What is a gap year? 

Gap year programs take place in between high school graduation and beginning a college/ university. 

Why take a gap year?

Gap years are once-in-a-lifetime opportunities that allow students to focus on who they are, what is important to them and begin to create goals and aspirations for their future as they make the big transition to college.  Skills and opportunities gained during a gap year include independence, personal exploration, budgeting, travel, and in the case of Nativ, building meaningful connections with Israel and Judaism.

Why should I take my gap year with Nativ?

Nativ, which means “path” in Hebrew, provides a unique opportunity to explore new directions on the journey to becoming a Jewish adult. A true year of exploration, Nativ provides the freedom for personal discovery as well as the security of a carefully structured program. This unforgettable experience is created through an intricate balance between academics and volunteer work, learning and teaching, personal challenge, and community living. Nativ participants return from the year with a stronger attachment to the land of Israel, a deeper passion for Judaism, and enthusiasm to share with their communities what they have learned.


When are the application deadlines and acceptance notifications? 

Early applications are due by December 1st and those applicants will be notified of acceptance by January 10. 

Regular applications are due February 1st and those applicants will be notified of acceptance by March 15. 

What materials are required to apply to Nativ? 

A complete application includes the following materials: 

  • Online application
  • Essay
  • High school transcript
  • Recommendations
  • Parent medical form


What is the tuition for Nativ? 

Nativ tuition for the 2023-2024 school year is $29,700*

*Subject to change

What is included with tuition?

The cost of the Nativ and Yozma programs includes:

  • Tuition and fees
  • Housing
  • Medical insurance (not including mental health, pre-existing conditions, or dental)
  • Meals
  • Required transportation
  • All planned sightseeing and touring

Please note that personal expenses and flights are not included.

How much additional spending money is suggested?

Past Nativers have suggested about $3000 of additional spending money for the year. This does not include money that might be needed for the Poland excursion or international travel during the Winter vacation.

Can a 529 plan be used to pay for Nativ?

For those students studying at Hebrew University, a 529 plan can be used to pay for the tuition and housing costs for the 1st semester only (approximately $12,000).


Should I apply to colleges if I know I want to take a gap year with Nativ?

We strongly suggest that all applicants also apply for college and then defer to take a gap year.  To learn more about this process and deferral policies, please be in touch with the admissions department at the college or university in question.  If you’d like to hear more about how Nativ alumni have handled this in the past, please email us at Nativ@uscj.org.

Will I earn college credits during Nativ?

Nativ students who study at Hebrew University can earn up to 21 academic credits during their semester. Those credits are transferable to many colleges and universities in North America. To find out more about credit transfer policies, please be in touch with the admissions department at the college or university in question. 


Where do Nativers live in Jerusalem during the fall semester?

Nativers live at the Fuchsberg Center in downtown Jerusalem – walking distance from Old City, Ben Yehuda Street, Mahane Yehuda Market, Emek Refaim and more!  The students live in rooms of 2 – 4 per room with a bathroom and shower in each room and basic kitchen facilities shared between a few rooms.  There is WiFi on the campus as well as common space including classrooms, theatre, several balconies and courtyards. 

What about housing during the spring semester? 

Nativers choose (during the application process) to either be in a youth village or development town during their spring semester.  In the youth village, the Nativers live in dorm rooms of 2 – 3 people per room and eat communally in the village.  In the development town, students  live in apartments and learn to cook, clean, and maintain a kosher apartment throughout the semester.  


Are Nativers covered by health insurance while in Israel? 

Nativers are covered by a local health insurance policy that includes medical visits and treatments without co-pays, deductibles, or paperwork.  The medical insurance policy does not include pre-existing conditions or mental health related issues. For further information or individual questions, please email nativ@uscj.org

About to graduate high school?
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