Frequently Asked Questions

Below are some of the frequently asked questions we receive from students and parents. However, if you have questions that are not answered below, we would be happy to meet with you to provide answers! Please feel free to schedule a call with our Program Manager, Julia.

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How does the Discover Year program structure work?

Discover Year follows a 10-month curriculum that brings all students together every week for self-discovery, learning and growth. Below is an overview of the general program structure:

Orientation (beginning of September):

The program begins with a 2-week orientation period at the beginning of September, which includes one week of online learning, then one week of in-person learning and bonding in Ottawa, Ontario.

Fall Session (September to January):

During the Fall Session, we bring students together every Wednesday for “Discovery Days” which are dedicated to learning and development. The mornings are delivered virtually and include activities such as skills workshops, career panels, self-reflective exercises, and more. The afternoons are delievered in-person and include adventures in the community like campus tours, tours of offices and workplaces, visits to museums, cultural and community activities, team-building challenges, and more.

During the Fall Session, students also meet with a personal Life-Path Coach twice a month for one-on-one life and career coaching, and they work in teams to execute a community service project in their city.

When students are not at Discover Days, they are expected to work part- or full-time (we recommend 30 hours/week). 

Travel Period (February):

February is devoted to travel, when students get to travel anywhere in the world! They are encouraged to push themselves outside of their comfort zones and explore new cities, countries or continents!

NOTE: while all students are expected to travel somewhere in February, there is lots of flexibility in the duration (anywhere from a few days to the entire month), distance (anywhere from an hour away to the other side of the world) and nature of the trip (organized tour, volunteerism, visiting extended family, backpacking, etc.).

Spring Session (March to June):

The Spring Session follows the same format as the Fall Session. Discovery Days continue to be held every Wednesday, with students working and exploring other interests during the other days of the week. Students will continue to meet with their Life-Path Coach twice per month, and lead a second community service project.


How long is a Discover Year?

Discover Year is a 10-month structured program that follows the traditional academic calendar, with programming beginning in September and ending in June. 

What skills do students learn during Discover Year?

Through our skills workshops and the real-world experience students gain throughout the Discover Year, our students walk away with countless valuable skills. However, the skills that 100% of our graduates agree they developed during their Discover Year are increased self-confidence, stronger self-awareness, stronger communication skills and greater resilience to thrive in school, work and life.

What happens during Discovery Days?

Discovery Days happen every Wednesday and involve both virtual and in-person learning.

In the mornings, students come together via video conference to participate in skills workshops, small group discussions, networking with professionals, and coaching.

In the afternoons, students meet up with Discover Year staff and coaches in-person for various activities in the community, such as tours of college and university campuses, visits to corporate offices and headquarters, museum tours and other cultural activities, team-building exercises, and more! Watch our video to learn more about Discovery Days.

How does the Life-Path Coaching work?

At the beginning of their Discover Year, students are paired with a personal Life-Path Coach after a rigorous matching process. They then meet with their Coach twice per month throughout their Discover Year.

Our Life-Path Coaches work with our students to help them better understand their interests, values, and talents and how they can make use of them in their lives and future careers. They help students with goal-setting, mentor them on how to tackle new challenges, and ultimately help support their personal and professional growth.

It is important to note, however, the difference between a coach and a counsellor or therapist. While our coaches are committed to helping students better understand themselves and achieve their goals (which may, at times, require difficult or sensitive conversations), they do not deliver therapeutic care.

How do the work terms work?

There are two work terms throughout Discover Year: one from September to January, and one from March to June. Students can keep the same job for both work terms, or apply for a new job for their second work term if they wish. (The only requirement is that students do not work on Wednesdays so that they can join the weekly Discovery Days.)

Our team of staff and mentors offer ongoing training and coaching to help students find, apply for and secure employment. Due to the generally limited work experience and professional skills students have acquired by the time they enter Discover Year, most students can expect to work entry-level jobs in food services, retail, customer service, etc. 

Students can choose to work full-time or part-time throughout the year, depending on their financial goals and objectives. 

How does the travel period work?

During the month of February, students will have the opportunity to embark on self-directed travel anywhere in the world! This means they will be responsible for researching where they want to travel to and planning and booking their own trip. The only requirements are that students identify a trip that is meaningful to them, set an intentional goal for their trip and step outside their comfort zone.

Leading up to the travel period, students will participate in several travel planning workshops and will receive ongoing support from our staff, who will help navigate the essential elements of planning their trip. Watch our video to see some highlights of past students’ exciting travels and explorations.

Where is Discover Year located?

Discover Year’s headquarters are located in Ottawa, Ontario, Canada, with a second location based in Toronto, Ontario. We also have an option for students to complete the program entirely remotely, meaning you can live almost anywhere in the world!

Our in-person sessions are held at various locations in and around the Ottawa and Toronto city core. The exact meeting locations are shared with the students prior to the start of the year.

