Extremely Confused PG Applicant? + Advice

Background: I applied to both colleges and schools for PG year to keep my options open.

I really wanted to take a PG year to become a better student and athlete that would make me more confident going into college, and the PG year provided another valuable year of the HS experience that was lost due to COVID. What I really loved, however, was the community around these schools that would push me to become better as a student, athlete, and a person. I truly believe that another year in this space would make me a better person going into freshman year.

However these are my results:

Andover (waitlist)
Choate (rejected)
Exeter (waitlist)
Loomis Chaffee (rejected)
Suffield (waitlist)
Wilbraham Monson (accepted)

I truly believed the PG year was weaker than college apps, as I have seen recruited athletes with 3.5 GPAs and 1350 SATs get into Andover. I talked with a few people familiar with the PG year, and they all told me my application was strong, so I am wondering what went wrong.

For reference, here is my application.


  • Asian male from TN, top 75 public magnet high school, middle class & need FinAid

Rank and Test Scores:

  • 4.55 W/ 3.95 UW, school doesn’t rank but I’d assume top 5 in class

  • Couse load: 14 APs w/ 3 1 semester classes-- APHUG, AP Bio, Calc BC, APUSH, AP Chem, AP Physics I, AP Lang, took AP Chem, Physics I, and Calc BC all in junior year
    Current taking-- AP Stat, AP Psych, AP US Gov/Econ (counts as 2), AP Lit, AP Comp Gov (1 semester), AP Environmental Science

  • ACT: 34-- 35 E/35 M/31 R/35 S + 9/12 Writing (only submitted to schools who required it)


  • 2 year varsity football starter, senior year captain. Offered by MIT (Not recruited for PG year, e-mailed some coaches but had flat responses)

  • President of the senior class and held officer positions in previous years

  • Independent research: Did cancer transduction pathway research at T20 university

  • Founder of nonprofit promoting science education in underserved communities in city. Wrote about extensively in my essays.

  • Founder and president of Bio. Olympiad club at school for two years running
    Co-captain of science bowl team, leading scorer
    Member of Science Olympiad

  • Participated in Model UN and Youth in Government for two years including this one, hold pretty high officer positions in both

  • Chess club – Two year president of the school chess club, one of the top hs scholastic players in TN, board 1 for school team since freshman year

  • Assistant director for elementary after school chess clubs, coach chess privately on the side


  • Coca-Cola Scholarship Semifinalist
  • 2x Presidential Volunteer Service Award (Gold)
  • 6 week intensive research program at T20 university (normal acceptance rate ~10%)-- worked on own research project and presented at closing symposium
  • Governor’s School-- 4 week college immersion program supported by the state of TN. Best gov school in TN (~8% acceptance rate). Group research project won best in class, presented at closing symposium
  • Finalist for best student athlete in the district
  • 5th place in TN state chess championship, HS

Overall good essays and letters of rec

Are PG applications this competitive? Because I’m starting to get worried for college apps too.

Any advice moving forward would be appreciated! Should I have an MIT coach contact the waitlist schools to advocate for me? I know there is a ‘second round’ of applications for BS, and some schools have rolling admissions. I applied to Wilbraham as a bottom safety and I really could not see myself there for this PG year, so anything helps.

Sorry to hear of your situation. My family went through this search last year. My daughter is currently a PG.

The short answer is yes; PG applications at the top tier schools are this competitive. There are very few spots open for PGs and covid has made it worse. These schools are over enrolled and they are receiving more PG applications than ever for the same reason you applied (which is the same reason as my daughter): one more year of covid-free prep before college.

Because they can be so selective, they look at the applicants through the lens of “how are you going to make an impact in the short time you’re here?” Unfortunately, the answer often lies on the athletic field. Elite athletes that are solid students have an advantage.

My advice…Yes, if you are good at football find a way to leverage that as much as possible to improve your position on the waitlist. Second, you’ve got many of the most well-known schools on your list, but there are other good schools that can offer you the community experience you are looking for and may still have spots available.

