When Is It Right to Defer Your Studies?

To defer or not to defer—that is the question. Knowing when to defer your studies can be a tough decision. Whether you’re about to begin your post-secondary education, or are in the middle of your degree, you may be wondering if deferring your studies is the right choice for you. To help make this decision easier, we’ve detailed the advantages and disadvantages of deferring your studies below!

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Deferral 101

Upon receiving your course offer, you’ll likely receive information about deferring your spot. Deferring is often as easy as submitting a deferral request through your institution’s online system or your place of study’s Tertiary Admissions Centre. Be prepared to provide a reason for your deferral and explain what you plan to do with the time away from your studies. 

You can typically defer a full year of study, although some institutions allow you to put your seat on hold for as little as a single semester or for up to two years. If you’re studying on a student visa, be sure to understand your visa requirements before deferring your studies for any period of time. It’s generally a good idea to speak to an academic advisor at your institution before making a deferral request.

Certain institutions charge a deferral fee that ranges between C$100 to C$200. Remember to check with your institution if this fee is refundable, in case you don’t fill the seat the following year, for example.

Disadvantages of Deferring Your Studies

Disrupting Your Lifestyle

Generally, students find that continuing their studies without interruption is easier because it doesn’t require as many lifestyle changes. Taking time off from your studies can make the transition back to student life a bit more difficult. Especially if you’re coming back from travelling and waking up whenever you want, being on campus for your morning lectures can take some getting used to. 

You Won’t Go Back

Whether you use your time off to get your mental health in order, explore the world, or work full time, it’s common for students to choose not to return to their education. This concern is valid and comes from the temptation to continue your new lifestyle once the new academic year begins. 

You May Lose Your Financial Aid

Have you been granted a bursary or scholarship? Often, there is a ‘no deferral’ condition attached to your offer. So if you decide to defer your studies, you will not receive the scholarship when you return.

Advantages of Deferring Your Studies

Avoid Academic Burnout

  1. Have you been experiencing academic burnout? This can present itself as a negative mental, emotional, or physical reaction to prolonged study that results in reduced ability to learn, as well as exhaustion, frustration, and lack of motivation. If so, you may want to consider deferring your studies. Taking time off will help you clear your mind so that you can return to your studies recharged and ready to take on the semester.

Time to Decide

  1. Deferring your studies can give you the space and time to consider your study options. During your time off, you may realize that you’re more passionate about (or will have better career options in) another field of study than the one you’ve been accepted into. Having the opportunity to think about your options without the pressure of deadlines and exams can give you the space to make the right decision for yourself.

Make Money and Gain Work Experience

  1. Maybe your bank account is starting to run a bit low, or you want to add some work experience to your resume. Both are great reasons to defer your studies. Many students will take a semester or a year off so they can work full-time. This can allow you to gain the hands-on experience and skills needed to jumpstart your career, and save money that will ease your financial stress when returning to your studies.

Time to Travel

  1. Hoping to get in some travel? If so, that’s totally normal and isn’t something you have to ignore until you graduate. Every year, students from around the world take time off from their studies to travel. Travelling will enrich your life in more ways than one. Through meeting new people and experiencing new cultures, you’ll grow as a person and return to your studies with a better understanding of the world around you.

    Note: Are you determined to continue your studies back to back, but still want to travel? Then you may want to consider a semester abroad. This will allow you to keep working towards your degree while enjoying the benefits of travel.

    Do your research, and use this blog to weigh the advantages and disadvantages of deferring your studies before making your decision. Whatever you decide, it’s never too late to return to your education later!

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