Do students get to connect with students in other hubs?

Supporting students to make meaningful connections with one another is a top priority at Discover Year. At the beginning of the year, we host a week-long in-person orientation in Ottawa, which all students are encouraged to attend. This gives students the chance to meet and bond with all other students in the program, even those from other cities!

Throughout the year, students will also meet virtually every Wednesday morning  for online skills workshops, career panels, coaching, group discussions, and more.

Can I complete my Discover Year entirely remotely? How would that work?

Yes! Our program is designed so that students can complete their Discover Year completely remotely, if they wish. In this case, remote students will join all other Discover Year students during the online portions of the program, and conduct their own exploration in their city/town during the in-person portions.

Can I move to Ottawa or Toronto for my Discover Year?

Absolutely! If you’re interested in pushing yourself outside your comfort zone and moving to Ottawa or Toronto for your Discover Year, our staff will be happy to support you through this process.* This could include advising you on the type of visa you will need (if applicable), supporting you to find accommodations that suit your budget and needs, and coaching you on how to book your travel.**

*While we will gladly support students and advise them on how to move to Ottawa/Toronto, Discover Year is not responsible for acquiring students’ visas, booking students’ travel, or securing students’ accommodations. This will all be the responsibility of the student.

**Please note that the costs associated with moving to Ottawa/Toronto are not included in the Discover Year tuition and fees.

How much is Discover Year tuition?

Tuition for the 2024-25 Discover Year is CAD $9,400. Once students are accepted into the program, a $1,000 deposit is required to hold their place, which is then taken off the total $9,400 fee.

Tuition can be paid in two lump-sum payments (one in July and one in December) or in post-dated cheques, payable to the first of each month from July to February.

What's included in the cost of tuition?

The cost of tuition covers the following:

  • 215+ hours of hands-on, experiential learning
  • 10-day intensive orientation programming
  • 75 crucial skills workshops
  • 36 group coaching sessions
  • 20 one-on-one coaching sessions with a personal coach
  • 18 social and professional networking events
  • 100+ diverse mentors who make themselves available to students for networking and learning opportunities
Can tuition fees be claimed as tax credits in Canada?

Yes! Discover Year is an accredited Canadian post-secondary program. Therefore, tuition fees are RESP-eligible and can be claimed as a tuition tax credit (for Canadian citizens).

Can RESPs be used to pay for tuition?

Yes! The entire Discover Year tuition is eligible for RESP use (in Canada).

Is financial aid available?

To make our program accessible to as many students as possible, a limited number of Discover Year bursaries are available to Canadian citizens. To learn more, visit our Financial Aid page. 

What is the criteria to be admitted to Discover Year?

At Discover Year, we embrace diversity in all its forms and seek to recruit participants of varied ages, perspectives, backgrounds and nationalities. While we take an inclusive approach to admissions, it is vital that students be open-minded and fully committed to the process of self-development and collaboration.

With that said, the basic criteria for admission are:

  • A high school graduate (as of July 2024)
  • Between 17-21 years old (as of December 31, 2024)
  • Motivated to discover their true interests, values and talents

We also look for students who possess specific qualities and traits, including curiosity, openness to new experiences, integrity, a positive attitude and a team-player. More information can be found on our Admissions page.

What is the process to apply for Discover Year?

You can apply for Discover Year through the Apply page on our website. You will need to submit:

  • An application form
  • A personal statement
  • Two references

Once we receive all of these documents from you, our Admissions Committee will carefully review and evaluate your application. If you meet all criteria for admission and possess the qualities and traits we are looking for, you will be invited to participate in a brief interview.

Do my grades matter when applying for Discover Year?

Not at all! At Discover Year, we believe that your potential for growth and success is not based on the grades you received in high school. As such, your admission to the program will not be evaluated based on your grades.

Does Discover Year accept international students?

Yes! We have had several international students join us from around the world, including the United States, Mexico, the United Kingdom, Zimbabwe, Portugal, Belgium, and more.

For more information about how to apply and plan for a Discover Year as an international student (inlcuding visa requirements, work permits, accommodation, etc.), please book a call with our Program Manager, Julia

Is the application process different for international students?

No, the application process is the same for international students as it is for domestic students.

Do international students pay tuition in Canadian dollars?

All fees associated with Discover Year are calculated and displayed on our website in Canadian dollars. To determine how much it will cost in your home currency, check out this free currency conversion tool.

Is there financial aid available for international students?

Financial aid is prioritized for Canadian citizens, but scholarships are available to international students on a case-by-case basis. Once you have been accepted into the program, we would be happy to discuss payment options with you.

Still have questions? Join our next Info Session!

We would love to meet you at one of our upcoming virtual information sessions! Join us to learn more about Discover Year and meet some of our students, parents and staff members.