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Graduating Students

Gap Year Inclusive Designation

Recruit from a pool of over 25,000 Canadian gap year students and increase student retention as a Gap Year Inclusive Institution.

Receive your Gap Year Inclusive Designation and connect your school to a growing community of students looking to take intentional time off before and during their post-secondary studies.

Students want universities that best suit their needs, and that includes supporting their decision to take intentional time off.

During the 2023-24 school year, the top 4 reasons gap year students were taking time off included:

  1. To gain work experience

  2. To earn money for post-secondary education

  3. To travel 

  4. To focus on their mental health and wellness

 

Data sources from Canadian Gap Year Associations 2024 mid-gap year survey

 

Students are actively seeking opportunities to improve financial security and ready themselves to join the workforce, and yet most universities are behind in updating their policies to benefit from students engaging in a gap year - a practical self-led experiential learning opportunity.

College Students on Break

Universities without proper gap year policies are missing out on recruiting and retaining students who have taken intentional gap time to prepare for post-secondary studies.

According to the 2020 Gap Year Association’s Alum Report, 95% of students responded that a gap year prepared them well for their transition into post-secondary studies and the workforce. In addition, 78% of students responded that their gap year influenced their choice of post-secondary program.

 

This dedication to goal setting, career planning and broadened life experience should be rewarded. That’s why gap year students are seeking out universities that offer deferrals and provide incentive for them to return to campus - including deferring admissions, gap year specific scholarships, and connecting them to other experiential and international academic opportunities.

What is the Gap Year Inclusive Institution Designation?

First, it’s important we state what the Canadian Gap Year Association defines as a gap year: 

 

A gap year is an intentional period of time spent away from formal education for a young person to get “real world” experience and understand who they are outside of a classroom. A gap year can be taken right after high school or in-between years of post-secondary studies.

 

The Gap Year Inclusive Institution Designation (GYII) is an annual certification by the Canadian Gap Year Association that highlights your institution’s culture of valuing the unique needs and experiences of gap year students. Where their alternative pathway is treated as equal to those who don’t take an intentional break.

 

In fact, as a school with the GYII designation, you are incentivizing students to consider taking a break and rewarding them for it knowing they will return with more focus, more confidence, and a diversified skill set that will make them better students and provide them a competitive advantage in the workforce - like Harvard University.

 

As a Gap Year Inclusive Institution, your school will:

Connect with an annually renewing audience of over 25K students, families and Gap Year Aware educators and guidance teams across Canada

Feature in CanGap print and digital marketing materials, including a dedicated landing page on our website and within our Gap Year Inclusive Institution database

Generate warm leads from in-person leadership events and camps on your campus

Certification Tiers

Become a 2024-25 founding member of the Gap Year Inclusive Institution Certification and become a top choice by gap year students for the 2025/26 school year. All tiers are equally priced providing your institution the opportunity to scale up easily from Bronze to Gold after submitting your application.  

BRONZE
$5000 CAD +HST

  • Gap Year Inclusive  Institution - Bronze Level Badge

  • “Gap Year Inclusive Institution” database listing (hosted on CanGap.ca)

  • Listing provided to CanGap’s network of high school guidance teams across Canada

  • Mention in 1 newsletter and social media post at key recruitment times

SILVER
$5000 CAD +HST

  • Gap Year Inclusive  Institution - Silver Level Badge

  • “Gap Year Inclusive Institution” database listing (hosted on CanGap.ca)

  • Listing provided to CanGap’s network of high school guidance teams across Canada

  • Mentions in our tri-annual gap year Professional Development sessions for educators

  • Mentions in all Gap Year Information sessions and Gap Year Expos

  • Mention in 2 newsletters and social media posts at key recruitment times

GOLD
$5000 CAD +HST

  • Gap Year Inclusive  Institution - Gold Level Badge

  • “Gap Year Inclusive Institution” database listing (hosted on CanGap.ca)

  • Personalized landing page on CanGap.ca with in-depth institutional information

  • Listing provided to CanGap’s network of high school guidance teams across Canada

  • Mentions in our tri-annual gap year Professional Development sessions for educators

  • Mentions in all Gap Year Information sessions and Gap Year Expos

  • Promotion of Gap Year Scholarships on all social and email channels

  • Mention in 2 newsletters and social media posts at key recruitment times

  • Opportunity to host CanGap lead leadership events and camps on your campus

How the designation
process works

1. Register to apply

By registering below, you'll receive an application form and a link to book a mandatory call with our team and share detailed next steps.
 

2. Book a 30-minute orientation call.

During this call, we’ll walk your team through the criteria and how to compile documentation for proof for qualifications.​

3. Review criteria guidelines

Following our call, you’ll receive a step-by-step guidebook walking you through the process .

(Process: 1 - 2 weeks)

4. Submit your application

Once you’ve completed all steps, you will submit all certification criteria via an application form.

(Revision: up to 2 weeks)

A non-refundable deposit of 50% is required after your consultation call and the balance is due upon successful attainment of your Bronze, Silver or Gold Designation.

How to qualify for each level and maintain your designation

The Gap Year Inclusive Institution Designation is an annual certification, therefore, every year you have the opportunity to move up a level - this includes accessing support from our team to obtain a Gold Certification.

 

For more information on how we can support your institution, click here.

