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 who 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, and/or foster and gain exposure athletically. Not only can a PG year provide an opportunity to secure acceptance to more colleges or universities of choice, but it can also better prepare students to handle the work and independence of college life.
On average, Mercersburg enrolls anywhere from 10-15 postgraduate students per year.
Postgraduate students, like all other boarding students at Mercersburg, will have a roommate—most likely another PG or a rising 12th-grader. They will live in dormitories that may have students in all grade levels.
Class selection depends on previous coursework, placement exams, academic interests, transcripts, etc. All courses are scheduled with the help of the dean of academics and with input from the student and their family.
A PG year can give students the chance to develop athletically as well as gain exposure to college coaches. Each college counselor will work with PG students and their coaches to determine the schools that are the best fit for the student. (Please note that in accordance with Mid-Atlantic Prep League rules, PG athletes who turn 19 before September 1 are not eligible to compete in MAPL contests.)
Hear what previous students have to say about their PG year
Mason Davis ’20 of King of Prussia, PA, and Anna Freyman ’20 of Sanford, FL, share a few words about their Mercersburg experience.
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 about course selection or summer activities such as standardized test prep or college visits.
During the summer, students will receive a registration email for the web-based program used to officially start the college advising process. Soon after, all PGs and their families will be asked to take 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.
“Our son, Hunter, benefited immensely from his postgraduate year, during which he took advanced math, physics, and computer science, all of which prepared him for his freshman year in engineering at the University of Delaware. He emerged from the PG year more confident, more mature, and better prepared to succeed in the college experience. Some of his friends found the transition from high school to college challenging, but Hunter is thriving. Looking back, the PG year was a smart investment that will benefit him for years to come.”
—Raymond Jacobsen P ’20