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Tufts 1+4 Frequently Asked Questions

Considering a Bridge Year

What will I gain from participating in Tufts 1+4?
The Tufts 1+4 program has had multiple positive impacts on fellows. A comprehensive article from the American Gap Association has collected studies and data on gap year participants from around the world; particularly illuminating are the lists of academic and personal benefits. Although parents may feel concerned about students adding an additional year before college graduation or deferring traditional academics for a year, studies have shown this year actually increases academic performance in college, as well as motivation and direction. Through this program, Tufts 1+4 Fellows can gain maturity, confidence, and problem solving skills as well as experience that will help them succeed in college and beyond including working well with others, foreign language skills, and hands-on community work.

We encourage you to review the research and literature around gap years to learn more about what these experiences can offer. Here are a few links to get started:

What is the difference between Tufts 1+4 and a traditional gap year?
Traditionally, a gap year is conceived as a “break” between high school and college. Tufts 1+4 is a bridge-year, spanning and connecting the high school experience with the academic and career goals of college. It also builds upon the developmental growth in that time frame: supporting personal reflection, exploring potential as an active citizen in society, and building connections between theory and practice. While gap years predominantly focus on travel and may also include some volunteer service, the Tufts 1+4 Bridge-Year Service Learning Program is a full-time service experience, with national and international placements that will both challenge fellows and provide them with support that allows for optimum growth and impact. Finally, Tufts 1+4 Fellows have the unique opportunity to spend their bridge-year connected to a cohort of peers with whom they will also share their undergraduate career.

By completing a bridge-year through Tufts, Tufts 1+4 Fellows receive additional layers of support, including dedicated Tufts 1+4 staff at Tisch College. In addition to their site-specific orientation, fellows also attend an on-campus orientation prior to departure that will serve as a foundation for best practices, build a network among all fellows, and connect them to the values of Tufts University. During the fall of their first year at Tufts, fellows participate in a retreat to reconnect in person, share experiences, and discuss ways to build upon their bridge-year now that they have matriculated at Tufts. As they progress through their undergraduate careers, there are multiple opportunities for fellows to scaffold their experiences, serve as leaders, and continue involvement with Tisch College.

Program Details

Do all programs/service sites follow the same structure?
Each program is unique, reflecting the distinctive character and specific community needs of that location. Please read each site and placement description carefully to understand the structure of each opportunity, including the service calendar which varies between programs. All of the programs are part of Tufts 1+4 and share features including pre-departure orientation, ongoing support from the Tufts 1+4 staff, enrollment in a Tufts University English course, and a post-service retreat.

What are homestays like?
Most homestays are in modest dwellings in rural, semi-rural, or urban areas. They provide a safe, clean, and supportive living environment while allowing the fellow to have an immersive cultural experience with a host family. Homestay families and locations are carefully selected and vetted by placement organizations, and host families receive training and support throughout the year.

Are there holiday breaks during the program?
Most placement sites are closed over local holidays, giving fellows the opportunity to experience local customs and celebrations. Over the winter holidays, many placements close for a week or more. During this time, international fellows are encouraged to spend time with their host families and to further explore their host community. Fellows may also pursue independent travel during this time. Global Citizen Year Fellows in Brazil and India do not have the option to return home over the holiday break. We support this policy, and strongly encourage all fellows to continue their immersive experience for the duration of the bridge year; however fellows in Ecuador and Nicaragua may submit a written request to return home over the holidays should they have specific circumstances that support this decision.

Will there be an orientation?
Yes. All Tufts 1+4 Fellows come to Tufts for an on-campus orientation before the beginning of their service year. The orientation will provide an opportunity for team building, growing a supportive network of fellows that will be sustained through virtual connections. Fellows will be introduced to the core Tufts values of civic engagement, including cultural humility, respect for community assets, and strategies for successful collaboration. The orientation will also cover logistic issues such as personal safety and well-being and conduct expectations.

Each placement site will also hold its own orientation as well; for international sites, this will include language classes and an introduction to the cultural norms and heritage of that site. Tufts 1+4 City Year Fellows will attend City Year’s Basic Training Academy where they will prepare for the year ahead and learn about City Year’s mission, culture, and values.

Is there a language requirement to participate in an international 1+4 program?
There is no minimum language requirement to apply for any of our international sites. While any relevant foreign language skills will be extremely useful and help fellows to integrate more quickly into their community and placement site, all fellows are welcome to apply regardless of language background. All fellows in international sites will receive intensive language classes as a part of the 1+4 program, and are encouraged to do independent study to support their language skills both before and during the program.

How does the Tufts 1+4 experience continue after the year of service?
During the fall of their first semester as Tufts students, fellows will participate in a weekend retreat where they will reflect upon their experiences and the transition to college. Regular meetings, workshops, social gatherings and other events will equip participants to build on their service year, become campus leaders and continue their connection to the 1+4 community.

What academic credit is available?
During their service, Tufts 1+4 Fellows will be enrolled in a for-credit, Tufts University blended learning English course designed to integrate their service with academics and facilitate reflection upon their experiences.

The Tufts 1+4 Application & Costs

Who can apply to Tufts 1+4?
All students admitted to Tufts University are eligible to participate in Tufts 1+4. Non-U.S. citizens are only eligible for international service locations, and acceptance is contingent upon their ability to secure a visa to the U.S. for Orientation (and in the case of Brazil and India, Post-Service Retreat training), as well as a long-term visa to their service location.

When should I apply to Tufts 1+4?
Applicants may apply to the program along with their application to Tufts University, or after receiving their Tufts acceptance letter. Please visit the Application Process page for detailed instructions.

Can I receive financial support for Tufts 1+4?
Tufts 1+4 provides need-based support for accepted fellows, including full support for students who qualify for Tufts financial aid. There is also assistance available to students who are admitted to 1+4, but for whom the cost of the program is prohibitive. Tufts wants the 1+4 experience to be available to all students, regardless of financial circumstances.

Are transportation costs included?
Some sites offer public transportation passes or subsidized transportation options, while in others fellows can walk to and from their placement or use their monthly stipend to cover local transportation costs.

If you have any other questions or would like to speak to a 1+4 fellow or alumnus, please contact Jessye Crowe-Rothstein, Tufts 1+4 Program Administrator, at jessica.crowe_rothstein@tufts.edu.