Many students find that a PG or Post Graduate year is a wonderful solution to several situations. Perhaps they feel that they are a little young to go off to college. As Kim Chorosiewski points out, a PG year offers time to grow and develop without taking a year off. Maybe they want to perfect a sport or artistic activity. A PG year offers a well-focussed span of time in which to accomplish that perfecting. A PG year also offers a chance to remediate any small gaps you might have in your high school transcript. Or maybe you just want a year before you head off for five years of pre-med or bio-kinetic science. The PG year can suit a variety of purposes.
The PG Year is sometimes referred to as a Gap Year or a year off. Implicit in either description from my point of view is the fact that a PG Year is a structured program of study, not simply a year off where you sit around and do absolutely nothing. Over one hundred private day and boarding schools offer PG Years. It will be worthwhile to explore a couple of programs to see if they fit your requirements.
When you are in high school, there is obviously a big push to complete your academic studies with the best results possible in order to get into the college you want to attend after high school. A gap year gives you an extra year to develop a skill for which you really didn't have much time while you were studying for SATs or doing your IB papers. That skill could be artistic or athletic. A PG Year will give you a little extra time to perfect your playing or take your athletic skill to the next level.
Implicit in my thinking is that you have gotten yourself accepted at the college of your choice. Julia Rogers offers the following wise counsel about deferring admission.
"If you are a high school senior eager to take a Gap Year, here are a few suggested steps to take to defer your admission from your future college:
1. Ask your top choice college about their deferral policy, or check the American Gap Association’s database. The database lists each college’s policy on Gap Year deferral and is organized by state.
2. If you have applied for financial aid or scholarships, inquire about the policy on securing your funding for the following year.
3. Design and finalize your Gap Year plans. If you have not already chosen programs and activities for your year, begin planning. If you need additional help, reach out to your parents, guidance counselor or a Gap Year advisor for assistance.
4. Most deferral-friendly colleges will have a procedure that includes writing a deferral letter detailing your intended Gap Year plans. Be as specific as possible in crafting your letter. You should address why you want to take a Gap Year, what you plan doing and how it will make you a better member of their student body as a result. See a sample deferral request letter here.
5. Be sure to submit a deferral request before your college’s deadline. This varies from school to school so make sure to check.
6. Follow any procedures that your college requests of you during your Gap Year. This may include a mid-year check in or a reflection upon completion of your Gap Year.
7. When you arrive on campus seek out other returned gappers. Some colleges, like Middlebury, have a Gap Year club. This helps ease the transition from an amazing Gap Year into a meaningful college experience."
This video from GoAbroad.com offers a look at some possibilities for a Gap Year.
What kind of grades do you need? Pretty good ones! A's and B's are expected. In addition you will need to offer a sport or other exttracurricular activity. That will enable you to fit right into the life and community of your new school. After all, you will only be there for a year. Stellar recommendations from your current school will help.
This video from Taylor The Gap offers some more ideas for a productive PG Year.
The application process is a little different. Instead of taking SSAT or ISEE, you offer PSAT or SAT test scores. Places for PG year are extremely limited. Be sure to apply as early as you can. Need financial aid? Expect that to be limited. Always ask up front.
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