+ I’m interested! How do I apply?
The first step is that you (or your family member or a treater) should reach out to us via our Contact Form, email, or phone.
We at Semester Off will want to learn more about you and answer any initial questions you may have about our programs. If you would like to be considered for the Full Semester Experience or a Part-time Semester Experience, then we will expect to meet with you in person. If you would like to be considered for a Summer Crash Course, then we will offer you an optional meeting with us, in most cases; however, there may be specific students that we would require meeting with before enrolling in a Summer Crash Course.
+ May I join Semester Off even if it is after the start date?
For our Full Semester Experience , we allow for a rolling admission if space permits.
+ Do you offer financial aid or scholarships?
We offer several different payment plans and are open to working with a student and their family to arrive at a payment plan which makes sense for all parties.
In addition, Semester Off is able to offer a reduced rate for specific students with demonstrated financial need. We would be happy to discuss these details during the admissions process.
+ How do you help students who struggle with executive functioning?
If you are asking this question, then you probably have a sense as to how important these skills are and how difficult it is to impart these skills to someone for whom they do not come naturally.
In direct ways, we at Semester Off work with our students on their executive functioning: time management, alarm clocks, calendar and alert systems, breaking down larger tasks into smaller tasks, ways to not procrastinate, methods to curb avoidance, and other strategies. Based on expert consultation we have sought from individuals and organizations who specialize in executive functioning skills development, we have developed our own course which teaches our students these skills. This course, How to Succeed in College (Executive Functioning Workshop), was created initially to be taught in tandem with the college class taught by our Founder, Dr. Goldberg, so that students not only learn and review these fundamental executive functioning strategies, they also practice these techniques regularly under our nurturing direction. Thus, as necessary, we at Semester Off can further problem-shoot why specific skills and strategies are not being implemented or are not working for a particular student if that is the case, and we sometimes develop alternative, student-specific strategies which may be more effective. In addition to organizational and time management techniques, students learn how to engage in college-level reading assignments, how to write papers, and how to prepare for detail-oriented college exams.
In less direct ways, we work intensively with our students to develop their communication skills, their self-awareness, their self-compassion, their self-regulation, and their self-advocacy skills. We help them change their self-concept from “adolescent” to “emerging adult,” and sometimes changes that occur on these deeper levels allow students to implement executive functioning strategies that we or others in their lives (including outside executive functioning coaches) have been suggesting, but which the student has been unable or unwilling to implement previously.
+ Are there age or other restrictions regarding prospective students?
Any student who is 16-25 years old may apply for our Summer Crash Courses, but please keep in mind that these were designed with the 16-18 year-old population in mind.
Any student who is 18-25 years old may apply for the Full Semester Experience or the Part-time Semester Experience which run during all three semesters: spring, summer, and fall.
Note that students may be eligible for participation in our programming regardless of where they attend/attended high school, college, and where their family resides. In other words, we accept students who attend Boston-area high schools, colleges, and universities, as well as those who have attended school elsewhere.
+ Is Semester Off considered a “residential” program? Do students live there?
No. Semester Off is considered a “non-residential” program. Most students hail from the Greater Boston area and choose to live at home with one or both of their parents during their time at Semester Off. That said, if a student and their family live outside of the Boston area, we would be happy to assist in finding appropriate local housing options.
+ Do you ever deny admission to a prospective student?
Yes, a prospective student may be denied admission. For our programs to be successful, it is essential that there be rightness of fit between the student and the program. One of the purposes of the initial meetings with our staff is to determine whether or not this chemistry exists. Students must understand our program, our philosophy, and our methods and be ready to make the commitment necessary to attend our program with an open mind. For this reason, a student’s motivation for self-improvement is a key criteria that we use in making admissions decisions. In some cases, a student may be sufficiently impaired, and Semester Off may not be able to accommodate them safely or effectively. In these cases, we try to steer the student towards other programs or services which may be more appropriate.
+ Do you offer mental health services?
No. Semester Off is an educational enrichment program.
+ What happens if a student requires mental health services?
Since many of our staff have training in the assessment and delivery of mental health care, we are well-attuned to the mental health needs of our students. We may recommend that a student pursue any of the following: individual psychotherapy, family psychotherapy, psychopharmacology evaluation, neuropsychology testing, consultation with learning specialists, and follow-up career counseling. We will make specific referrals to professionals in each of the above specialties who practice independently of Semester Off.
It is worth mentioning that the clinical background of our staff is of high value because they can communicate with other clinicians using a common language and nosology. This may include communicating with clinicians in the student health center from a student’s home college/university (with the student’s permission, of course).
+ How are parents involved in the Semester Off program?
We recognize that parents may also have a difficult time watching their “emerging adult” struggle during this period of their life, and we want to support them, as well. Parents are assigned a family liaison who checks in with them throughout the semester, and parents are encouraged to voice any concerns to their liaison at any time.
If it is believed that an enrolled student’s actions (or inactions) are disrupting their own or their classmates’ growth at Semester Off, then we may contact a student’s parents to assist us in our efforts to address these behaviors. Along those lines, if we believe that a student is trying to deceive us, then we may reach out to that student’s parents for clarification.
+ What happens if a student decides not to re-matriculate at the college or university from where they came?
While many students will return to their home college or university, others may realize that they would be happier elsewhere. As we get to know the student over the course of the semester, we will offer college choice assistance to help match them with an appropriate postsecondary institution. In consultation with a career counselor, we may ultimately recommend that a student not re-enroll in college if their particular profile warrants an alternative route.
+ How do you help students in the re-matriculation process?
Many schools have specific protocols in place for re-accepting students who have taken time away, particularly those students on a medical leave of absence. Throughout the Semester Off experience, we work with each student to complete the steps required for re-matriculation. As necessary, we draft letters in support of a student’s re-matriculation in which we describe the Semester Off curriculum, the student’s level of engagement and improvement, and our assessment of the student’s chances of success upon return.
+ What if I have other questions which were not addressed on the website?
Please contact us by phone or by email!