Why Take a Gap Year?

A Gap Year can be a life-changing adventure - exploring the world, learning a foreign language, and becoming a purposeful, resourceful, mature individual - but it's not for everyone. Our advice is this: a Gap Year is a great idea if you are bright and ambitious, and if you have clear plans about how to make your Gap Year extraordinary. The John Locke Institute can help.


We believe a well-designed gap year should be challenging, interesting, and fun. You should aim to learn a lot, so plan to develop your interests and acquire new skills before university begins, and make use of the freedom that comes from escaping the classroom to learn in a dynamic way, unconstrained by the school curriculum and the spectre of exams at the end of it all. This year, learning can be the adventure you choose for yourself. 


Before you go backpacking in Nepal or head to Beijing to learn Mandarin, why not join us in Oxford, Princeton or Washington DC? Our options are unlike anything else available anywhere in the world, and we know they will make your Gap Year extraordinary. 

Contact Us 


The most important thing if you are considering a Gap Year is to get in touch with us so we can discuss with you in person how our programme can match your goals. Please complete the contact form so we can answer any of your questions, and help you come to the best decision for you. If you like we can put you in touch with some of our alumni from recent years, so you can get the perspective of other students who have been on a similar journey.

Open Day


We would like to invite you to visit one of our Open Days:


Oxford: Wednesday, 1 July & Thursday, 2 July 2020. 

London: Monday, 6 July, 2020

Washington DC: Thursday, 1 October, 2020

Princeton: Thursday, 5 November, 2020

New York: Saturday, 7 November, 2020


Please email the Dean of Admissions, marie.loubeyre@johnlocke.com to register your interest.

The Options 

There are five parts to our gap year offering: three weeks in Oxford in September, four weeks in Washington DC in September and October, four weeks in Princeton in October and November, a ten-week summer internship in Australia in January, February and March, and eight weeks in Oxford in the spring. 


All five programmes are residential programmes where we provide bright, ambitious students with the most enriching Gap Year experience available. Some of our students use the experience to become first-rate candidates for competitive universities, and students in recent years have proceeded to Oxford, Cambridge, Harvard, Yale, Columbia, Chicago and UPenn, but it is much more than just a preparation for university; it is a preparation for life. 


We work with the best and brightest students, in small groups and individual tutorials, and it is our privilege to help young people to grow into confident, impressive individuals, able to explore a wide range of exciting subjects and able to think and reason and argue articulately and effectively.

Our programmes are not about learning more facts.They are about mastering the skills of enquiry, training the mind in the discipline of logical thought, and acquiring the ability to argue in writing and speech with clarity and persuasive force.


World Class University Teachers and a Curriculum Designed by You

The John Locke Institute is independent of any university, but most of our tutors are current or recent lecturers, tutors or alumni from Oxford, Cambridge, Harvard and Princeton, who work with our students in their own time. Most of our interaction with students is based on the Socratic model, which for over 150 years has been the hallmark of Oxford tutorials and Cambridge supervisions.

You can apply for any combination of subjects you can imagine. Where your interests match up with those of another student we will put you in a tutorial pair, but your opportunities are only limited by the availability of tutors, and we think you will be impressed by how diverse the opportunities are. Study politics with a congressman or cabinet minister, learn how to use econometrics to examine poverty solutions in East Africa, sit opposite an eminent Aristotelian scholar, study international relations with expert practitioners, immerse yourself in mediæval history. 


If you are planning to apply to Oxford or Cambridge after leaving school, ours is an unrivalled system for acquiring the skills of problem-solving, reasoning and arguing that will turn a good candidate into an exceptional candidate. We can help you sharpen up your UCAS Personal Statement, we can give you specialist training to improve your performance in the admissions tests, such as the Thinking Skills Assessment (TSA), and we can provide expert advice and practice in the demanding admissions interviews you will face.


If you are applying to universities in the United States, we will incorporate into your programme valuable advice and training in how to excel in the SAT exams, and we will help you to understand how to produce admissions essays that will find your own authentic voice to communicate to the admission committees your experience, ability and passion.  


We will devote all our experience and expertise into helping you achieve your goals for university, and we have a fantastic track record of success, but all our students treasure their experience for what it is, and not only for what it helps you achieve afterwards.  


+44 (0)1865 566166 (UK)

+1 (609) 608-0543 (US)