A post-graduate year is when a high school senior enrolls in high school for an extra year before heading to college. PG years fall smack in between the time you graduate high school and just prior to embarking on your college career.
For many students, a post-graduate (or ‘PG’) year is a chance to improve grades or add extra curricular activities so that their transcripts will be more competitive to better colleges. Some students are athletes who take a PG year to improve their skills and seek recruitment from a D-I University. A third reason might involve students who need to brush up on their English language learning, or for students who aren’t sure of their next steps to mature academically or emotionally overall before matriculating to a four-year undergraduate degree program.
Over the past decade, it has become increasingly common for students to sign up for an extra year of high school at a private school, such as The Winchendon School in Massachusetts, that offers a comprehensive post-graduate program. With competition at colleges at an all time high, almost all New England boarding schools now offer a PG year or an equivalent program - some with their own personalized courses, and others offering programs that may blend into the rigor of the senior level curriculum.
Perhaps one of the biggest perks of taking up a PG year is the enhanced college counseling experience offered to students. Particularly for those who have graduated from a larger public school without a one-on-one college counseling program, this can make a tremendous difference in your approach to thinking about - and applying to - undergraduate programs. At The Winchendon School, a typical college preparation year for seniors includes one on one counseling, individualized coaching through the application process, writing workshops, SAT, ACT, and TOEFL preparation, and exposure to 250+ colleges and universities through on-campus mini college fairs. Providing students with the tools to narrow down and apply to colleges not only improves their odds at matriculation, but also increases the readiness necessary to succeed at the post-graduate level and adapt to college life from the start.
While it may be tempting for some to view an extra year of high school as a chance to re-live senior year, the PG year is actually much more structured and challenging. This gap year before college should be a time for reflection of who you are and your life goals, and should yield proven results from the hard work you put into bettering yourself - whether on the field or in the classroom. Your college admission officers will take notice: a PG year on a college application proves that you are willing to take the time to better yourself, learn more about who you are, and apply yourself in a new academic environment with positive results.
While taking a year out of your life to attend one more year of high school seems daunting to some - most PG graduates report that they are better prepared emotionally and academically to take on their next giant life step, and they do not feel like they missed out on their freshman year of college with their friends. The post-graduate year is hallmark of growth and can better position you to achieve your goals, whether it is to get into your #1 college or play football for a Division 1 school. Either way, you will be given the tools to approach your life journey the way you want it to unfold - all with a better understanding of yourself and your strengths.