The Post-Graduate Year

What is a postgraduate (PG) year?
The postgraduate year can play an important role in the academic, social, and extracurricular life of a student. It is designed for young people that would benefit from the extra time before enrolling in college. As Kristin White so aptly notes in her book about gap years, the PG year is “a year of structured independence, offering students the chance to live in a supportive residential environment while building study skills, improving grades, and gaining the maturity needed to be successful in college.”
At Mercersburg, students that enroll in a postgraduate year may do so in order to grow and mature personally, improve their academic profile, enhance their study skills and time management, as well as, in some cases, foster and gain exposure athletically. Not only can a PG year provide an opportunity to gain acceptance to more colleges of choice, but it will also better prepare students to handle the work and independence of college life once they get there.

Please note that in accordance with Mid-Atlantic Prep League (MAPL) rules, PG athletes who turn 19 before September 1 are not eligible to compete in MAPL contests.

  • September-January – Application season
    • See for more details on how to apply
    • January 15 – Application deadline
    • March 10 – Decision letters mailed
    • March/April – Revisit Day events
    • April 10 – Admission decisions due
    • June – Initial contact from College Counseling with counselor assignment
    • June – Receive registration code for Family Connection (web-based program used by College Counseling)
    • Summer - Extensive parent & student surveys conducted
    • June/July – Schedule classes with Academic Dean’s Office
    • Upon Arrival/First Week – Meeting with college counselor (with parents, if possible)
The College Counseling Process
Postgraduate students will begin the college counseling process shortly after enrolling at Mercersburg. All PGs are welcome to schedule a time to meet (by phone or in person) with a College Counseling representative in the late spring or early summer. This can be a time to get advice on course selection or summer activities such as standardized test prep or college visits.
During the summer, students will receive a registration email for Family Connection, the web-based program used to officially start the college advising process. Soon after, all PGs and their families will be asked to take extensive surveys on the college counseling process. Upon arrival at Mercersburg, or during the first week of school, college counselors will have individual meetings with all PGs and their families (when possible).
White, K. M. (2009). The complete guide to the gap year: The best things to do between high school and college. San Francisco, CA: Jossey-Bass.


List of 4 frequently asked questions.

  • How many PGs attend Mercersburg each year?

    On average, Mercersburg enrolls anywhere from 15-20 postgraduate students per year.
  • Where will I live? And whom will I live with?

    Postgraduate students, like all other students at Mercersburg, will have a roommate. They will most likely live with another PG or a rising 12th-grade student. They will also live in dormitories that may have students in all grade levels.
  • What classes will I take?

    Class selection depends on several factors, including previous coursework, placement exams, academic interests, transcripts, etc. All courses are scheduled with the help of the Academic Dean’s Office and with input from both the student and his/her family.
  • I am an athlete and want to play college sports. How will Mercersburg help me achieve this goal?

    Only a small percentage of students go on to play collegiate athletics. That being said, a PG year can give students the chance to develop athletically as well as gain exposure to college coaches. The college process always begins with the College Counseling Office, but coaches can also play an important role. Each college counselor will work with PG students and their coaches to determine the schools that are the best all around fit for the student. Coaches can also be good resources for helping PG students connect with college coaches as well as recommend opportunities for gaining exposure.
Founded in 1893 in the heart of Pennsylvania and the Mid-Atlantic, Mercersburg is a private, coed, college preparatory boarding school with approximately 435 students (15 percent are day), grades 9-12 and postgraduate.
We offer 170 courses, including AP and Honors, more than $7 million in financial aid, 26 varsity sports, and a state-of-the-art performing and visual arts center.
Located 90 minutes from Washington, D.C., and Baltimore, and within easy driving distance of New York City, Philadelphia, and Pittsburgh.
100 Academy Drive, Mercersburg, PA 17236
GPS Address: 10951 Buchanan Trail West, Mercersburg, PA 17236