Along the higher education journey, gap year programs have a lasting impact on students as they learn more about themselves, others and God. Lancaster Bible College | Capital Seminary & Graduate School loves gap year transfer students, and not only welcomes them but also comes alongside these students as they continue their education and adjust to college life. Gap year students transfer to LBC from programs such as OneLife, the Atlas Travel & Study Abroad Program, Word of Life and Montana Wilderness School of the Bible, among others.
“A desire to continue growing in faith and understanding of God’s Word naturally led me to a Bible college,” said Hunter Kieley (’26), a Pastoral Ministry major and gap year transfer student from Atlas Travel & Study Abroad. The Atlas gap year program is directed by LBC alumnus Andy Gordley (’97 & ’09), a long-term missionary to Costa Rica.
Trying to make a decision about how to spend the next four years of life and set a pathway for the future can be overwhelming. Oftentimes, high school students aren’t sure of God’s plan for them or what their calling is. They feel lost trying to figure out who they are and where they should be next.
“A gap year program gives you the opportunity to reestablish who you are and why God has placed you here, and to ground yourself in Him before you decide what you are going to do for the foreseeable future,” said Jessica Merena (’24), a Psychology major and gap year transfer student from OneLife Institute at Black Rock Retreat in Quarryville, Pa.
LBC seeks to be intentional about making the transition from a gap year program to college as smooth as possible. Gap year transfer students are eligible for exclusive scholarships and have the opportunity to participate in weekly discipleship meeting and monthly community-building events. The college also prioritizes helping gap year students find a place to belong and a community that inspires them to be engaged on campus.
Merena learned about LBC through OneLife and transferred in August 2022. “The transition from OneLife to LBC was pretty easy,” she said. “There were a lot of other students from different locations of my OneLife class whom I had met before, so I came into LBC with a sort of pre-established community.”
The hardest part of the transition for Merena was trying to manage staying in contact with her OneLife friends from around the country while also attempting to establish herself at LBC.
“The community here at LBC has been so wonderfully supportive and encouraging,” she shared. “I still miss my OneLife family, but my LBC family has become just as influential, if not more so.”
LBC takes specific measures to ensure that gap year students are empowered academically after coming from a gap year program. Support is provided both in and outside the classroom to help with academic success and ignite students’ passion for God’s kingdom. LBC also offers a course that is designed exclusively for gap year transfer students. These students are also encouraged to step into leadership roles on campus or in the community in order to propel them to deeper levels of engagement.
Gap year programs can be some of the most character-building, monumental and life-changing experiences for young adults, as they provide students the chance to explore who they are and where God is calling them.
“The switch to LBC has not been so difficult,” said Kieley, who completed his gap year program in Costa Rica. “It remains a Christian community, which I sorely missed when leaving Costa Rica. It has been a learning experience growing alongside and relationship building with other Christians in an environment of higher learning.”