A “victory lap” in sports is when someone wins a race, and then takes an extra lap for the fans to celebrate. A “victory lap” in education is when a student takes an extra year (or more) to complete a degree.
Formal schooling is normally completed in 12 years; a student who finishes in 13 years is said to have taken a “victory lap.” College is normally completed in four years; someone in the fifth year is often called a “fifth year senior” (or “super senior”) taking a “victory lap.” Certain high schools in Canada allowed students to take a 13th year “victory lap” of high school, even if the students cold have graduated on time.
“I’m still in u-grad myself. going to do my victory lap next year (that’s fifth year of four)”—the college version—was cited in print in June 2002. “A larger proportion of students have returned for the so-called ‘victory lap’ to upgrade their marks, or have an extra year to study and work part-time”—the high school version—was cited in the Toronto (Ontario) Star in September 2003.
Wikipedia: Victory lap (academia)
A victory lap is a term used in American & Canadian academics to describe one or more extra years of study needed beyond the traditional four years of undergraduate studies. These added years are generally the result of switching midstream to a different major or program. In certain cases such as engineering and teaching and Life Science degrees, the victory lap is instead attributed to increased course load and stress.
Other slang terms used to represent this same idea include “jewel degree”, “5th year senior”, “super senior”, and “Van Wilder” (in reference to the 2002 film National Lampoon’s Van Wilder).
From: “Scott” <8s...@qlink.queensu.ca>
Date: Thu, 20 Jun 2002 16:56:23 -0400
Local: Thurs, Jun 20 2002 2:56 pm
Subject: I feel so young all of a sudden
Wow! i feel like a young pup then (23) . I’m still in u-grad myself. going to do my victory lap next year (that’s fifth year of four ; )
Google Groups: alt.sports.college.utexas
From: “Hoon Park”
Date: Tue, 22 Jul 2003 22:26:40 -0500
Local: Tues, Jul 22 2003 9:26 pm
Subject: Re: FINALLY! Student Reserved Season Tickets are here!
Oh yeah, I’m enjoying and savoring every minute of it. That’s why I stuck around for an extra year (I like to call myself a “Super Senior”... taking my “victory lap”... actually, I have changing majors to blame, but whatever...)
18 September 2003, Toronto (Ontario) Star, “Double cohort students return to school; Toronto board expects 40 per cent back Extra teachers hired to handle overload” by Kristin Rushowy, pg. A23:
York, as most other boards, has not tracked returnees in the past, so it’s hard to say whether a larger proportion of students have returned for the so-called “victory lap” to upgrade their marks, or have an extra year to study and work part-time.
Extra year of high school? Where’s the victory in that ‘Victory Lap’?
By Scott Dobson-Mitchell | February 26th, 2008 | 9:30 pm
When my biology teacher started talking about a victory lap during class last week, I figured she must be talking about race cars. Or maybe the sound her cat makes when it drinks. But apparently ‘victory lap’ can also be directly translated to, “A grade 12 student that stays behind for an extra year because, well, they can.”
Travels in a Gay Nation:
Portraits of LGBTQ Americans
By Philip Gambone
Madison, WI: The University of Wisconsin Press
The University of Texas senior who at the time we meet is doing a fifth year—“a victory lap,” he calls it—is the cofounder of one of the first gay fraternities in the South.
College Sports Track
APRIL 9, 2012
The Victory Lap
Hey, we all love victory laps, don’t we?
“The Victory Lap“- a term so aptly coined by my dear daughter Kelly. Here’s the origin of the term: in Kelly’s second year at Penn State, she decided that her accounting major was not what she wanted, rather, a science major was. Out goes business studies, in comes the science curriculum. Three summer semesters plus an extra fall semester later, Kelly had her science degree. “The Victory Lap” is born, representing the 5th year of college… thanks Kelly, you are the best!
Markham Economist & Sun
Dec 14, 2012
Time’s up for Ontario high school ‘victory lap’
Four years of high school is standard across almost all of North America, Mr. Duncan argued. Despite the elimination of the Ontario Academic Credit (OAC) or Grade 13 nearly a decade ago, Ontario continues to accommodate up to 20,000 students returning for a fifth year, many of whom have already received their secondary school diploma.
The province argues doing away with victory laps will save $22 million a year.