Advice for Postgrad Year? (applying, schools, etc)

Hello! I’m currently a junior considering applying for a postgrad year. I’m very set on applying for the Lville post grad year because I really enjoyed their summer program, but there’s not really much information about pretty much anything regarding taking a postgrad year outside of info sessions/their website(not just for lville). If anyone has taken a postgrad year or know anything more about what they’re looking for in applicants, the experience, etc, I would really appreciate advice!

Tell us more about why you are interested in a PG year.

You need to have a legitimate reason for doing a PG year to be considered by a school like Lawrenceville. You might be an athlete who needs an extra year to mature to improve their recruitment/told by the school they are committed at to do an extra year. Or, you might be a talented international student who needs a year in the American schooling system to be a more competitive applicant for elite colleges. Typically, it’s not for students who want to take a taste of the boarding school experience for the fun of it. What kind of applicant are you, and why do you think a PG year would be useful?

I can’t speak for Lawrenceville directly, but I went to a school similar to it and I’d say around 90% of all the PGs while I was there were recruitable athletes who likely had the coach supporting them during the admissions process. A small handful were the international students I described, and then perhaps a few were exceptional domestic students who each had their own cases for taking a PG year.

The number of PG accepted will vary from school to school, and likely depends on the size of the school and the upcoming graduating class. Places similar in caliber to Lawrenceville that take PGs would be Choate, Deerfield, Hotchkiss, Andover, Exeter, Loomis, and Taft. However, I know of plenty of others that offer a PG year that are slightly lower regarded and hence more accessible, like Suffield and NMH.


Hill offers a PG year for a variety of different reasons. Maybe look into it.

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There are quite a few reasons I want to take a PG year, I’ll put my top ones in a list so I don’t start rambling.

  1. I switched to an online/independent learning school for my junior/senior year and although it’s preparing me for college pretty well, I miss the option of being in person to meet new people and connect with teachers in a more personal way

  2. I’m still undecided on what major I want to do in college. I’m debating between nursing, graphic design, illustration, and a few wildly different things. I want an extra year to explore my options because my junior year really opened my perspective to all of the things available in the world.

  3. (less of a valid reason) I’m extremely young in my grade, so I wouldn’t be 18 until a few months into college. I haven’t really had opportunities to be independent and away from home other than the lville summer program for three weeks, so I would like to have another opportunity to explore my interests and express myself in a new environment while also adjusting to being more independent.

  4. I’m sure that I’m looking through rose colored glasses when thinking about going to colleges so I want to put myself in an academically rigorous environment with a more accurate workload where others are also just as passionate about learning (or at least school in general). My classmates in my current and last school generally haven’t tried to make the most out of our teachers trying to make our learning an actually enjoyable and interesting experience and they don’t appreciate the effort my teachers put into their work for us. I feel like this is something that would be less prevalent with smaller class sizes and an environment like lville, exeter, and all those selective boarding schools (since you are paying a butt ton of money for your education anyway plus other general things about the school like harkness, etc).

The main reason I want to take a PG year is because I really do think I would benefit from the new perspective it would provide. Also thank you for your insight! I didn’t even consider the case for internationals. As I mentioned in another post, I’m not sure what major I want to take but I want to find something that I would enjoy and also be able to help others when doing. I still need to narrow down my reasoning, but in just the three weeks I was at the lville summer program I met so many different types of people and it introduced me to an entirely new type of community and learning environment. I would love to be in that type of environment for just another year before college because I grew so much as a person in three weeks. Lville is my top choice since I was on campus for three weeks and I have some personal connections to people in NJ, but I’m looking into other schools as well because I was considering the possibility of the gap year anyways to explore a personal project and gain experience in the majors I’m interested in.

I’m pretty much rambling now haha, but I also noticed that PG year is very popular for athletes (in the lville informational video, all the graduated pgs were athletes and half said they were athletes who met with lville coaches after the january deadline). As a conclusion, I think my main reason for a pg year would be the ability to dedicate all my time towards the school, athletics (I was on track to be on varsity track in soph year at my small school before transferring to my new school for my junior year but it isn’t my main reason), and this long term personal project I’m pursuing where I plan to explore people’s different perspectives about life/anything really through conversational interviews to explore who I am and who I could be.

Thank you for mentioning hill, it was one of the schools that I was considering looking into :slight_smile:

I’d also recommend NMH. The school is quite sporty but still very rigorous They also accept a lot of PGs.

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Gotchu. It generally sounds like you might be on the more academic side of things as an applicant, even though you plan to have athletics as part of your experience. What level of athlete are you? Even if it’s not something you explicitly plan to pursue in college, if you are competitive enough to be a significant addition to the team, the coach might be able to advocate for you in admissions and tip the needle in the right direction.

Also, because you are going to be a more academically oriented applicant, what type of student are you? Namely, what are your stats (class rank, test scores, awards, etc), and how do they compare to the matriculation history at your current school for top universities? Does your college counselor see you as a viable candidate for a T20/top LAC? In academic PGs, it seems as though that’s the level of student a top boarding school would look for–at least from the matriculation results academic PGs would tend to have at my school.

Even if you are at a top academic level and you are sure you want to do a PG year, it would be extremely wise to look at less-selective schools as well. If you want to stay in NJ, I know Peddie is a fine school as it was a place I considered during my BS application process. If you are willing to come to the Northeast, NMH really seems like a fantastic place and a true hidden gem. At a lower end, Worcester Academy is also a great option.

I wouldn’t say that I’m a highly competitive athlete, but I did do track from 7th to 10th grade and before covid, I was on track to compete in varsity during soph year at my small school for sprints in track. I’ve done some “research” (basically just looking at athletic net) and my soph year times would be in the middle/faster end. At finals in freshman year, I did get second in the 100m and 200m and we were first in the 4x100 and 4x400 relays (but were DQed in the latter because a team member accidentally dropped the baton). I’ve been super lazy in the past year though because my online school doesn’t have sports so I’ve been planning to use the track at my local hs this summer and I might be able to do sports through concurrent enrollment in my senior year.

I wasn’t super dedicated before but was still getting pretty good times, but after a year off I realized that I really miss track and doing sprints so I feel super dedicated now to getting back to being fit and hopefully being on a team.

None of the schools in my district do class rank unfortunately, and I’m not sure if I’ll be able to take the SAT but I was working up to a get a consistent 1500 on practice tests last semester. My school this year is new (so the first graduating class is actually this year with a senior class of barely 12). To give a better idea of my school, it’s actually something really unique my school district pulled together this year and it’s not just an online school but an online independent study school where we have one synchronous conference per week a class. It resembles a college schedule and they actually encourage us to take dual enrollment classes (which I have and will be doing my senior year).

I started considering PG year seriously in the fall and I realized that I’m not a strong athlete or strong academically (if all goes well by the end of the school year then I’ll only have three B’s in 9-11; one from freshman second semester and two from soph second semester). I know that a 3.8 GPA isn’t bad, but I think I would only have around a 4.2 W because I take all honors/dual enrollment and barely any APs. I also don’t have any real “awards” like Olympiads or anything because competitions don’t really interest me. I think the strongest part of my application would be my extracurriculars, ambitions, and personality (not to toot my own horn). I also definitely fall into the category of being a late bloomer because I didn’t do any real ecs in 9-10, but in 11th I’ve explored a lot and I have quite a few ecs that I’m proud of (but I’m not sure if they’re that competitive).

I’ll end my ranting here, but thanks for the ideas for other schools to look into! I would really love to get into Lawrenceville (with my rose colored glasses too haha) and it would be my top choice, but I know just how selective the school is so I appreciate the realistic advice and other options.

For things like track, it’s easy to have coaches gauge how strong of an athlete you are based on your times since it’s such an objective sport. You either have the times, or you don’t. Other smaller things might come into play that make you an attractive candidate, like a very desirable build that is conducive to high potential in the sport, but it boils down to your numbers, not the placings in a race. See how you compare to the Lawrenceville team’s times, and reach out to the coach early and keep them updated with times as you go through the process.

