8 Reasons to Take a Gap Year with William James College

Group of BSHC scholars smiling and laughing

The Behavioral Health Service Corps at William James College is a year-long, paid, service-learning opportunity. If you are considering taking a gap year after your undergraduate program or are looking for a career change, the BHSC might be the perfect program for you. Read on to see just some of the reasons to take a gap year with the Behavioral Health Service Corps.

1. Get a feel for the behavioral health field before committing to a long-term job or graduate program.

If you’ve never worked in the field of behavioral health, you might not be sure if it’s the right career choice for you. Before you commit to a multi-year graduate program or a job you don’t know if you’ll love, it can be helpful to get a sense of what the field is like. There are so many facets of psychology, counseling, and behavioral health and you might not know which one is best for you without trying it out. The BHSC is only a one-year commitment where you will become familiar with the work of behavioral healthcare and grow your understanding of the needs of different populations.

2. Receive an employment placement at one of our partner agencies.

All BHSC scholars will receive employment placement in a BA/BS level position at one of our partner agencies. We have opportunities in inpatient units, home-based services, residential treatment and recovery centers, among others. You will have options to work with a variety of underserved populations. Additionally, with the BHSC, you won’t be left alone to find a placement. We provide support at every step of the process.

3. Earn a salary during your year placement.

Taking a gap year can be difficult financially; however, through this program, you will receive a salary plus benefits from your employment placement. Employers will provide BHSC Scholars with four hours of release time each Friday to participate in their professional development and academic course at William James College delivered via Zoom.

4. Earn up to nine free graduate credits in the MA in Clinical Mental Health Counseling program.

The Behavioral Health Service Corps is not only an employment-based program—it also incorporates master’s level courses at no additional cost to you. As a BHSC scholar, you will enroll in two courses during your year in the program: COU CC524: Diversity, Difference, and Inclusion and COU CN520: Psychopathology. You will also receive a three-credit course voucher, which you can use for up to one year after completing the program as a non-matriculating student in the Master's in Clinical Mental Health Counseling Program at the College.

5. Receive support, mentoring, and professional development throughout the year.

Because the BHSC is a service-learning program aimed at giving scholars a hands-on introductory experience in the behavioral health field, the program incorporates support, mentorship, and professional development opportunities throughout the year.

For example, you will receive clinical supervisory support to help you while at your employment site and opportunities to connect with your cohort about your experiences. The mentorship in the program is provided by mental health professionals and faculty and the professional development opportunities include professional headshots, sessions on networking skills, LinkedIn tutorials, and more.

6. Qualify for a $15,000 Mass General Brigham-Funded BHSC Scholarship 

Behavioral Health Service Corps graduates who are admitted to a master’s or a doctoral degree program at William James College may apply for a $15,000 annual scholarship to defray the costs of tuition and fees.

As part of the College’s mission to expand and diversify the behavioral health workforce, the MGB-Funded BHSC Scholarships Program is intended to recruit, train, mentor, and retain providers from culturally diverse and historically marginalized communities who are committed to serving individuals, families, and groups in underserved communities throughout the Commonwealth of Massachusetts. You can learn more about this BHSC Scholarship Program, funded by Mass General Brigham, on our website.

7. Connect and network with your cohort and others in the field.

During your year in the BHSC, you will have many opportunities to connect with others in the field who share the same passion for service. You will form close bonds with others in your cohort, work side-by-side with behavioral health professionals at your employment site, and learn through direct mentoring from these professionals and other faculty members. You will be learning and working in the Boston area, giving you many opportunities to connect and network with your peers throughout the year.

8. Make a difference in the lives of others.

By now, you can see the many ways the Behavioral Health Service Corps can help you grow personally and professionally. In addition, and perhaps the most rewarding reason to consider the BHSC is that you will spend a year making a difference in the lives of others. All scholars in the program work with underserved populations and learn more about the critical needs that exist in behavioral health. The Behavioral Health Service Corps can help you see the gaps in care and find your place to help fill them.


If you would like to learn more about the Behavioral Health Service Corps, please reach out to servicecorps@williamjames.edu.


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