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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 or Princeton? Our options - Fall Term in Princeton and Trinity Term in Oxford - are unlike anything else available anywhere in the world, and we know they will make your Gap Year extraordinary. 

The Oxford Experience


Oxford itself is a very special town, full of character, culture and beauty. Its mediaeval colleges in golden mellow limestone, its gardens and fields, the Isis and Cherwell rivers make it easy to believe it has inspired painters and poets for hundreds of years. In the midst of this antiquity there is a vibrant, young population. Students on our programmes are invited for meals in the colleges, and have the opportunity to hear world-renowned speakers at the famous Oxford Union Society. Three of England's most prestigious choral foundations call Oxford home, and international soloists perform at the Sheldonian theatre every few weeks. 


Oxford is only an hour by train from London-Paddington, and every two weeks our students are invited to visit London to meet privately with best-selling authors, to have coffee with a Member of Parliament on the terrace of the Palace of Westminster, or to meet the Director of a major think tank. 

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 get in touch to answer any of your questions, and help you come to the best decision for you.


Open Day

We would like to invite you to visit Oxford for our Open Days on Wednesday, 1 & Thursday, 2 July 2020. Please email to register your interest.

The Options 

Fall Term in Princeton and Trinity Term in Oxford are residential programmes where we provide bright, ambitious students with the most enriching Gap Year experience available. It is perfect for people applying to university after finishing school, but it is much more than just a preparation for Oxford and Cambridge admissions - 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 our tutors are all Oxford lecturers, tutors or alumni, 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 a Shakespeare tragedy with one of the leading Shakespearean scholars in the world, learn how to use econometrics to examine poverty solutions in East Africa, sit opposite an eminent Aristotelian scholar, study international relations with experts, immerse yourself in mediæval history and philosophy in the place where much of it happened. 


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), 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 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.