augustana University

Includer, WOO, Strategic, Connectedness, Relator

I have spent my professional life developing student leaders. For the last 15 years, I have worked for Augustana University, where I led a team of staff and students through homecoming, welcome week, new student orientation, and first-year seminars. I provided leadership development and mentorship to student clubs, residence life advisors, and hall directors while managing conduct cases and volunteer programs.  I have volunteered for NACA and NODA. I have presented at regional and national conferences and traveled throughout the United State supporting higher ed causes.

I know the struggles first-year students face.  On their own for the first time, many students arrive at campus ill-equipped to handle the challenges of balancing their time, finances, and social pressures, on top of rigorous academic expectations. That's why I developed the Gap Year Project.  To help students enter college feeling more prepared for life's challenges, a stronger sense of self, and a more defined purpose for their life. 

Students who enroll in our program will have the opportunity to explore a variety of careers. They will experience Strengths Training with Gallup Certified StrengthsFinder Coaches. They will read and discuss topics of diversity, wellbeing, emotional competence, the power of first impressions, building successful habits, and more. They will be connected to thought leaders, cutting edge student affairs professionals, and dynamic speakers. They will grow.

I look forward to working with you to help you secure a strong foundation for your future!


Gap Year Project team is dedicated to building the leaders of tomorrow. Our vision is to coach and cultivate Gap Year participants across the United States and internationally. 


Statement of Inclusivity

The Gap Year Project is committed to building more than an inclusive environment. We
are committed to creating advocacy leaders and change agents. We believe our differences
empower us and generate the foundations of a vibrant community. We will not discriminate
based on any classification of the human experience. The opposite, we actively look to diversify and advocate for our team. We also acknowledge we will fail at times to uphold this lofty ideal. We open ourselves to challenging and respectful communication.

If you feel we can be better, please let us know.