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Articles / Applying to College / Will Post-Grad High School Year Boost Ivy/Elite Admission Odds?

April 30, 2012

Will Post-Grad High School Year Boost Ivy/Elite Admission Odds?

Question: Can doing a post-graduate year improve or decrease chances of admissions to a top tier or Ivy League college?

Doing a Post-Graduate (PG) year will rarely hurt admission odds (unless the GPA goes down or the student gets suspended for bad behavior or lands in similar hot water). The PG year might raise Ivy or elite admission chances but only for those who were reasonably strong candidates to begin with and then used the PG year to prove themselves in additional ways.


Commonly, talented athletes will spend that extra year honing their prowess in a sport in order to catch a coach's eye. For non-athletes (or even so-so ones) the PG year may not provide that same clout but can sometimes be helpful, too. For instance, students who use it to focus on some academic passion (e.g., scientific research) may find that this additional year makes them stand out at admission decision time. When English is a second language, the PG year can provide a time to raise TOEFL scores and to show that an already outstanding student is also fully fluent in English.

But simply spending an extra year in high school is not likely to boost Ivy or top-tier admission odds unless the student accomplishes something significant during that year that will help set him or her apart from the hyper-competitive crowd.

(posted 4/30/2012)

Written by

Sally Rubenstone

Sally Rubenstone

Sally Rubenstone knows the competitive and often convoluted college admission process inside out: From the first time the topic of college comes up at the dinner table until the last duffel bag is unloaded on a dorm room floor. She is the co-author of Panicked Parents' Guide to College Admissions; The Transfer Student's Guide to Changing Colleges and The International Student's Guide to Going to College in America. Sally has appeared on NBC's Today program and has been quoted in countless publications, including The New York Times, The Washington Post, USA Weekend, USA Today, U.S. News & World Report, Newsweek, People and Seventeen. Sally has viewed the admissions world from many angles: As a Smith College admission counselor for 15 years, an independent college counselor serving students from a wide range of backgrounds and the author of College Confidential's "Ask the Dean" column. She also taught language arts, social studies, study skills and test preparation in 10 schools, including American international schools in London, Paris, Geneva, Athens and Tel Aviv. As senior advisor to College Confidential since 2002, Sally has helped hundreds of students and parents navigate the college admissions maze. In 2008, she co-founded College Karma, a private college consulting firm, with her College Confidential colleague Dave Berry, and she continues to serve as a College Confidential advisor. Sally and her husband, Chris Petrides, became first-time parents in 1997 at the ripe-old age of 45. So Sally was nearly an official senior citizen when her son Jack began the college selection process, and when she was finally able to practice what she had preached for more than three decades.

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