Year Course FAQ

Answers to all of your important questions about Year Course

Applying to Year Course

Application and Acceptance

What is the Application Process?

The Year Course application is similar to a college application. We request an official high school transcript, an autobiographical essay, and two references.

When I Will Be Notified of My Acceptance?

Candidates with completed applications will be interviewed and then will be notified regarding their acceptance.

What is the Application Deadline?

Applications will be accepted on a rolling basis until July 1, 2022. Applications received late in the season may impact notification of your admissions status, and may make it difficult to accommodate participants’ requests regarding section and volunteer placements, etc.

I'm an Israeli Citizen - Can I Come on Year Course?

If a Year Course participant has Israeli citizenship, it is essential that they obtain the year-long deferment from military service as well as a valid Israeli passport prior to departure. Israeli citizens should be aware that they cannot stay in the country for more than 12 months without endangering their future immigrant rights if they choose to move to Israel. Compliance with applicable laws is the responsibility of the participant. Year Course cannot accept responsibility for the sufficiency of this information or its applicability in any particular situation.

Am I Guaranteed Acceptance?

Most Year Course applicants are accepted. Our goal is to accept as many people as possible, as long as they meet the acceptance criteria. We do everything we can during the application process to ascertain that the applicant and the Year Course program are right for each other.

Can You Accomodate Applicants with Physical Disabilities?

Year Course is committed to balancing our desire to accommodate all eligible students with an honest assessment of reasonable accommodations. We approach physical challenges on a case by case basis, discussing the potential challenges and available accommodations with the family so that we can make the best decision together.

Is There a Minimum GPA for Acceptance?

In order to be eligible to receive credits for studies on Year Course through American Jewish University, applicants must have a high school GPA of 2.0 or higher. Attendance and active participation in classes on Year Course is mandatory, even for those taking classes on a not-for-credit basis

Can I Speak with Alumni in My Area?

Likely yes, please contact our enrollment office directly and we will put you in touch with an alum in your area. If there are no available alumni in your area we are happy to put you in touch with an alum from elsewhere.

Does Everyone Get their First Choice of Section?

The two sections of Year Course are made up of the same components— Jerusalem, Tel Aviv-Yafo, and Adventure Month. Young Judaea makes the best effort to accommodate all section requests, but reserves the right to make individual placements based on availability and other factors. Section announcements generally occur in late June/early July.

Does Year Course Support LGBTQIA+ Participants?

Yes. Young Judaea prides itself on a founding principal of pluralism and strives to be a safe and welcoming place for all students regardless of sexual or gender orientation. In any give year we have students and staff who identify passively or actively with the LGBTQ community.

the financials

Tuition and Costs

What is Included in the 'Basic' Year Course Tuition?

Included in the Year Course cost are accommodations, all meals in Jerusalem and some groceries in Tel Aviv, health insurance, academic courses, and field trips. Additional fees for specialty tracks include all of the enrichment activities throughout the year, including workshops, excursions and courses, specialty staff and teachers. The additional cost for Olami includes round trip airfare between Tel Aviv and each of the Olami track destinations, accommodations and meals in each country, and preparatory weekend seminars prior to each trip.

Are Scholarships Available?  How Do I Apply?

Yes. In order to be eligible, you must submit a separate scholarship application by the deadline. First round deadline is typically February 1. Second round deadline is typically April 1. For more information about Young Judaea/Hadassah Scholarships, contact We encourage you to contact your local Jewish Federation, synagogue, and any other local organizations (including non-Jewish ones) for additional scholarship opportunities.

The education


Will I Earn College Credit on Year Course?

Year Course participants can choose to earn up to a year’s worth of college credits. The academic program is supervised by Hebrew College and accredited through the New England Commission on Higher Education (NECHE). The minimum GPA required for eligibility to earn credits on Year Course is 2.0.  Participants have the option not to earn college credit.

Can I Apply to College While on Year Course?

Yes. There are participants every year who apply to college while on Year Course. Our staff are frequently asked to write letters of recommendation or preview/edit admissions essays and are happy to help whenever possible.

Are the Credits Transferable to Any College or University?

This depends on the college that the student attends after Year Course. Many Year Course participants have been able to transfer some or all of the credits received while on Year Course. Applicants should check with each university to which they are applying and ask what their policy is. Applicants can show the universities the academic course descriptions located on the Year Course website.

Will Classes meet General College Course Requirements?

Year Course does not offer the opportunity to take science or math courses because there is not enough time in the program. However, most schools have a language requirement and everyone on Year Course studies Hebrew. In addition, many of our courses might fulfill electives in the History and Philosophy departments in a liberal arts program and/or a humanities or general breadth requirement. See our course descriptions and syllabi for more details about our courses.

Should I Apply to College Before Going on Year Course?

We advise that Year Course participants apply to college while in their senior year of high school and request to defer admission for one year. Many universities are more than happy to do this but applicants are responsible to check with the school to see what the policy is. Some universities will not allow credit to be transferred if it is earned during a deferred year. In this case, the applicant can often reapply while in Israel in order to get the maximum transferred credit possible.

