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    Discover Year

    Discover Year


    • Listing Type: Gap Year Programs
    • Program Delivery: Day
    • Credit Awarded: None
    • Program Length: Academic Year
    • Start Month: July
    • Category: Career Exploration
    • Selective: No
    • Gender: Coed
    • Ages: 17, 18, 19+, 19
    • Housing: Homestay, Other
    • Financial Aid: Other
    • Minimum Cost: $5,000 - $9,999
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    Discover Year is an innovative and structured gap year program that helps young adults understand what they want in life and build the skills they need to go out and get it. Our students develop stronger self-awareness, confidence, communication skills and resilience to thrive in whatever education or career path they choose to take, while learning more about themselves and their unique interests, talents and passions.

    At Discover Year, we believe that personal growth comes when you step outside of your comfort zone. That's why our program is designed for curious, open-minded students between the ages of 17 and 21 who are interested in stepping outside their comfort zone in order to explore their true interests, gain a clearer sense of direction for their future, and build the skills and connections they need to thrive in adulthood.

    Discover Year integrates practical and interactive education, experiential learning, and skill development into a unique and meaningful year away from formal studies. With 50% of the program online and 50% in person, Discover Year follows a structured approach that incorporates five elements of hands-on learning:

    • Discovery Days: Every week, students will come together on Wednesdays for "Discovery Days." These days are packed with engaging and experiential learning, including skills workshops, career panels, networking, small group discussions, adventures in the community, and field trips to local campuses, businesses, attractions, and more.
    • Work terms: You will complete two 5-month work terms during your Discover Year to gain hands-on work experience and build critical professional skills. Whether you have previous work experience or are looking for your very first job, our team will coach you on how to effectively apply for jobs and connect with potential employers.
    • Travel: During the month of February, you have the opportunity to travel anywhere in the world! This one-month independent travel period is intended to expand your worldviews and build your confidence by stepping outside of your comfort zone.
    • Community service: Together with your peers, you will lead two community service group projects during your Discover Year, which will give you the opportunity to explore important social issues, build teamwork skills, and support your community in a meaningful way.
    • One-on-one mentorship and coaching: At the beginning of your Discover Year, you will be matched with a Life-Path Coach based on your interests, aspirations, and personality. Coaches will then work with you throughout the year to explore your authentic interests, values, and talents. 

    What makes Discover Year particularly unique is its inspiring, inclusive and supportive learning environment. Our program has one educator for every six students, which helps ensure all students have an engaging and meaningful year. This ratio allows students to be open and vulnerable with one another, form deep and lasting relationships, and explore their strengths and interests without fear of judgment. 

    Our Discover Year community is also unmatched. With access to more than 100 inspiring mentors, coaches and professionals from a wide range of industries, our students have the opportunity to learn about the working world and get a better sense of the types of careers that interest them the most. The sense of belonging and connection that our community offers is a key factor that fuels the growth and self-discovery of our students. 

    Discover Year's headquarters are located in Ottawa, Ontario, Canada*, with two regional hubs in Toronto, Ontario and Boston, Massachusetts. We also give students the option to complete their Discover Year remotely from almost anywhere in the world, as long as you have a reliable Internet connection. However, because Discover Year blends in-person and online learning, all Discover Year students have the opportunity regularly engage and connect with one another in a meaningful way, no matter where they live.

    If you live outside of our three locations (Ottawa, Toronto, and Boston) and would like to move to one of these cities for your Discover Year, you can learn more by exploring the individual location listings in the "Related Listings" section at the bottom of this page.

    Our students and their parents consistently describe Discover Year using three words: relevant, engaging and inspiring. Our students leave their Discover Year with stronger confidence, self-awareness, communication skills, and resilience to help them thrive in their next stage of life and throughout adulthood.

    While the concept of the "gap year" remains relatively undeveloped in North America, we believe that there has never been a better time for young adults to undertake a structured, purposeful year as a stepping stone to post-secondary education or the workforce. 

    Reviews (8)

    • My time at Discover year...
      stars stars stars stars stars
      Reviewed on Nov/01/2022 by Joshua Harris

      My time at Discover year was the most transformative year of my life. Those around me commented on how I started to talk with more confidence, focus in what what I want for myself, and communicate with clarity. Learning was more effective then what I received at any institution shown by the number of skills I learned in the program that I can't live without today (Time management, financial literacy ,and networking effectively to name a few ).
      I entered the program because I wasn't sure exactly what I wanted to do after high school . Through conversations with the massive network of professionals that talked about their journey ,I found my calling in life. I graduated with the tools needed to excel in any direction I want to take in the future.

