Beyond Athletics

Is a Post-Graduate Year Right for Me?

Our newest addition to Student Athlete Contributions

gunnar solbergWritten by Gunnar Solberg 2013

Going into my senior year at New Trier High School in Winnetka, IL the world started to come crashing down on top of me. I had to start writing college essays; I had to figure out where I wanted to go, and had to learn about schools that were in my academic range. Heck I had to start thinking about my major! People would ask me “What do you want to major in?” my response was always the same… “Uh, I don’t know…” I felt like a deer in headlights. I had no idea where I wanted to go or what I wanted to learn. When I said I had no idea what my major would be people always asked “Well, what are you passionate about?” and that was easy… Hockey! Every time, I couldn’t think of anything else that I would want to do for the rest of my life besides play hockey, no matter what the level. That was when the prospect of doing a Post-Graduate, or PG, year became a clear possibility. I needed an extra year of school to figure out what I liked academically and it presented an opportunity to play another year of hockey.

I ended up choosing Proctor Academy in Andover, NH.

WHAT WERE THE HARDEST THINGS TO DEAL WITH DURING A PG YEAR?

While I was headed to a boarding school to do an extra year of high school all of my friends were headed to college. What was most frustrating was that the school presented so many new opportunities that I had not been offered in the past. I wished I had come earlier so that I could experience the school to the fullest. There were off campus school trips like a trimester at sea, a trimester touring Europe, or in Spain, there were sailboatopportunities to go to school in Costa Rica or spend a summer in Thailand.  In the end the biggest con of doing a PG year was the fact that I only went to the school for a single year, not too bad of a problem to have!

WHAT BENEFITS DID A PG YEAR PRESENT?

                Where do I start? I had a lot of freedom with my class choices because I had already fulfilled my graduation requirements. This led me to choose classes that I was actually interested in rather than taking what I had to take in order to graduate. I had my in dorm time to do homework which helped me develop a strong work ethic and got me to do my work every night. I have really found what I am interested in because of the academic flexibility I had during my PG year. I have also learned serious work ethic and time management because I had to train for, as well as play, hockey and lacrosse, and get my schoolwork done and do it well. A PG year also was a great way to get acclimated to living away from home without being completely on my own which was helpful in getting ready foimages (3)r college. The most important benefit to me was exposure. I went to school out east to get noticed by colleges academically and athletically and this year was a huge help. Before my PG year I had not talked to any college coaches about playing at the next level but over the course of the year I ended up getting in contact with a good five to ten NCAA DIII and ACHA D1 teams. The exposure out east was ten times better than Illinois high school hockey and I gained a variety of opportunities just from playing there for a year and improving my hockey as well as my academics. This was a main goal for me and the 5 other PG’s that attended the school that year. The very skilled basketball, football, lacrosse, and hockey PG’s all used the year they had to gain exposure. The PG is greatly beneficial; every one of the six PG’s is going on to play their sport in college. Football had one D1 and one D3 commitment. Basketball had a D3 commit. Hockey had one player go to ACHA D2, another is to play juniors in the USPHL, and one who committed D2. Overall the year was extremely helpful for the players in their respective sports. If you need another year to develop academically and athletically, I would definitely recommend doing a post graduate year.

About the author
Aaron Sorenson