Friday, 6 January 2012

Allow Canadian students to defer their post-secondary acceptance based on a Gap Year

mygapyear is initiating an online petition to present to post-secondary institutions to encourage a shift towards a blanket deferment of acceptances on the basis of a structured gap year.  Please read the letter below and sign our petition (found to the right of this blog).

"Dear Minister of Colleges and Universities and Post-Secondary Registrar of Admissions,

On behalf of those who have signed below, we would like to request that you revisit the policies and procedures surrounding the deferment of post-secondary acceptances under the circumstances that the perspective student will be pursuing a structured gap year.

Gap years are a well accepted an supported transition in Europe and Australia, where there is a proven track record . Harvard and Princeton have recognized the value of this transition time and have created programs to embrace gap years. Research shows that gap years allow individuals to grow and develop a sense of responsibility, confidence and independence as well as gain a broader understanding of the world around them.  By issuing an offer of acceptance, colleges and universities have recognized the intellectual abilities of the individual, abilities that will grow, rather than diminish over the course of a gap year.  Upon returning from a gap year these students will be equally intelligent but will also have a better sense of commitment, of responsibility towards a community and a greater sense of maturity and self-confidence, all traits that will allow them to have a more meaningful educational experience that would benefit any post-secondary institution.

With students entering university/ college at a younger age , taking some time to gain maturity is a winning strategy. With first year drop out rates climbing ( according to Statistics Canada 30% of first year university students drop out and 1 in 7 college students ) taking a gap year can actually make young adults more focussed and ready for the challenges of academic life.
We believe that taking a gap year benefits the individual and will, in turn strengthen the community at your institution.  We look to you as leaders and stakeholders in Education to take a bold step and review your policies on deferment for students who want to take a gap year . We encourage you to look at the success that other jurisdictions enjoy because they value this rite of passage and know that it benefits both the student, the institution and future employers.

We request you re-examine the policies surrounding deferment and weigh them against the benefits to higher education as well as the growth of the individuals who need a gap year to develop to their full potential prior to attending post-secondary education."