    • Life changing When I was...
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      Reviewed on Oct/28/2022 by Rhys FitzGerald

      Life changing

      When I was in school I was really scared for the future and felt lost. I had very bad self-esteem issues and lacked a lot of confidence in myself. I didn't know who I was or the person I wanted to be, and I had no idea what success meant to me.

      During this program, I was able to gain confidence in myself and my abilities, and explore my interests in a capacity I was not able to before. I started to shape my idea of success and get a better idea of who I wanted to be. This program gave me the confidence to believe in myself and start achieving things that the high school version of me did not know were possible

      When I entered post-secondary afterward I noticed I am ahead of my peers who went straight into post-secondary because of the time I took to develop my skills. I was much more composed than the rest of my classmates.

      This program gives you the tools to become a very successful human being in all aspects of life, I will always be grateful for the positive impact this program has made on my life.

    • I can say with confidence...
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      Reviewed on Oct/28/2022 by Arielle Gatotos

      I can say with confidence that Discover Year was life-changing for me. In high school, I was burnt out and overwhelmed by my high expectations and fear of making the wrong choice about my future. Through Discover Year, I gained a sense of purpose that went beyond choosing a university major, while developing the resilience to cope with unknowns and the ability to ask meaningful questions. I experienced real-world learning through work, community days, and an awesome solo backpacking trip. My mindset shifted from needing to be perfect to letting myself explore, which has made all the difference in university. I'm so grateful for the incredible community at Discover Year that encouraged me, challenged me, and shared insightful perspectives during my gap year and beyond!

    • Discover Year was a wonderful...
      stars stars stars stars stars
      Reviewed on Oct/26/2022 by Arianne Nantel

      Discover Year was a wonderful experience that allowed me to develop my self-confidence and acquire meaningful skills that are not prioritized in school, such as leadership. It also helped me develop tools that I now use everyday as a new university student. For example, we had a workshop on budgeting where I learned a lot about how to properly manage my money. This has been really helpful now that I live on my own. Most importantly, Discover Year was a supportive community and a safe space, where I was able to push myself out of my comfort zone: going on a solo trip or simply talking to people I didn't know are two things I was very afraid to do, among many others things, and they now feel easy and natural.

    • Discover Year is a one-of-a-kind...
      stars stars stars stars stars
      Reviewed on Oct/24/2022 by Lukas Wirz-Endrys

      Discover Year is a one-of-a-kind program that helps students learn more about themselves while exposing them to the workforce and teaching them the life-skills necessary to succeed in today's world. Not only has Discover Year greatly benefited me in my personal endeavors, but it has also had a positive ripple effect on others in my life. By working various jobs, traveling to Vietnam, participating in interesting weekly workshops, receiving helpful coaching, and serving the community, I have grown immensely in character and confidence and have gained a tremendous amount of perspective. Even though taking a year off could be seen by some as "lagging behind", I firmly believe that Discover Year has the potential to actually get you AHEAD towards any of your post-secondary ambitions.

    • Worth it one million percent
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      Reviewed on Jun/16/2021 by Alex L

      DiscoverYear gives you plenty of opportunities to grow. That said, it you don't get the value passively. If you are driven and committed to be engaged, you will mature and grow 10 fold from who you were the year before.

      You get the opportunity to engage closely with staff.
      You get the opportunity to engage in workshops on useful life skills.
      You get the opportunity to build up your resume properly and shoot for the best job you can reach.
      You get the opportunity to travel.
      You get the opportunity to complete 2 community service projects of the magnitude of your choosing.
      You get the opportunity to meet accomplished people with libraries of wisdom.

      The only limiting factor in DiscoverYear is how hard you are willing to try. The potential is infinite.

    • A year of personal growth
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      Reviewed on Jun/16/2021 by Ma"ia

      Discover Year is a fruitful place to learn, grow, discover yourself and make friends. Even during the pandemic, they found a way to keep the program engaging. I applied to Discover Year because I didn't know where I wanted to go for post-secondary. This year, I learned more about myself and about the world than I would ever have hoped. Not only did I decide on computer programming for college in the fall, but also started volunteering, found a job I enjoy, and gained some very valuable experience in the workplace. ?I would recommend to anyone with a passion to explore!

    • Year Discovered
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      Reviewed on Jun/16/2021 by Jaden T

      I was hesitant starting this but it ended up being a great year. I've learned a lot of new things along the way and met so many great people who have helped me grow and who will keep helping me grow in future endeavors. I would definitely recommend this program if you're unsure about your future. This a great way to get a foot ahead of your peers. I've been taught a lot of great skills that will keep leading me down a road of future success. The most important thing I've learned is that all my success depends on how I will go about the challenges and adversities I face in life.