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Five Years of High School, By Choice

Students in class eagerly raising their hands

High School is typically a four-year commitment. However, an increasing number of teens are choosing to return for a a so-called Victory Lap.

The Victory Lap is a term that refers to returning after graduation for an extra semester or two.

Why would teens want to return to high school? There are many reasons:

• Not feeling emotionally or socially prepared for college or university
• To continue with sports
• To improve grades
• To complete credits
• To increase self-confidence
• To increase post-secondary qualifications
• To save money

Some estimates say that as many as 15-20% of Ontario students return for an extra year. If students don’t feel ready to go to university or college, or don’t have the grades, and high school will allow them to re-take courses, or to take additional courses, then is there anything wrong with staying in high school for an extra year?
But critics say that in terms of the education cost, it’s an expensive habit that is a waste of taxpayers money.

The official government of Ontario position is that not all students learn at the same rate, and if certain students need an extra year to obtain the necessary grades to graduate, then—as long as the student is under 21—this is perfectly acceptable.

Other critics say that it gives students an unfair advantage over others who don’t have the option of taking a Victory Lap—that students who remain behind to take (or to re-take) courses to bring up their averages may be unfairly stacking university admission odds in their favour.

Those who support the extra year of high school say that it helps students better cope with transition anxiety, as the move from High School to Post-Secondary is recognized as one of the biggest life transitions, right up there with marriage and retirement.

Factor in the high cost of post-secondary tuition and the alarmingly high first-year drop out rate, staying in high school to improve grades, and increasing university readiness will help high schoolers be more successful in college and university.

Read more:
The Gap Year
Are students ready for College and University?

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