Frequently Asked Questions



What is the application process?

Learn more about the application process and access our online application at our LEAPYEAR Admissions page.

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can i get help paying for leapnow programs?
LEAPYEAR, being a fully accredited year of college, gives you access to Federal Financial Aid as well as LEAPNOW and third-party scholarships. More details about Federal, LEAPNOW and private scholarships and loans are available on our Tuition page.   LEAPNOW is very committed to our programs being accessible to people of all socio-economic situations, and raises ~$100,000 each year which is distributed to LEAPYEAR students as grants.
can I use leapyear to complete high school?
Yes.  For details, visit our High School Completion page.
do you accept international (non-us) students?
 Yes, we accept international students, however, participants will need to take care of any necessary visa requirements, and are not eligible for US Federal Financial Aid.  If you are an international student interested in LEAPYEAR, please apply early so we have time to help you complete all the necessary steps. Remember, in-person interviews are required for LEAPYEAR and program retreats at our California campus are not optional.  Past LEAPYEAR students have come from Japan, Eritrea, Honduras, Singapore, India, Switzerland, Guatemala, Ecuador, Canada, Mexico, England and Iran.


College Credit

can i get college credit for a leapnow program?
Participants in LEAPYEAR are enrolled at Naropa University as full-time undergraduate B.A. students and earn a year of lower division college credit.  LEAPYEAR is considered an alternative first year of college at Naropa University.
will my leapyear credits transfer to my next college?
LEAPYEAR credits have transferred to the broad and representative range of colleges on the list below over the past 16 years.   The LEAPYEAR group beginning in spring 2018 will be the 28th full year cycle of the program, and the curriculum has been thoroughly reviewed by two regional accrediting institutions (WASC & NCA), and LEAPYEAR students are enrolled as full-time students at Naropa University.  That said, it is always at the discretion of the institution accepting you for admission whether they choose to accept credits from other institutions.   If you are considering a college that is not on the list below, the only way to definitively know whether credits will be accepted is to ask their admissions office.  To support you in this inquiry, our office can provide you with LEAPYEAR course descriptions and syllabi, and you can have your desired college admissions office pre-review these materials to determine the exact number of Naropa University credits they will accept.  In this way, you won't run any risk that your credits will not be accepted.
what colleges have leapyear students gone to in completing their education?

Most LEAPYEAR graduates continue on to complete undergraduate study after LEAPYEAR. A partial list of the colleges that LEAPYEAR graduates have gone on to follows:

  • Antioch University - Seattle

  • Ball State University

  • Bard College

  • Bellevue Community College

  • Belmont University

  • Brandeis University

  • California College of the Arts

  • California State University - Chico

  • Catholic University

  • Clark College

  • College of Charleston (South Carolina)

  • College of the Atlantic

  • Colorado College

  • Davidson College

  • DePaul University

  • Duke University

  • Eugene Lang College

  • Evergreen State University

  • Elon University

  • Foothill College

  • Fort Lewis College, Durango, CO

  • Gaia University

  • Geneseo State University of New York

  • Georgetown University

  • Global College - Long Island University

  • Goddard College

  • Goucher College

  • Green Mountain College

  • Guilford College

  • Hampshire College

  • Hunter College - CUNY

  • Indiana University

  • Knox College - Illinois

  • Lehigh University

  • Lewis & Clark University

  • Lesley University

  • Loyola Marymount University

  • Mills College

  • McGill University - Montreal, Canada

  • Middlebury College

  • Mount Holyoke College

  • Murray State University

  • Naropa University

  • Newbury College - MA

  • North Carolina State

  • Occidental College

  • Ohio Wesleyan University

  • Oregon State University

  • Portland State University

  • Prescott College

  • Quest University Canada - Squamish, BC

  • Reed College

  • Rutgers University

  • Samuel Merritt University

  • Scripps University

  • Seattle University

  • Sierra Nevada College

  • Simmons College

  • Smith College

  • Spelman College

  • Southern Oregon University

  • Stanford University

  • Sterling College

  • St. Edwards University - Austin, TX

  • SUNY - Geneseo

  • Swarthmore College

  • Texas Tech University

  • Trinity College

  • Trinity University - TX

  • University of Alaska

  • University of Arizona

  • University of California - Santa Cruz

  • University of Chicago

  • University of Colorado - Boulder

  • University of Delaware

  • University of Georgia

  • University of Illinois

  • University of Massachusetts - Amherst

  • University of Michigan

  • University of Oklahoma

  • University of Redlands

  • University of San Diego

  • University of Texas at Austin

  • University of Vermont

  • University of Washington

  • University of Western Oregon

  • University of Wisconsin - Madison

  • University of Wisconsin - Milwaukee

  • Vassar University

  • Warren Wilson College

  • Weber State University - Utah

  • Wesleyan University

  • Western Oregon University

  • Western Washington University

  • Whitman College

  • Willamette University and many more....


Travel & Retreats

who leads the group travel in india and latin america?
LEAPNOW hires leaders each year to lead the first semester of LEAPYEAR (the group travel in India and Latin America). We select these ~10 leaders from an annual pool of over 150 applicants. We hire experienced leaders with a minimum age of 25. These include returned Peace Corps volunteers, AmeriCorps leaders, and people who have led for other international education organizations. Each of them has direct experience in the country and region we ask them to lead in, extensive group leading experience, and functional language fluency if needed. Each of our leaders are trained in Wilderness First Aid, and many hold superior qualifications. All LEAPNOW leaders receive a very thorough and intensive ten-day leader training from LEAPNOW to augment past experience and training.
how is the second semester internship chosen, and how much structure is provided?

The internship selection/placement process consists of the following systematic steps:

  1. During the months prior to the start of LEAPYEAR, students are provided with a representative list of over 100 internship possibilities to get an idea of the broad spectrum of what may be available to them.
  2. During the first week of the program, our Executive Director introduces the range of internship possibilities to the full group.
  3. This is followed by one-on-one meetings between each individual student, our internship placement specialists, and our Executive Director.
  4. Our internship specialists then dialogue with each student during the fall semester to decide upon the specific internship that a student wants to do.
  5. We follow up during the second retreat on a one-on-one basis to ground and land the internship.
  6. Additional follow-up happens during the mid-program break to help those having trouble deciding among the myriad choices available to them.

LEAPNOW has been sending individual students abroad since 1994, and has made over 1500 internship placements - all of whom have come home safely. The solo internship is designed to be a structured educational experience, and as such students are placed with organizations doing social service, educational, environmental, arts and crafts, medical, outdoor recreation, and public health work.

The primary support for each student is their in-country program sponsor, who is responsible for picking them up at the airport, getting them oriented, providing further training as needed, and looking out for their well-being during their three-month internship

Each student is also required to communicate weekly with the LEAPNOW office and their group members by through a Google group, and relates directly in their country of choice with a program sponsor.

Every students carries a laminated card with LEAPNOW's 24-hour emergency phone line as well as office numbers, and key in-country numbers such as the nearest US consulate.

What are the leapnow retreats like?

Each learning experience has its own content - where you physically are located, and what you are doing.  Most programs and educational models focus on content - neglecting the context of learning - which is you, your unique life purpose and this planet we live on.  For a learning experience to be truly meaningful it needs to connect with you and your unique context. Each LEAPNOW program has at least four retreats built into them, so that the learner can find the connection between the journey and the context of their own life.  Not to build in time for this kind of reflection is both irresponsible and poor program design. It is vital to have time in the U.S. before and after traveling in order to be able to learn to travel safely, and to get the most out of your travels prior to returning to your familiar home environment. All retreats are held at our rural campus in Calistoga, California, which we call "Maacama" after the creek that runs through our property.  LEAPNOW staff and faculty run the retreats and the retreats are designed to provide you with a chance to:

  • meet your group and leaders,
  • get oriented to another culture before traveling,
  • focus on your unique inner journey,
  • harvest what you have learned after traveling,
  • limit reverse culture shock in the U.S.,
  • prepare you to return home after a dramatic journey,

all without the pressure of having to do these tasks while dealing with the challenges of another culture.  While on retreat, students are provided with delicious natural food and stay in rustic but comfortable bunkhouses.  Photos of the LEAPNOW campus can be seen on our Facebook page or on our campus page.