It will definitely be important for you to get some actual test scores on your record, so see if you can take the SAT or ACT sometime before or during the fall. For upperclassmen applicants, that’s probably the scores they are looking for, but I have no clue how things will be for the upcoming application cycle as testing sites might still be restricted going forward.

Have you spoken to your guidance counselor about where you might be a competitive college applicant? I can’t say for certain, but whatever range of colleges he thinks you should shoot for might dictate where you would realistically be able to PG as an “academic”. I would have a hard time believing that some of the top-tier boarding schools (like L’ville) would take on an academic PG if they didn’t see them as a viable applicant to a top-tier university, but I could be totally off base with this idea as I’m making this comment from my gut.

I sprint on track too! I’m on varsity at my lps. what are your times?

Oh hey that’s so cool! My main events are the 100m and the 4x100m, but I also do the 200m and long jump (I did the 4x400 only once during league finals which was PAIN but really really exciting). My pr for the 100m was the last race I did (only the third meet of soph year ;-; ) and I got 13.74 seconds. I also got a 28.93 pr on the 200m which admittedly isn’t too good but I don’t enjoy the 200m as much anyways lmao. For the 4x100 our best time was 54.88, and apparently our 4x400 was like on the lower end of 4 mins somehow but the time wasn’t recorded since a team member accidentally dropped the baton and didn’t know she could pick it back up : (.

that’s really good! I haven’t had a meet yet, my last one was middle school bc covid. my 200 time was 30.5, 100 was 14.1, and our 4x100 was 59.8. I was 12 tho so not that great but I’m getting better! I’d say I’m at the lower end of varsity but I’m also newly 14 and in 9th grade so I can’t expect to be great.

Btw, I checked with coaches for my times. Your times are fine. You would probably make varsity if those were your times.

I was emailing the admissions office and actually got the email for their coach today funnily enough. I’ll try to get into contact with their coach soon (along with other school’s coaches once I decide which other schools I want to focus on) and I’ll also keep your advice in mind.

We do have a counselor at my school who I’m pretty close with, but neither she nor the college counselors from the college that I take dual enrollment with actually know much about a postgrad year or even just boarding schools. I was planning on scheduling a meting with her soon anyways, so I’ll also ask what she thinks about the types of colleges I could viably shoot for. One thing I was keeping in mind was how lville does have a lot of students going to ivies and top tier international schools, so I have to be realistic in considering how I could push myself to meet those standards in the best way I can with the time that I do/did have. One thing I noticed about lville is that (at least to some degree) they take into consideration the genuineness of their applicants, which is something I’m hoping that I can appeal to since everything that I’m doing is something that I really enjoy and believe in.

I spent the last year doing close to nothing so I really have to work over the summer to get back to where I was haha. Also I think your times are really good actually? Those are around the times that I think I had back in 8th/early 9th (I actually tried a lot in freshman year and finally got sub 14/13.91 at finals). I find it kinda funny because I really didn’t go to practice a lot or put that much effort when I was at practice throughout soph year and I still had good times, so I’m hoping I can come back and still be pretty good.

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I also did the Lville summer program(virtually) I was waitlisted: now I get to go to Hill and just…annihilate them because we’re just better :joy: (jk i love lville but gotta show some Hill spirit ;).

Anyway, some good schools to look at would certainly be

Mercersburg Academy
Peddie School
Williston Northampton

I listed all Co-Ed Schools, but there are many great all girls/all boys schools that I’d be happy to recommend if you’re open to it.

In middle school I was top 3 girls. And #1 in 100s.

HAH I know someone who goes to lville and they make fun of Hill which is why I found it kinda funny when you talked about Hill. Thank you for the list btw, a lot of the selective schools you mentioned I already had on my list to look more into but I’ll definitely look more into some of the other ones like pomfret(somebody I met at lvss goes there now as a repeat freshman I think lol)