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Tufts University 1+4 Bridge Service-Year Program

Redefining—and democratizing—the bridge year

An innovative new program at Tufts combines the transformational experience of a year spent in public service with the university’s commitment to educate global citizens.

Take the well-known benefits of a bridge year between high school and college—improved academic achievement and increased motivation and maturity. Add Tufts’ dedication to service and equal access to education. The result: a visionary “1+4” program that enables incoming Tufts students to engage in an academic year of full-time national or international service—and to extend the lessons and growth of that transformative year throughout their undergraduate experience.

Diverse fellows, global impact

The 1+4 program builds directly on Tufts’ core values, reinforcing longstanding commitments to active citizenship, national and global impact, and access to education.

  • Students who have been admitted to Tufts University are eligible to apply to the inaugural 1+4 program, which expects to admit up to 50 program fellows for the 2015-2016 academic year.
  • Tufts is committed to broadening the transformative potential of the bridge-year experience beyond the affluent segment of the population that has typically taken advantage of gap-year opportunities. The university has promised to provide necessary funding for any student admitted to the 1+4 program who would not otherwise be able to participate.
  • 1+4 fellows gain direct experience with innovative approaches to local and global challenges—including social entrepreneurship—that will strengthen their academic and co-curricular experiences at Tufts.
  • The Jonathan M. Tisch College of Citizenship and Public Service leads the program, drawing on its expertise as a national leader in civic education and in preparing Tufts students for lifelong civic engagement.

Transformational education, meaningful service

The Tufts 1+4 program provides participants with the unique chance to immerse themselves in new communities and cultures, deepening their understanding of social problems, while staying connected to Tufts through innovative programming and digital learning technologies.

  • 1+4 fellows will develop problem-solving and real-world leadership skills.
  • Hands-on experiences will help participants shape their focus for future academic study and career exploration.
  • Participants will benefit from a cohort dedicated to service in the U.S. and around the globe.
  • Communities will benefit from Tufts’ 1+4 program in significant, tangible ways. Examples of likely national and international service by 1+4 fellows include:
  • Mentoring and tutoring at-risk children in urban schools in the U.S. with high dropout rates
  • Helping women in rural communities in developing countries apply for microloans to start small businesses
  • Working to help rebuild communities in the Philippines devastated by floods

Leading the way: A new vision of service

The Tufts 1+4 program will partner with established service organizations to provide fellows with rewarding national and international service opportunities. The program’s focus on a structured academic year of full-time service, along with the university’s commitment to expanding access to the bridge-year experience, changes both the perception and the reality of the traditional gap year.

  • An intensive selection process and closely monitored partnerships ensure program quality.
  • All collaborating programs will provide training and support to participants under Tufts’ guidance and ensure that there are substantial benefits to participants as well as to host communities.
  • The 1+4 program answers a call to action on a national level to develop a tradition of service among young adults.

The 1+4 difference

  • Tufts’ 1+4 program affords participants transformational experiences during their year of sustained service and during the full length of their undergraduate programs.
  • Tufts’ commitment to providing funding to students who otherwise could not afford the expense of a bridge year distinguishes the 1+4 program from other bridge-year programs.
  • Unlike many gap-year programs, Tufts’ 1+4 program creates opportunities for both national and international service.
  • 1+4 fellows receive intensive on-campus training in civic and leadership skills prior to departure.
  • Partnerships with collaborating organizations are carefully monitored to ensure that 1+4 fellows are matched with high-quality service opportunities.
  • The 1+4 program is thoughtfully integrated into students’ experiences back on campus, extending its transformative potential across the university.