Andover Townsman, Andover, MA

Education

January 17, 2013

Fairs show options for gap year, summer

Although it will be a few months before winter gives way to spring, a pair of free, public fairs this weekend will help high school and middle school students get a jump on their summer and fall plans.

Andover youth can attend Phillips Academy’s 23rd annual Summer Opportunities Fair on Sunday, Jan. 20 or the new Gap Year Opportunities Fair on Saturday, Jan. 19. Both fairs are free and open to the public.

The Summer Opportunities Fair will be held on Sunday, Jan. 20 from noon to 3 p.m. in the Smith Center, located off Route 28 near the intersection of Salem Street on the Phillips Academy campus. The event is sponsored by the Phillips Academy Summer Opportunities Office and the Parents of Students of Phillips Academy.

This fair will give students and their families a chance to meet with representatives from more than 100 local, national, and international summer programs. Among the wide range of programs that will be represented at the fair are those that focus on academic programs, language study, community service, camps, sports, arts, research, internships, outdoor adventure, and international travel.

In the past, information about gap year programs was included in the annual Summer Opportunities Fair. This year those programs will be grouped into a separate fair sponsored by USA Gap Year Programs, which holds 30 such fairs across the country each year.

The Gap Year Opportunities Fair will be held on Saturday, Jan. 19 from 3 to 5 p.m. in Kemper Auditorium, located in the Elson Art Center on Chapel Avenue, across from the Andover Inn.

A gap-year is a year that high school graduates use to pursue other experiences before going off to college.

At Saturday’s fair, high school students and their parents will have the opportunity to meet face-to-face with representatives from nearly 40 reputable gap year organizations that focus on education, service and personal growth. Jason Sarouhan, a counselor at the Center for Interim Programs in Northampton, Mass., will serve as a featured speaker at the event. He will discuss the gap year experience as well as the application process and the logistics of deferring college for a year.

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