Delaying Post-secondary Education: Who Delays and for How Long? - ARCHIVED
Articles and reports: 81-595-M2011090
Not all high school graduates who attend a post-secondary institution go immediately after completing their diploma. An ever-increasing number of Canadian youth choose to remain out of the education system for a period of time prior to re-entering. A great deal of what we know about a gap year comes from other countries, particularly the United Kingdom. Who delays and for how long are, however, two questions that remain to be answered in the Canadian context. The current paper uses all five cycles of the Youth in Transition Survey (YITS) to address the scant attention paid in the Canadian literature to the delay of the start of a post-secondary degree or diploma. Kaplan Meier results show that the median length of time between high school graduation and start of the first post-secondary (PSE) program is 4 months; however, this appears to be substantially longer for males, First Nations youth, Anglophones, youth from Ontario and youth whose parents have low levels of educational attainment. Equally influential were characteristics during the high school years. For example, youth with low marks, who worked many hours in paid employment while in high school, who skipped classes regularly, who took part in a lot of extracurricular activities not organized by the school, and whose close friends said they were not planning on going to PSE had median gap times between high school graduation and the start of postsecondary studies that were much longer than the average. Cox Proportional Hazard models confirm the robustness of several of the descriptive findings, including the effects of gender, province of high school, parental education, working during high school, marks, extracurricular activities, and the education plans of close friends.