A Gap Year

for high school grads

Real business

Real learning

Real opportunity

A year

That Will Set You Apart

College may not be for everyone at 18. For years, we’ve “packed ‘em up and shipped ‘em off” to “have the college experience” and “get an education.” But Covid-19 and the skyrocketing cost of tuition to get a degree is causing young people and their parents everywhere to ask, “Is there another way?”

The Leadership Academy Gap Year offers an alternative. It’s a structured, 1-year program for high school graduates to work in real companies while getting paid, receive mentoring from entrepreneurs and executives, and obtain an education in both life and business. 

What is

The Program?

Real Work and Real Pay

Entrepreneurial Education

Real World Crash Course


The Nuts & Bolts

Why gap?

The cost of a college education is sky-rocketing – it’s up 1400% over the last 40 years without much innovation in the product itself. 

While it’s valuable for very specific industries, roles, and people, the vast majority of young people enter college without a clear understanding of their purpose in higher education. They leave with debt that isn’t rational given the jobs for which their majors qualify them. For many bright, ambitious young people, college doesn’t make sense as a first step straight out of high school.

  • They may not be ready to wisely and productively invest $50-$100k+ in selecting a course of education;
  • They may not fit the mold of in-class learning for four years;
  • They may find they do much better with on-the-job learning and development;
  • They may not thrive in the conformity of a traditional college approach by temperament or work style.


Add in Covid-19’s impact on college, and the question arises, “What are we paying so much for?” given the uncertainty of outcomes.

As entrepreneurs, we believe in identifying great talent and developing that talent.

We want to invest in these young people to help them grow personally and professionally and exit their gap year with greater clarity about who they are, where they’re going, and how they can get there. 

Best Case

You spend a year around high-achieving, high integrity people and learn a lot about small business operations, while developing friendships with your leadership cohort.

You fall in love with small business.

You find an industry and maybe a company you want to work in long term.

Worst Case

You spend a year around high-achieving, high integrity people and learn a lot about small business operations while developing friendships with your leadership cohort.

You learn more about yourself–what you’re good at and like doing and what you’re not good at and don’t enjoy doing.

You head off to college having earned money and better defined where you’re headed.

Included in the program:

  • Opportunity to earn a living wage vs. going into debt while partying and missing classes.
  • Option to pursue an associate’s degree during or after the program through Peloton U. This enables you to transfer into a 4-year program with core credits out of the way and real-world experience under your belt to attain a bachelor’s degree at lower cost.
  • Real world work experience
  • “Shadow Days” to follow businessmen and women around to learn about their industry and function
  • A curriculum of books and resources from Leadership Academy
  • Speakers with specific domain expertise on sales, marketing, finance, operations, people management, and industries. 

What does it pay?

Approximately $28,000 annually


Where will it be?

Austin, Texas

The Capital City of the Lone Star State. Come and enjoy our world-famous BBQ, the greatest live music in the nation, and rub shoulders with entrepreneurs from around the globe.


The Right Person?


  • You must be a high school graduate and have a proven track record in both academics (e.g. high GPA of 3.0 or above) and leadership (e.g. athletics, student government, etc.).
  • You must have proven ability to thrive in difficulty. Sitting still is scarier than hard work. You have always stretched yourself to your limits through extracurriculars, leadership programs, or athletics. You thrive when you have a full plate and enjoy being stretched.


  • You must have an internal drive to learn. You understand that learning, experience, and wisdom are integral to success and are the most important things you can obtain right now.
  • You must love helping and serving people.
  • You must have personal integrity. Having fun is fine. Being irresponsible is not.


  • You must be likable. It’s hard to succeed in the business world if your customers don’t like you.
  • You must be a strategic, long-term thinker. You succeed through endurance, high standards, character, and patience.
  • You understand that small business is one of the best ways to gradually build personal wealth with hard work and serving clients well, while maintaining autonomy over your life and affording you more control over your time around family and community.


We only accept the top 7 applicants each year. 

Yes. The program is very competitive.

Applications are closed for the 2021 Cohort. Fill out the form above if you’re interested in future cohorts.​

Interested in future cohorts?