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Post-Graduate Programs

What is a PG year?

Each year, some Staples students consider taking a post-graduate (PG) year. This “extra” year of high school in a prep school setting prepares students for college in a variety of ways. A PG year allows students, boys and girls, to mature and experience greater independence, develop time management, writing, and study skills, and strengthen athletic or artistic abilities.

Since students would’ve already earned a Staples diploma, they can select classes suited for them and which will enhance their college profile, filling in holes on the transcript and/or taking more advanced coursework. PGs join the boarding school’s senior class, live in dorms, participate in athletics and extracurricular activities, and access their school’s college counseling services.

Factors to consider

Although there are clear benefits to a PG year, there are drawbacks as well. It can be difficult for some students to be in high school when friends go off to college. Prep schools often have curfews and mandatory study hours. Since PG programs are only one year, it’s important to immediately take advantage of opportunities and get connected to the school community.

Students may choose to PG if they’re not satisfied with college options and wish to strengthen their candidacy and reapply the next year. In some cases, the college list does not change considerably. However, even though you might apply to the same colleges you did the year before, a PG year can make you better prepared to do the work once you’re at college.

Application process

Some students know right away they want to PG and forego the college application process altogether; others realize later on it’s what they want/need, and apply to both PG programs and colleges. Applications for PG programs generally include the same elements and follow the same timeline as college applications. Initial deadlines are in January/February, and applicants receive a response by March. Many prep schools, however, accept applications into spring and summer.

Choosing a PG program

There are over 100 prep schools with PG programs. Some have a handful of PGs; others have 50 or more. PG programs, like colleges, vary in terms of academic offerings, size, location, and social atmosphere. More selective prep schools offer the opportunity to take upper-level courses in a fast-paced, rigorous academic environment, whereas some schools may be a better fit for students who have struggled in high school or who have more significant learning needs.

Here are two web sites to help with your search for a PG program: