Lynn Trevesan is a mother of two girls, now 18 and 15 years old. But when her oldest daughter was reaching the end of high school, Lynne noticed that she wasn’t quite ready for post-secondary, despite being mature for her age and identified as a gifted student throughout her studies. As an engineer who has had multiple jobs in multiple industries over her career, Lynn knew that taking different paths would only enrich her daughter’s life journey.
Their family started doing research about other options, and ended up attending a gap year information session. Lynn and her daughter discovered how to plan an effective gap year, meeting with numerous gap year program providers that really opened their eyes to what was possible.
More importantly, they spend time identifying what Michaela’s goals were for her gap year. They weighed out what would be gained, what would be sacrificed, and what would be delayed.
Some of Michaela’s goals for her gap year included earning money as a lifeguard, continuing to serve in the air cadets, getting her pilot’s license, and travelling. With a deferred acceptance to the engineering program of her choice, Michaela was able to relax and enjoy her gap year. Despite the fear of losing academic skills and knowledge, she integrated right back into school after her gap year. She even had a higher regard for the value of education, having earned enough money to cover a good chunk of her tuition.
How else did she benefit from her gap year? According to her mom, Michaela gained confidence, independence, and learned to advocate for herself.From our conversation, here are Lynn’s top tips for parents of children taking a gap year.
Take time to explore the gap year pathway. Talk to your child and learn what is important to them. If they are ready or not, then do your research.
If your child is confident in what they want to study, encourage them to apply and then defer their acceptance. Many universities don’t have a quick link to defer but, with some phone calls and advocacy on your part, most will be willing to hold your place for the following year.
Don’t be scared – STEM knowledge doesn’t disappear! It’s about the skills and work habits which are strengthened on a gap year, that will all make your child a better student. The knowledge will come back because the skills they’ve worked on support their ability to learn.
You know your kid better than anyone - be prepared to feel resistance from people who don’t understand the gap year pathway. Be confident in the decision you and your family make together – you know what’s best for you and your family more than anyone else.
Listen to Lynn’s story now to hear all about her and Michaela’s experience!
Want to dive deeper into the resources mentioned throughout the podcast? Here are some of the resources that Grace and Lynne mentioned in the podcast: