The choice to take a gap year before starting at Carolina can add considerable value to the college experience. And gap years that include global experiences add exponentially more value. Scholars are provided with up to $8,000 in funding for any gap year with a significant international component. 

Why take a gap year?

Learning isn’t always a linear process. It’s traditional for many college-bound secondary school graduates to go straight to college—but this well-traveled path is not for everyone, including some Morehead-Cains.  

Scholars who decide to step away from academia for a year—before their college journey begins—are able to explore the world and, in the process, themselves. 

The Morehead-Cain Advising Team provides support to scholars in planning their gap year experiences, including developing a safety plan.


What have scholars done?

Scholars who plan gap year experiences that involve culture and language immersion, service, and employment help them to step outside their comfort zones and arrive at Carolina with a greater appreciation for the value of an education and a greater sense of how to make the most of their time at the University. Some examples of programs or experiences scholars have found meaningful during their gap years: 

  • Climbing Mount Kilimanjaro with fellow gap year classmates
  • Participating in an immersive language study program in France
  • Working toward a dive master certification and participating in marine research in Honduras


Catalyze Podcast: Stories from the Morehead-Cain International Gap Year, with Aayas Joshi ’26, Olu Kopano ’26, and scholar host Elias Guedira ’26.


“From scuba diving at the bottom of the Indian Ocean to climbing up to the 19,000-foot peak of Mt. Kilimanjaro, this gap year has taken me beyond what I knew was possible-both around the world and for myself.”

Taylor Shinal ’25