Semester Off Overview
Semester Off is an innovative, group-based, educational enrichment program crafted specifically for college students taking a semester- or year-long leave of absence from college. Drawing from Eastern and Western traditions and the most recent advances in mental health care, the Semester Off curriculum provides students with a supportive and challenging environment where they can better understand what interfered with their earlier attempt, or attempts, at college.
The program integrates academics, career counseling, community service, wellness practices (including yoga, meditation, and cardiovascular exercise), executive functioning coaching, and group team-building. It is specifically designed to be both enriching and fun! In essence, it is a place for students to pause, contemplate, learn valuable skills, and begin mapping a new trajectory for their academic, social, and professional lives.
Semester Off also runs summer programming which includes more abbreviated versions of the full-semester experience. Summer programming is designed specifically for recent high school graduates who may not have attempted college and who want to start college with the best chances for success!
There are many reasons a student may encounter difficulty in college. Students and college administrators most commonly cite basic academic unpreparedness, poor time-management, troubled relationships (including peer pressure), substance abuse, and identity issues (e.g., gender/sexuality or uncertainty about academic and career plans).
Semester Off was founded by Ilan P. Goldberg, MD, a board-certified, Harvard-trained psychiatrist and medical ethicist who maintains a private practice in the Boston area. Through his work with the college population in his own practice, he came to realize the lack of services available to these students.
A core belief at Semester Off is that each of our students has the inner potential to succeed given the right environment. For some, this means a more compassionate and empathic learning milieu to improve confidence and self-esteem. For others, this means a more structured setting where expectations are clear and concise and high standards of personal and academic conduct are reinforced. For all of our students, we will provide a respectful, nurturing space for learning and self-reflection and create a social latticework within which the student will develop a sense of belonging and connection.