Postgraduate Student FAQs

What is a postgraduate year?

A postgraduate year is a gap year — a break between completing high school and beginning college — that allows a student access to the exceptional resources and academic preparation of a top New England boarding school. NMH's postgraduate (PG) program is thoughtfully designed, and it is supported by a dedicated advisor and a class academic dean who helps postgraduates meet their academic and other goals. A postgraduate year allows for an additional year of skill-building and maturation, which makes students more competitive in the college admission process.

What should a successful postgraduate candidate bring to the table?

The student should bring an openness to learn, a respect for education, a commitment to excellence, a goal of achieving, and a desire to contribute to the community. The results can last a lifetime.

Is the Northfield Mount Hermon postgraduate year right for me?

A student who is intrigued with the personal and academic advantages that come from a postgraduate year should assess programs of interest: What academic, athletic, and creative resources will further your passions? Does a particular school have the programs, support structures, and relationships outside the school that can give you an edge in reaching your goals? Can the school help you meet any gaps in your profile as you make the most of your talents?

The NMH postgraduate program offers these advantages:

  • Building a good academic profile into a stronger one
  • Building maturity to handle the independence of college life
  • Building readiness to engage one's talents and skills into the opportunities of college
  • Building activity skills such as arts, athletics, and leadership to take on competitive roles in college

How does the college counseling program at NMH help the postgraduate?

College counseling starts the first day students arrive on campus; there is no time to lose. As part of orientation, college counselors meet with families about the process. These experts help families to plan; they share specific tactics that will position an applicant to the best strategic advantage.

NMH increases a student's chance of admission to competitive colleges because competitive institutions know our school and understand the difference it makes in college readiness. Our college counseling is personal. If you are positioning yourself for a four-year competitive college by seeking an extra year, a strong postgraduate program adds tremendous value to the candidate's profile.

Who is the peer group?

With the high admission standards of all students enrolled at NMH, postgraduates find themselves among a motivated circle of friends. This positive peer group enhances the experience of all the postgraduates; the environment further inspires and motivates the one-year student to develop as a student and a person.

Community college vs. NMH postgraduate program: What's the difference?

The NMH postgraduate program positions students to be more competitive in the application process than other options. The placement of our seniors in college and the success of NMH postgraduate alumni give NMH a far stronger brand than a community college option. Our postgraduate program offers a competitive level of college freshman-equivalent courses for advanced students or an extended senior curriculum for those postgraduate students who need a fifth year to develop advanced critical thinking, qualitative analysis, and other academic skills. Our SAT score averages are higher than virtually all community colleges, demonstrating a higher level of enrolled students' aptitude. 100 percent of our post graduates move on to a four-year, competitive college experience.

How does the postgraduate program help a student in the college search process?

Colleges welcome students who are ready. They make decisions based on a student's ability to contribute to a community and to flourish in an academic and social program. The most competitive colleges in the country routinely direct students to NMH, so that the students might be better prepared to matriculate to college and continue rigorous academic work. Some students have already been offered acceptance pending success in their NMH experience. NMH's high-caliber academics, athletics, arts, and affective development give colleges confidence in our program; college admission counselors and coaches understand that a year in the postgraduate program at NMH can make a substantive difference. Postgraduates from NMH routinely get into the most competitive schools in the country and excel once they arrive.

Is a postgraduate year just another year of high school?

No; it is much more. All postgraduates have met the requirements of high school and earned a diploma. This milestone gives them great flexibility in designing their postgraduate experience at NMH.

Postgraduates often have developed an area of expertise that allows them to be immediate leaders among their peers. Sharing their academic, cocurricular, or social/emotional talents gives them an immediate way to connect with the community. Postgraduates contribute to the texture of the campus while they gain from the complexity of our energetic and intellectually engaged community.

What are other advantages of a postgraduate year?

Postgraduates and advanced seniors at NMH have access to academic, athletic, and arts programs typical of college-level offerings. NMH's breadth and depth of resources allow students to build upon their strengths and address weaknesses. Our postgraduate program pays particular attention to building on competence in writing, an essential skill for success in college and beyond. Three levels of PG English are available to develop or enhance writing skills. In math, a variety of options can likewise serve either a gifted math student or one who needs an extra boost in calculus prior to the college application process.

A bird's eye view

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Nhu Hoang

My philosophy is: Fail early, so you can eventually succeed.

Tabatha Collins

Struggling in a class doesn't mean that you are not good at it.

Gretel Schatz, Director of the Dance program, instructs a dance student.

I want dance students to engage their own memory and intellect.

Hugh Silbaugh

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Becca Malloy

Science isn't just talk, but it certainly helps.

Mary Hefner

I love teaching AP Bio. The kids are highly motivated.


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