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Five Years of High School? Introducing the Post-Graduate Year

Your high school senior does not seem ready for college. And you’re thinking another year of academics would serve them well. In that case, you may want to consider a post-graduate year of high school.

Is your teen really ready to graduate?

Think of a post-graduate year (or PG year) as a fifth year of high school. Post-graduate high school programs, which have been a fixture on the East Coast for decades, are offered by many private schools across the country. While not cheap, they can be less expensive than sending a student who’s not ready to college.

Why Opt for a Post-Graduate Year?

“Parents will send their students for a variety of reasons,” explains Jamie Stoinski, a former college admissions officer. For starters, it’s time to improve a student’s record in order to get into a more prestigious college.

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“For example, if you had a student who didn’t do so well academically in high school, a post-graduate year can be helpful. It can indicate to a college that you were able to get back on track.”

Another reason for the post-graduate year is to improve your student’s chance to play athletics in college. “Some athletes will do a post-graduate year to strengthen their chance to get into particular colleges as well,” adds Stoinski. That’s an extra year to get better, bigger, and stronger, as well as improve academics.

But the post-graduate year needs to be approached seriously, if it’s going to help.

“You need to take classes that are not similar to what you took in high school, like AP level rather than college prep,” Stoinski explains. “The last thing you want to do is spend all that money on PG programs and just duplicate what you took in high school. Even though it’s a different institution, admissions officers can read between the lines.”

Diana Simeon is an editorial consultant for Your Teen.

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