The Benefits of a Postgraduate Year

Instead of a Gap Year, consider a PG Year

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While many students have discovered the benefits of a gap year between high school and college, some students choose to take a postgraduate or PG year after graduating from high school. Students can take advantage of this year-long program at their own private school or at another school. Many students attend a boarding school just for their postgraduate year, as boarding school allows these students to experience life away from home while still having the requisite structure and guidance from teachers and advisors.

While the PG year has been traditionally known to support boys, an increasing number of girls are taking advantage of this important program. Here are some reasons students can benefit from a PG year at private school:

Greater maturity

It’s not news that students at both public and private four-year colleges are taking longer than ever to graduate from college. In fact, according to the ACT, only about half of all students graduate from four-year colleges within five years. In addition, also according to the ACT, about one-quarter of students at four-year colleges drop out and don’t return to school. Part of the reason for this high drop-out rate is that students don’t arrive on campus ready for independent college life. A PG year allows students to develop maturity by living on their own in a structured environment. While students at boarding schools must advocate for themselves and take responsibility for their work without their parents’ constant guidance, they have advisors and teachers who help them structure their time and who help them when needed.

Better chances for college acceptance.

While parents are often afraid that students who defer going to college for a year are fated never to go, the colleges themselves prefer to accept students after a so-called “gap year.” Colleges find that students who travel or work before college are more committed and focused when they arrive on campus.

While a PG year isn’t technically the same as a gap year, it can also help students have an additional year of experience, and it can help them be more attractive to colleges. Many private schools offer PG programs that allow students opportunities to play sports, travel, and even participate in internships, all of which can greatly increase a student's chances of getting into the college of their choice.

Better academic skills.

Many students who go on to be great college students simply don’t come into their own until later in high school. The later developmental curve tends to be particularly true of boys. They simply need one more year to build their academic skills when their minds are better able to learn and improve. Students who have learning disabilities may derive particular benefit from a PG year, as they may need time to assimilate new skills and improve their ability to advocate for themselves before confronting the independent world of college. A PG year at a boarding school will allow these types of students the ability to advocate for themselves in the supportive world of a high school, in which there are deans and teachers looking out for them, before being expected to do most of this work completely on their own in college.

 

Ability to build one’s athletic profile.

Some students take a PG year so that they can add luster to their athletic profile before applying to college. For example, they may attend a boarding school known for excellence in a particular sport before applying to college to play that sport. Some boarding schools not only have better teams, but they also tend to attract the attention of college sports scouts. The extra year of school and training can also help players improve their strength, agility, and overall mastery of the sport. Private schools offer qualified college counselors who can help with the college search, too. 

Access to better college counseling.

Students who take a PG year may also enjoy access to better college counseling, particularly if they take their gap year at a top boarding school.

A student applying to college from these types of boarding schools will benefit from the school’s experience and long record of admissions to competitive colleges, and the resources at these schools may be better than what the student had at his or her previous high school.

Article edited by Stacy Jagodowski