  • I need a better understanding of what a gap year is.
    A gap year is an intentional period of time spent away from formal education for a young person to get “real world” experience and understand who they are outside of a classroom. A gap year can be taken right after high school or in-between post-secondary studies. Watch this quick 2-minute video OR listen in to this episode of The Gap Year Podcast. We also recommend getting a first hand experience of CanGap and how we work (and why!) at one of our upcoming virtual or in-person events. Our Gap Year Expo is a gapper favorite with the opportunity to hear from our gap year expert team, program partners, and connect with other students considering a gap year. Expos run virtually and in-person in Toronto, Calgary, and Vancouver. Register for an upcoming event at this link here.
  • I need help understanding how to support my teen.
    The CanGap Parent Corner is a safe, non-judgemental community of parents who don’t have “it all figured out” but want to find the best way to support their kid in transitioning from a teenager into a happy, healthy & successful young adult (that moves out of your house). Some days it’s an extra coffee (or a glass of wine), some days it’s a shoulder to cry on, while others it is gathering more information and resources – we all need support in this journey. Learn more and join us in Heartbeat.
  • I’m looking for gap year programs that will support my teen
    Our Program Database helps you filter exactly what your teen is looking for based on their interests, length of program, and even destination (including virtual opportunities). Plus, every program on the list has been personally vetted by our team! Click here to start a personalized search with your teen.
  • I’m struggling to support my kid with their next steps.
    Every young adult’s experience will be different, which is why there are many valid reasons for one to take a gap year. Reasons can include to earn money for their tuition, to focus on their mental health, to learn employable skills, and even build community. To get a clear sense on what your teen is experiencing and how to best support them, we recommend booking a call with one of our gap year experts to help with identifying needs and presenting solutions. Book a FREE 30-minute consultation here.
  • My teen is neurodivergent and I am unsure which programs or resources are best suited for their needs.
    Sometimes it takes seeing themselves in another lead to feel inspired and motivated to take action on their gap year. To learn more about programming options that suit their needs and to connect your gapper with a neurodivergent coach, click here to book a call.
  • How does taking a gap year impact my kid’s post-secondary education?
    Check out this episode of The Gap Year Podcast where Michelle dives into this question for you!
  • I am worried my teen will feel isolated when their friends leave.
    CanGap’s gapper community continues to grow every year for this very reason: building community outside of a classroom is challenging. Through our programs and events, gappers get connected to like-minded new friends, starting with our Gap Year Launch event that kicks off their year ahead every September. Learn more and register here (or view our other upcoming events post-September here).
  • My kid has zero motivation - how can I make sure they don't waste their time?
    It’s important your soon-to-be grad gets clear on their interests and values so they can make the most of their time, instead of either getting stuck in decision paralysis OR an empty list of things they can do with their time. So, here’s a few ways you can help motivate them: Engage them in our free downloads: our intentionally designed tools helps gappers get clear on the possibilities and activities available to them during their gap year. This is also a great opportunity to sit down with them and engage them in conversation around building goals for their year ahead. Book a 1:1 call with an in-house gap year expert: sometimes having access to a trusted adult who is NOT mom or dad can be helpful for getting them out of a slump and excited about the possibilities. Invite them to Gapper Connect: often the lack of motivation is fueled by not having any friends to do things with (especially if their high school friends are off at university)! Our Gapper Connect Discord is a virtual community of over 500 gap year students, alums, and soon-to-be high school grads connecting on all things gap years - and finding new buddies for accountability, taking up new hobbies, and even making travel plans!
  • HELP! I don’t know where to start.
    Let’s chat. Our team offers free 30-minute consultation calls to support families in navigating the nuances of a gap year based on your teen’s unique needs. To book a call, click here.

Become a founding member of the Gap Year Inclusive Institution Certification and open your doors to thousands of gap year students looking to feel seen, heard and celebrated.

Register for more information.

Missing elements and not sure how to put the pieces in place?

Hire CanGap to support your designation process. Connect with our team for a FREE call to get started.

Payment

Frequently Asked Questions

Q: What is a gap year?

A gap year is an intentional period of time spent away from formal education for a young person to get “real world” experience and understand who they are outside of a classroom. A gap year can be taken right after high school or in-between years of post-secondary studies.

Q: My institution is open to this but would need support putting policies together. How can CanGap help?

We offer consulting services to support your institution in meeting criteria for all three levels. To learn more, book a free call with our team at this link here.

Q: What identifying reasons qualify as a gap year?

Time needed for addressing mental health/burnout or physical health, challenging family/relationship situations, gaining new perspectives and maturity through participation in non-academic formal programming and financial need.

Q: Does this designation only apply to domestic students?

Your designation is application to domestic students, both in and out of province. 

Q: How large is CanGap’s reach?

During the 2023-24 school year, Canadian Gap Year Association saw over 25K new visitors to our website, a 44% increase from the 2022-23 school year. Families are clearly seeing the values of a gap year for their teenager as they transition into young adulthood and prepare for the real-world. 


Our organization scales anywhere from 25 - 80% across various print and digital marketing every year. For updated numbers and demographics, please visit our impact page.

Q: I want my institution to apply for this but I’m not sure who to talk to about it.

A: We can help you pitch this to your university. To start the process, book a free call with our team at this link here.

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