Good luck to you.

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If you had any colleges show intetest in your football, you may want to ask those coaches if they have any BS programs they like/coaches they have good relationships with and if they can give you an introduction.

Many PG spots are taken by athletes who come to their PG year with a level of college commitment.

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What school does your daughter attend for PG, if you are willing to share? Was she recruited for athletics?

Impressive bio! If I understand it you were recruited to MIT for football. If so and you’re interested in playing there, the MIT coach should be able to help find a spot. I’d start there.

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I wonder if the BS AOs thought you wouldn’t come and would just go to college with those stats, which would be envy of 99.9% of US HS school students. (Better than kids at our LPS that go to ivy truthfully). It doesn’t sound like you are behind academically, nor have much room to increase your grades or leadership or ECs. As a BS AO I’d, at first glance, not quite understand what you need to get out of BS to apply to college. (I am taking sports out of equation-- I don’t know much about sports recruiting beyond the obvious that if you are highly recruited that helps tremendously…

Anyway this is all conjecture, but I think sports are best way to push through waitlists! You need to convince them they need you.

Wishing you all the best you get in where you’d like!

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MIT is known as one of the few schools where athletic staff have very little (close to no) swing with admissions.
It may be different for football. But from what I’ve researched, you have to get into MIT first on academic/holistic achievements.


Also, do you know of other schools that will still accept applications this late and still provide what I want in a PG year?

My neighbor was recruited from MIT. (lax) The coach wanted him very badly. He had a 1520 SAT, good grades in AP classes. Still didn’t get in.

Yea, doesn’t seem like the MIT coaching staff will be much help, as they have said they don’t have working relationships with any of these BS.

Look at NEPSAC football—should have a listing of all schools with football programs. Then reach out to coaches with your bio, including football stats, coaching contacts, the MIT coach’s info, and links to film. Tell them what you’re looking for this next year and hopefully you’ll find some options.

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The 31 ACT on the math section is likely a no go for MIT. Kids heavily recruited with 1600/36 don’t get into MIT. So if this is your goal you need to focus on bringing up that section score for next year.

Second, if you really want the PG year you need to contact admissions offices and explain that you are set on a PG year (if this is true).

Thirdly, all BS admissions are this competitive - it was an absolutely crazy admissions cycle. I have friends with amazing kids (top kid in their school) who did not get in to what my kids considered “safety schools.” There are just so so so many kids applying these days and BS have to be considering the difference between 4 years of tuition and 1 year of tuition. Especially because MIT is not like other schools on it’s level and doesn’t “recruit” the same way - so you don’t have a solid college prospect. It has become such a numbers game that BS are turning away over qualified applicants left and right - it is not a reflection on you, just a reflection on the reality of # of beds vs # of kids.


Applying for financial aid also makes your applications to BS less appealing. There is only so much FA to go around, and they would rather save that for the promising incoming 9th graders.

I agree with the previous posters. You’re a solid student and ready for college. Not sure a year of PG will help you much. By the time classes start in Sept, you’ll only have 2 months to make an impression to get letters of recommendation. Not enough time in 1 year to make any meaningful impact.

Most of the PG spots go to promising athletes who already have a solid commitment, but need an extra year of academics to get them up to speed. It doesn’t seem like thats the case for you, so I’m guessing this is why you were not accepted anywhere.


She is at Northfield Mount Hermon. Unlike most of other schools, they have a defined PG program and thus accept more applicants than the others. I didn’t mention it to you initially because they no longer play football.

31 is in reading, but yeah, I do want to get the score up to a perfect 36 before applying anywhere. I really want to take this year to bump my application up a bit academically and develop more of a spike, as well as become a better athlete. I feel that COVID really hindered my development, so I am pretty set on this PG year. Do you think I should contact the AO of my waitlist schools and other potential schools by e-mail or by phone? I’m going to contact the football coaches first.

I would recommend first by phone folled up by an email. I would also ask what suggested they might have for you given that you have no acceptances and are committing to this path.