top of page


Reclass with our Gap Year

Athletes 1st Academy is dedicated to meeting the needs of elite student-athletes across the United States.


As a full-service independent study program, we are pleased to serve your athlete for a single Gap Year or for continuous full-time enrollment year after year.


Choose your level of service: Fully Independent, Consultation Support, Online Curriculum, and/or with Academic Support.


We are here to help your family choose the right options for your needs. 

The Gap Year 
Our Gap Year program is designed to give students in middle school or below the very best preparation for high school and is open to all students, athletes or otherwise.
Typically, the Gap Year is taken following 8th grade and before high school. However, your student may repeat any grade should your athletic association rules prohibit doing so in 8th grade. For example, PIAA in Pennsylvania passed a rule in 2023 that penalizes 8th-grade retention by restricting those students to 3 years of high school sports participation. 
If you feel that your child would benefit from an extra year of growth before entering high school,
our Gap Year may be right for you.
Gap Year students may
  • work athletic training into their school day,
  • explore interests and learning topics of importance to them,
  • advance their knowledge and skills,
  • fill holes in their prior learning,
  • integrate core subjects with other content areas,
  • gain skills that may have been lacking, 
  • build a creative Course of Study or follow a simple ready-made full curriculum either in print or online.
​If your student intends to re-enroll in a public high school after completing the Gap Year, be sure that your high school of choice supports your reclassification. If your student will attend a private high school, this should not be an issue for you.
Parents must carefully read and refer to their athletic federation's Constitution and By-Laws before making this big decision. 
Most state interscholastic athletic federation constitutions and ByLaws contain strict criteria for high school sports participation. Parents must read and follow those guidelines carefully. We urge families to contact their future High School Athletic director to answer any eligibility questions and to confirm that their Gap Year proposed Course of Study is acceptable and will not interfere with high school athletics' eligibility. As the teacher, the Parent makes all final decisions regarding each child's educational placement and homeschool plan. 
Rules to Watch For
  • Most state athletic federations allow students to participate in high school sports for a maximum of 8 continuous semesters once a student "is enrolled in high school." State rules may vary, such as those described above in Pennsylvania. Registering for high school classes during 8th grade typically does not constitute enrollment. Rather, "enrollment" is considered to have occurred if your student has attended a high school class (even for one day), engaged in summer athletic training/practice with the high school team, or participated as a high school student in other high school student-only activities.
  • Gap Year students may not work out with the high school team during the summer before the Gap year. This could trigger the eligibility clock, and the student could potentially become ineligible for athletic competition in 12th grade. Families should check the rules of their own states' athletic federations.
  • Gap Year students may not take high school courses to receive high school credit. If your student is ready for Algebra or other advanced courses, they should be taken as a middle-school student through a curriculum provider and not through a high school.​
  • Gap-year students should avoid contact with high school coaches at all times. While this may not trigger the clock, it could create an undue influence issue later and lead to disqualification.​​
Read your state athletic federation's rules carefully and contact the appropriate state office for guidance if necessary.
The Athletic Director of your future high school may also provide guidance. A1A and Talega Prep, our parent school, are NOT affiliated with any state's athletic federation and cannot offer legal advice, but we can assure you that in the ten+ years that we have been offering the Gap Year, we have had no issues with our students' participation in high school sports. 

Our Gap Year is as easy as 1, 2, 3

1. At the end of 8th grade, your child enrolls in the Athletes 1st Academy as an 8th-grade student for the following year. Students in earlier grades do likewise.

2. Choose and follow your curriculum plan throughout the Gap Year.

3. When the Gap Year is finished, your child enrolls at the high school of your choice as a 9th-grade student.

We do the rest.​


A1A will

  • obtain your child’s transcript and notify the previous school that you have enrolled in private school for the current year,

  • maintain your student records and ensure that your state's homeschool/independent study laws are being followed,

  • provide progress reports, report cards, or transcripts as needed for high school registration,

  • provide recommendations as needed for high school applications or registration, and

  • upon completion of the Gap Year, send your records to the high school as we would any other student. 

We recognize that many students are not ready for high school and may benefit from an extra year of growth before taking on this challenge. We support our families' decisions regarding high school readiness and believe that the parent is best suited to make this decision. 

Personal Consultations, curriculum planning, and online curriculum are available at an additional cost.


For more information about the 8th Grade Gap Year, see our blog here

For more information about homeschooling click  Talega Preparatory Academies to visit our primary website.

bottom of page