What the Leap Year Provides

The Great Connections Leap Year Program emphasizes extensive individual help, which includes:

  • Six collaborative small group seminars on weekly curriculum readings, led by Marsha Familaro Enright and tutorial staff.

  • A weekly small-group discussion on a longer piece of work with a tutor.

  • A detailed course in writing like professionals with Malachy Walsh, professional advertising writer and classics expert.

  • Individual sessions with tutors every week to examine the student’s progress in understanding the material, and his or her work and goals.

  • Classes in Improv to bolster social skills great for team work

  • Outings to learn about the city history, architecture, art, business, science, educational institutions and any kind of activity that will help students connect the ideas in the classroom to their effect on everyday life.

  • Weekly all-student-and-staff dinners.

  • Guidance in forming their small group on a real-world problem and identifying the problem.

  • Help in networking with accomplished professionals who will provide them with information, wisdom, and guidance in working on their real-world problem.

  • Instruction and guidance in creating a presentation of the group’s solution to a real world problem.

  • Instruction and guidance in creating a portfolio of work from the year, and help in using that portfolio to take your next step, whether college, a business or whatever direction you discover is best.

    Leap Year Cost
    The fee for all of the above programming and intense individual guidance is $25,000 for nine months. If you’re ready to be challenged in an entirely new way, please apply here.


    Gap year scholarships are available from numerous organizations. Please see this page at the Gap Association website.

    We seek individuals who want to change their lives and we’re fortunate to have supporters who are eager to help young people do just that. These generous supporters enable us to offer The Great Connections Leap Year Scholarships. We offer these scholarships on the basis of a number of criteria including but not limited to financial need and merit. If you are eager to be challenged in an entirely new way but aren’t sure you can afford the program, first complete the Program Application here. Once you are accepted to the program, apply here for a scholarship.


    Early Application Deadline April 10, 2019

    Final Application Deadline June 1, 2019

    Extended Application Deadline September 1, 2019

    The Great Connections does not provide housing. However, we can help you find housing in University Center, a private full-service dormitory and conference center located in downtown Chicago, steps from the Rock Island Metra Train which will take you to your classes. Or, we can help you find an apartment or room in a private house. We are happy to help you connect with other Great Connections participants if you wish to room together.

    The Great Connections Leap Year Program accepts no government grants or loans; all of our support is entirely from very generous individuals and foundations. These supporters believe that a free society starts with a free people, people who know what makes freedom possible and are capable of the independent judgment and self-reliance necessary for living in freedom.