What is a Post Graduate Year?

A postgraduate, or “PG” year as it is often called, is a full academic year of study generally pursued between graduation from high school and enrollment at a college or university. A PG year is offered at many independent schools throughout the country and usually involves a residential or non-residential experience.

Who might be interested in a postgraduate year?

Reasons for pursuing a PG year are almost as varied as the interests, personalities, and ability range of any broad spectrum of college-bound students. A student may need more time after high school to develop basic academic skills. A student-athlete may have put more emphasis on athletics and less on academics in high school. A student may have discovered an athletic talent too late in his high school career to gain the notice of college coaches. Another might have graduated a year younger than most classmates, and feel the need for additional maturation before college. Still, others find themselves with college choices which no longer match their needs. They are beyond the point at which it is feasible to begin a new college search and still meet deadlines.

Rather than commit to an inappropriate college choice, such students might use the postgraduate year as a second chance at the college admission process.

Actually, the only common characteristic of all postgraduate students seems to be their common desire to improve themselves in preparation for a college education. Students who successfully complete a postgraduate year invariably enter college directly after graduation. Further, the traditional PG year’s lessons in personal organization, time management, self esteem, and confidence/character building, combined with development of academic skills, have lifelong value which transcends the college years.

How do colleges view students who complete a postgraduate year?

College admission offices generally appreciate any program or course of study which enhances the probability that students will be well prepared to succeed upon entrance at their institutions. Hundreds of colleges across the nation enroll students each year from postgraduate programs and have done so for a long time. The concept of a post graduate, or “prep,” year between high school and college is not new. Admissions departments across the country appreciate young freshmen students who have completed programs similar to The Robinson School.

How do students benefit from a postgraduate year?

The environment of a residential or non-residential, college preparatory program provides the key to the success of a PG year. Benefits: Small classes, Faculty who care and are available throughout the day and in most evenings, facilities which mirror those of a college campus, and programs designed to develop the skills to meet the challenges of a college experience. Goal: college preparation and readiness. The Robinson School specializes in college preparation for young men through the postgraduate experience. The Robinson School is able to tailor the environment to the needs of the student in transition from high school to college. At The Robinson School, the daily class schedule, use of advanced technology, dormitory atmosphere life, and athletic programs are designed to reflect what the student may expect in college. In addition, the fact that all students begin their year at The Robinson School as new students, who are able to enjoy a fresh start, provides them with the opportunity to progress through the postgraduate year as a common experience.

Are students in postgraduate year able to compete in sports?

Participation in sports during a PG year does not affect NCAA eligibility. Athletes actually enhance their chances to continue their basketball career at the collegiate level by way of scholarship. Since students at The Robinson School are postgraduate, athletic competition frequently involves collegiate opponents in contest with college freshman or junior varsity teams. Student-athletes at The Robinson School gain the valuable experience of competing at the college level and having the opportunity to perform in front of college coaches while still preparing for the academic challenges of college.

How and when does a student apply for postgraduate year of study?

Most students who consider a postgraduate year are concurrently exploring college options. Some students apply for admission to colleges, wait for the results of the process, and then decide to apply for admission to a PG year in the spring for their senior year. Others may incorporate the option of a postgraduate year within the college admission process and apply to a school offering the PG year at the same time as completing college applications. This latter plan is preferable, for it allows the student to make decisions with a clearer view of all available options and, hence, to have more confidence in establishing his plans for the future.

Applying for admission to The Robinson School is much like completing college admission application.  The Robinson School requires: a completed application form with fee, an application essay, an official high school transcript, results of SAT and/or ACT (if it has been taken) , and a personal interview. A parent reference is optional.

* It is required that parents accompany their son on any visits to The Robinson School prior to admission.

What makes a postgraduate year at Robinson School different than those offered by other prep programs?

The characteristics of many college preparatory programs include challenging academics, a diverse student body, highly qualified staff, small classes, and individual attention.  The Robinson School offers all of these characteristics as well. Which makes The Robinson School  the preeminent transitional experience between high school and college.

College Retention

The United States Department of Education reports that more than half of all male students who begin college never complete it. Most withdrawals occur during the freshman year. Of those who do complete a bachelor’s degree, only 34 percent do so in four years. The average amount of time in which students are earning these degrees is 6 years.

At The Robinson School, our goal is to help our students develop the academic skills, study skills, self-discipline, maturity, and self-confidence necessary to succeed in college, rather than just to survive it.


Because all of our students are postgraduates entering in August, they share the postgraduate year experience, and progress from Orientation to Commencement together. No one is a newcomer entering a senior class in which friendships have been established and experiences have been shared during the past few years. Everyone must make new friends, learn to navigate the campus, and familiarize himself with the faculty and culture of the program. United by a clear, similar purpose, and a shared commitment to our program necessary to achieve it, our students develop a strong camaraderie among themselves. Life-long friendships are made. Positive peer pressure to achieve success in academics, athletics, extracurricular activities, and citizenship is widespread, and students help each other in all aspects of the program.

Combination of Structure, Support, and Independence

Because all of our students are college age, usually 17 years of age or older, The Robinson School emulates the college environment and experience. It provides structure and support which emulates what a college provides. As a result, our program is a true transitional time, not a repeat of a senior year in high school. Since we do not enroll high school students, our rules and regulations are different from those at traditional boarding schools. Our students have more independence than they may have at a high school. This independence requires them to take responsibility for themselves, just like college, we hold our students accountable for their actions and decisions. Consequently, our students leave The Robinson School with a maturity that they did not have upon arrival in the fall.

Because our students are all postgraduates, our athletic teams compete against junior colleges and club teams as well as other prep/post graduate programs thru out the country. The benefits from this type of exposure and interaction, particularly with college coaching staffs, are for our student-athletes as they prepare for college competition. As a result, The Robinson School graduates may be found on many prestigious college rosters nationwide.  Upon graduating from The Robinson School, our student-athletes have five years to play four in college while getting a valuable experience during their PG year.