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Vanguard: The Christian Gap Year of Wheaton College

Hear From Vanguards

Explore Your Calling with a Gap Year

Vanguard is the gap year program of Wheaton College for 17-19-year-olds seeking more than the status quo in their higher-education experience.

Build a vision for the future by bridging the gap between high school and college with a year unlike any other. You'll explore diverse cultures, navigate life's big questions, and live in a Christ-centered community. This year of hands-on education and leadership development will prepare you for the challenges of college and beyond.

Why a gap year?

Vanguard looks over Lake Superior during a backpacking trip

Dan Jones '16

"In addition to growing spiritually, mentally, and emotionally, I wanted to confirm God’s calling for me to enter fire service."

Vanguard at Northwoods fair smiling at camera

Tim Clark '17

"I’ve built meaningful relationships, broadened my global Christian perspective, learned more about relating to others, and formed a firm foundation in my faith – I have a wider sense of how God can work through me."

Vanguard stands in front of wood pile, smiling

Katherine Lehn '17

"I grew up a lot during Vanguard, I grew into a faith and a way of being in relationships with people that has entirely changed who I am."


A Christian Gap Year in a Camp Environment

Vanguard takes place at HoneyRock, the Outdoor Center for Leadership Development of Wheaton College. We leverage the camp environment to develop young adults into rooted, courageous, and humble leaders.

HoneyRock is located in the Northwoods of Wisconsin in the Nicolet National Forest on a chain of 28 lakes. It has over 900 acres of facilities and resources for activities, learning, and adventure. Since 1951, HoneyRock - owned and operated by Wheaton College - has provided college preparation, leadership development, and spiritual formation for youth and young adults. 

vanguards on log pile in northwoods wi
Interested in Vanguard?

Sign up and stay in the loop! Hear from our leadership, read stories from past Vanguards, and learn about unique distinctives Vanguard offers high school graduates. 

A Peek Into Vanguard Life

Our liberal arts approach sets us apart from any other program. When looking at other gap years, you'll notice how programs tend to build their year around a primary theme: community service, travel, work, or earning college credits. Don't get us wrong - these are all good things! That's why at Vanguard, we weave them together in an unparalleled experience that will launch Vanguards into college.

Play the videos below to hear Vanguards share their experience:

Cultural Immersion

Community Life

Inquiry-Led Learning

Faith Formation

Work Rotations

Winter in the Northwoods



What are you thinking?

Questions are good! You'll find a few ways to get more information, below. 

  • Check out our "Read the Research" page - we've collected a variety of articles for you!
  • Connect with Charlie Goeke, Vanguard Program Manager - email him to have a one on one conversation.

If you would rather email us for more info, use the link below to connect.

That's awesome! We're excited to continue the conversation - use the link below to apply.

That's okay, too. While the benefits of a gap year are numerous, it's not the right fit for everyone. Have you heard of Wheaton College?