What Types of Courses Are Offered on Year Course?

We offer courses in the areas of Hebrew language study, history, literature, philosophy,  arts and political science.

How Much Time is Spent Studying Hebrew?

Hebrew plays an important part throughout the year. Intense daily Ulpan (Hebrew Study) occurs in Jerusalem. There are many additional opportunities during Year Course for participants to hone their Hebrew skills. Living, volunteering, and exploring constantly surrounded by Israelis is the best way to pick up Hebrew conversational skills. Many participants come away from the program speaking Hebrew (even those who entered knowing little or no Hebrew).

Can You Accomodate Students with Learning Disabilities?

Every year there are participants on the program who have learning disabilities. Your teen should inform the Education Director and instructors of particular issues and be prepared to self-advocate. Our faculty are generous with accommodations for extra time, verbal instructions and other common requests. Your teen should submit their IEP or 504 plan as part of the application so our Education Team in Israel can have the proper information. Our staff may be able to work with your teen to help them succeed in the academic program. We encourage and expect our participants to take the initiative on these issues.

I Attended a Jewish Day School. Will I be Bored in Class?

Hebrew classes are sectioned according to a placement exam. We have also made special arrangements in the past for students who are proficient enough in Hebrew that they are above the level of our Ulpan. With a diverse student body we sometimes find that we have students excelling in the same classroom where other students are struggling. Our staff and faculty are all eager to help each individual student gain as much as possible out of this experience and will often adapt the course for an individual to meet their needs.

Where you'll live

Housing and Jewish Life

What is the Housing Like Throughout the Year?

Living with roommates will be a new experience for many Year Course participants. This helps our students develop life skills that will serve them well in Israel and in life. In Tel Aviv-Yafo, most of our participants live together on two different campuses. In Jerusalem, participants live in dorms at the Machon Institute. Each suite in both Jerusalem and Tel Aviv-Yafo has its own bathroom and shower.

How Many Roommates Will I Have?

In Tel Aviv, participants generally have two other roommates and up to six suitemates. In Jerusalem, there are four participants per suite.

I am Religiously Observant.  How Does That Work?

That depends. Year Course is a pluralist program by ideology and intentional design. Our staff and participants represent a wide range of religious identifications and observances. Any time food is provided in Israel by the program it is certified kosher. There is rarely mandatory programming on a holiday or shabbat and in those few instances where we do hold programming, it is shabbat friendly. It is also very common for our students to gather on a Friday night for a communal meal, sometimes with and sometimes without traditional blessings. After the meal it is common for some students to go out while others opt to stay in. The shabbat atmosphere varies widely from year to year, semester to semester, sometimes weekend to weekend and is dependent on the culture that the participants develop on their own. Our participants have access to a wide range of options if they are interested in weekly or daily prayer. There is not required regular davening on the program.

Does Year Course Observe Kosher Dietary Laws?

Any food served in public forums by the program is certified kosher. Participants in Tel Aviv are provided with two sets of dishes and cooking utensils. Specific kitchens and areas are supervised by Rabbi Adam Drucker and other areas are managed at the discretion of the participants. It is against the rules of the program to bring unkosher food items into the kitchens. When participants are out on their own, kosher dietary laws are not enforced.

Applying to Year Course

Medical and Health

What Type of Insurance Coverage Does Year Course Offer?

Medical services and insurance coverage for certain illnesses and injuries while in Israel (and abroad on an Olami trip) are covered by the local health insurance provided by Year Course. Insurance fees are included in the program tuition. Further details regarding health coverage (including differences in coverage provided in Israel and provided on the Olami trips) will be provided during the application process.

What Happens if a Participant Gets Sick on Year Course?

If your teen becomes ill, it is important that they take the initiative to let the madrich/a (group leader) know. If your teen would like to see a doctor, the madrich/a will help him/her to arrange an appointment. In most instances, the medical coverage Year Course provides will cover all doctor visits (as long as proper procedure is followed—it works similar to an HMO in the US). Some illnesses (i.e. pre-existing ones) and tests may not be covered by the health insurance provider, which is why Year Course requires that participants maintain personal medical insurance while on Year Course.

Will I Be Able to Fill Prescriptions in Israel?

If possible, you should bring a year’s supply of medication to Israel. If it’s not possible to fill a year’s supply in advance, students will need to bring a prescription from their doctor, including the generic name of the drug. They will then need to see a doctor in Israel to get a prescription that will be honored by Israeli pharmacies. It is important to note that the cost will not be covered by the Year Course insurance, therefore, students will need to be prepared to pay. Alternatively, if friends or family are planning on visiting during the year, they can bring refills of the prescription with them. Participants or parents should check with their physician and insurance company in regard to specific drugs available in Israel.

Should I Stop Taking My Medication Before Year Course?

Year Course is NOT the appropriate venue to experiment with a medical regimen. Students taking medication for any number of physical or mental health issues should maintain the same medical regimen while on Year Course. Year Course works with several psychiatrists who can meet with students and evaluate their medical regimen, prescribe new medicine or refills for existing medicine. Psychiatric visits are not covered by Year Course insurance, therefore, your teen will need to be prepared to pay at the time of the visit.

staying safe

Security and Supervision

What Kind Of Supervision is there During the Year?

