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Maybe your son daughter is not quite ready to go on to university or community college in the Fall. Perhaps taking some time off is in their best interest. The stats show that 30% of graduating students are planning on taking a gap year.

The vast majority of our high school grads have spent a minimum of fourteen years in school. Some students are plainly bored and are not biting at the bit with the prospect of four more years attending a post secondary education.

In Europe many students, as a right of passage, have a gap year in between a secondary school education and university. Many young people travel quite reasonably to far off lands working and staying in hostels.

Germany, Switzerland, Israel have compulsory military service as part of the gap year experience.

Prince William built pathways in Chile and Prince and Harry worked as a farm hand in the Outback in Australia.

In Canada in the past it has been frowned on to take a year off from regular studies. To get out of the box of formal learning and replace it with experiencing a real life away from the college campus is not part of the North American mind set.

My cousin Ralph’ s son , Ben, studied Health Sciences at the University of Toronto. When he finished his second year of rigorous studies he jumped at the chance to spend a sixteen- month internship.

No more sitting in class preparing for tests and assignments. He moved to Toronto with his classmate, Josh, into an apartment working for a hospital. They learned to cook and balance their cheque books.

On the job experiences along with a decent salary can beat the hell out of attending classes.

Questions, Questions you ask. Will my son/daughter go on to complete their education? Taking a year on not off can make attending lectures a whole lot more meaningful when you return to school. Make sure that your son/daughter has a written plan with clear objectives to ensure that their time is spent wisely. If one is so inclined to get an education they will return to school refreshed and eager to learn.

Canada World Youth, www,cwy-jcm.org offers a six month program, three months in Canada and the rest oversees. Those chosen live with local families and volunteer on community projects. Latin America, Africa, Asia and Central and Eastern Europe are possible exchange sites.

The selection criteria are: to be open minded, having good judgement, being adaptable and ready to donate time and learn from the experience.

If you are planning on attending King’s/Huron/ Brescia University College/Western in the fall of 2019 you can ask them to defer your acceptance. There is a $200.00 deposit which guarantees your admission, scholarship ,residence that is applied to your fees for next year.

Learning does not necessarily have to have a formal school component. Work, travel , volunteering can offer wonderful real life experiences that can not be found in the classroom. So, students take an advantage of having a Victory Lap and take a Gap year.

Len Lesser is an education/career counsellor in Dorchester.

Len Lesser

Len Lesser posts a report every week

You can email Len at lenlesser@hotmail.com