FAQ: Lagom Gap Year

What is the Lagom Landing Gap Year?

What does “Lagom” mean? Where does your name come from?
Seed money for this project came from a farm settled by Swedish immigrants, so we chose a uniquely Swedish adjective for our name.

Lagom (LAH-gome) describes the Swedish ideal of viewing things as “good enough,” or “just the right amount.”

It is a state of living that appreciates moderation and balance. In the face of a self-serving and consumption-driven culture, we strive to live lives of generosity, subsistence, and authentic experience. We maintain hope that through community and kinship we will always have “just the right amount.”  Our program is designed to instill the spirit of Lagom in students, who leave more at peace with the bounty of life than when they came.

What is a Gap Year?
A gap year is a period of time when students take a break from formal education to travel, volunteer, study, intern, or work. Lagom Landing FAQ - Reasons for Taking a Gap YearMany high school students face significant peer, parental, and school pressure to go directly to college. However, some students simply are not ready for college or would prefer to create their own path. We believe the choice of a gap year can be the most valuable decision of a young adult’s life. Not only can it save families from investing a small fortune in unfocused years of college, but it also saves young people from the feeling that they are not yet ready to contribute to their world. Want to learn more about the value of a gap year? Read an article by our board member and alumnus, or look at the research on the benefits of taking a gap year! (“Most Significant Influences when Deciding to Take a Gap Year” below.)

What does a typical student day look like?
We do not begin our programming until 9 am each day and encourage that students use their morning hours to engage physically by taking a hike, bike, or ski. Breakfast is eaten independently before we gather each morning for “Morning Watch”, a time for personal and communal reflection which students and staff take turns leading. Three days a week are spent in the wood-shop/on a construction site (Monday, Wednesday, Friday). Tuesdays and Thursdays students either work on the Lagom land, in the kitchen, or volunteering in the community with one of our many friends and partners. Students alternate cooking dinner, which we eat together around 6:30 pm. Over dinner, we ask the question, “What brought me life today? What took away life?” Answering these questions throughout the year helps us gain clarity about our life direction and how we best thrive. Evenings are generally students’ time to enjoy as they please on or off-site, with occasional field trips offered. While this is a “typical day”, our 9-month program includes much more than just the typical, learn more about the Lagom experience!

What do Lagom students do after their gap year?
After spending 9 months exploring their strengths and building their skills, students go on in many different directions with more confidence and focus in their next steps. Some apply to academic programs while at Lagom Landing, and have gone on to community colleges, SUNY Geneseo, and The University of Pennsylvania. Many students set a goal of living independently after Lagom Landing, and the program helps them learn to budget and save for the expenses of an apartment and keeping a car on the road.  Graduates’ new-found ability to fix things around the house and cook their own meals is beneficial not only to themselves and their pocketbooks, but to family, friends, and their community. Students find it easier to step into the world of full-time work after nine months at Lagom Landing focusing on work ethic, time-management, and other soft-skills. Students prepare for success in these next challenges through their internships and self-directed study. Our alumni are always willing to talk to potential students and share more about their experience with Lagom Landing—let us know if you’d like to be in touch with one!

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Who is the Program for?

Is this program only for men?

Jadzia stands with a door that she designed and built in the Lagom Landing Furniture Making unit.

Lagom Landing is committed to actively fighting gender-based ideas about career roles, and contributing to the fact that more women are entering the skilled trades every day. We are happy to work with females interested in entering the trades or simply gaining life-skills through our program. Ours is also an LGBTQ+ welcoming community, and our program is designed to be a safe space for all individuals’ personal development. We believe that the gift of working with your hands is empowering for every person.

What if I am not used to “country living”?
It’s true, our small and rural program is not a great fit for everybody. If being 15 minutes from the nearest fast-food and 40 minutes from the nearest city (Rochester, NY) makes you nervous, you may have a hard time adjusting.

Lagom Landing students work together to spread mulch on our mandala shaped permaculture garden.
Lagom Landing students work together to spread mulch on our mandala shaped permaculture garden.

However, many of our students have come from urban and suburban backgrounds. We strive to build community with our neighbors and take advantage of many public events near and far throughout the year. If you are seeking more connection to what we call “the real”, nature and the labor of living, spending 9 months building community in a rural setting may be Lagom (just right) for you!

Is this program only for Christians?
No, our programming is appropriate for people of all backgrounds who are open to asking themselves spiritual questions. Although directors Rock and Laurel are Christian, our community is made up of people from diverse spiritual backgrounds. We believe that developing an individual sense of spirituality is a central piece of identity formation in young people, and have no requirements for students other than a willingness to learn from and participate at times in other traditions.

What are the academic pre-requisites?
We are proud to be running a program that is more interest
in your personal motivation than your academic history. While many students come to Lagom Landing having completed high-school, we have also worked with students who had not.Lagom Landing Student poses with his High School Equivalency certificate, earned during his gap year. Since our program has a lot of free time built in and flexibility for individualized experiences, these students were able to complete this academic achievement during their gap year. You will find that our application process is more geared towards understanding who you are and want to become, rather than what you scored on any test. This way we ensure that you are a good fit for our holistic approach to learning, which focuses on the mind, body, and spirit. 

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Cost and Logistics?

How much does the program cost?
Tuition (which includes all housing, meals, activities, and instruction) for the program (which runs from September to June) is $900/month for a total of $8,100, with scholarships available. This is considerably less than the average tuition at a community college, and we include room/board!

Fees: There is a security deposit of $450 for our on-site living spaces, and an additional materials fee of $250 due in the January woodworking unit to cover hardwood and other resources involved in building a complex piece of furniture. Students will be able to take home their creations.

How does one qualify for and request tuition assistance?
We are grateful to the generous donors who make it possible for us to provide financial aid to those who need it. Please do not let financial concerns keep you from applying and benefitting from Lagom Landing’s program. Many of our students receive some level of financial assistance based on their household income and personal situation. If you cannot pay the full tuition for our program,  just let us know that you would like to discuss our scholarships when you begin the application process. We are happy to work with you and your family to determine an appropriate level of assistance.

Is my tuition tax-deductible?
Tuition is not tax-deductible according to IRS standards. You are receiving services for your money, therefore we cannot issue a tax-deductible receipt to you or your family.

Do I need to pay the whole amount before I begin Lagom Landing?
No, you can pay tuition on a monthly basis. Only your security deposit of $450  will be due upon acceptance to secure your place in the program.

Can I use a 529 Educational Savings account to pay for Lagom Landing tuition?
Lagom Landing is not an eligible recipient of these types of funds. If you elect to utilize a 529 account to pay for our services, this would be considered a non-qualified distribution and may be subject to income tax and a 10% penalty on the earnings portion of the withdrawal. Non-qualified 529 distributions may also be subject to recapture if a state tax deduction was claimed.

What are the program dates and what Holidays/breaks are observed?
Lagom Landing observes a schedule that roughly mimics the collegiate calendar, starting in early September and ending in early June. We observe a Holiday Break for three weeks from late December to mid-January and a one week Winter Break in late February or early Mary. There is also time off for Thanksgiving. Many national holidays, such as Martin Luther King Jr. Day, are program days that may be spent observing/learning about the Holiday by engaging with our community rather than working. For a detailed schedule, please begin a conversation with us!

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