The safety and security of Year Course participants is our primary concern. Young Judaea has a designated security officer and committee that constantly review and update our security procedures. We retain as consultant the head of security of the Israeli Society for the Protection of Nature – the agency responsible for field trips throughout the country. That consultant is in daily contact with all of Israel’s security services. We also receive, in real time, all security alerts posted Masa Israel Journey. Young Judaea may at times take security measures which are in advance of and/or exceed those recommended by external bodies.

Are Participants Allowed to Use Public Transportation?

Year Course participants are allowed to use public transportation within the current year’s security guidelines. However, we reserve the right to restrict travel if the security situation warrants it.

Are Participants Allowed into the Old City? The West Bank?

In general, Year Course participants are allowed to go to the Jewish Quarter of the Old City. They are not allowed to enter the West Bank without permission of the director of Year Course AND parental consent communicated to the YC Director no less than 48 hours before the expected travel (subject to change depending on the security situation). Participants are not allowed to enter the Gaza Strip or any areas within the West Bank under Palestinian Authority control.

What is the Policy on Drug Use and Drinking?

We have a zero tolerance policy to drugs, including both the misuse of prescription drugs as well as the use of illegal drugs. Our participants are legally allowed to drink alcohol, assuming they are over 18, and we continuously educate about responsible drinking. We expect our students to act responsibly.

getting ready

Passports and Travel

Do I need a Passport?

You are responsible for applying for a passport or renewing your current passport. If you have not already done so, check your passport to make certain it is valid and does not expire prior to December 2025. If your passport does expire before this time, the Israeli Ministry of the Interior may not grant you an extended tourist visa and you will need to apply for a new passport within three months of your arrival in Israel in order to remain in the country legally. If you do not have a passport or need to renew your current one, please do so immediately! Passport issuance and delivery takes approximately six weeks. Be sure to make two photocopies of your passport, one to keep at home and one to bring with you.

Do I need a Visa?

If you are not an Israeli citizen, then you are required to apply and receive a Visa in order to legally stay in Israel for the year. More information regarding the visa application process will be shared during the registration process.

I'm an Israeli Citizen or the Child Of Israeli Citizens

Israeli law states that a child born to an Israeli citizen is automatically an Israeli citizen, even if the child was born outside of Israel. Furthermore, Israelis are required by law to enter and leave Israel using their Israeli passport. Therefore, those citizens who enter Israel as tourists on non-Israeli passports are in violation of Israeli law. If you have Israeli citizenship, either because you were born in Israel or because your parent(s) have Israeli citizenship, you should obtain the following two documents before departure:

A valid Israeli passport
A year-long deferment from military service

The law is complicated and only the Israeli Embassy or Consulates can give you accurate advice on your citizenship status and the necessary documents you will need. Chanichim who have or potentially have Israeli citizenship, and chanichim who have or whose parent(s) have an Israeli Mispar Zehut (Identity Number), are advised to contact the nearest Israeli consulate. Please be aware that the staff in Israel will not be responsible for extending illegal tourist visas.

My Passport is from a Country Besides the US or Canada

Participants traveling without an American or Canadian passport must contact the nearest Israeli consulate or embassy to determine what travel documents you will need. It is your responsibility to obtain the requisite travel documents or visas. If you need documentation to prove your participation on Year Course, e-mail or call 1-866-599-2534.

Why Year Course?

What is the benefit of coming on Year Course vs. starting college this fall?

We have always believed that choosing Year Course after high school is one of the most important decisions you can make for yourself – and our more than 10,000 alumni would agree! When this crisis began, college and university students were forced to return home during the semester, and some of the best college experiences – campus life, in-person learning, social activities, and more – were cancelled. We have heard that following the difficulty and disappointment of the last few months, applicants are looking for something different – an adventurous experience with real meaning and value that they can share with peers from around the world. In short – they are looking for Year Course!

There are a lot of different gap year programs in Israel – why should I choose Year Course?

Nearly 10,000 participants have joined us in Israel since 1956. We are the original Israel gap year, and we are proud to be the standard by which other gap years in Israel have created their own programs. Our commitment to high-quality, experiential education and programming is at the core of the Year Course experience. We guide our participants to grow as citizens and as leaders, to commit themselves to making the world a better a place, and to prepare for adulthood. With our immersive approach to life in Israel, participants spend a year as members of Israeli society, connecting to Israeli and Jewish peoplehood and history and finding inspiration in Israel’s innovation, modernity, and culture.

I need more time to make a decision about next year. What is the deadline to apply to YC?

We have a rolling application timeline for Fall 2024, but given the increase in applications for the coming year, strongly encourage you to apply as early as possible so that we can work with you to set up your year the way you want it to look.

My family’s circumstances have changed, and I’m not sure I can afford YC. Can you help?

We work with all our families to help them find ways to fund their Year Course participation, and we know this coming year may look different for some. We encourage you to reach out to us for more information on available scholarships, grants, discounts, and other sources of funding.