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12th Grade & PG Year

Every year Phillips Academy welcomes 30 - 35 new students who enroll as one-year seniors and/or post graduates (PGs). These students come from all over the country and all over the world: some from around the corner in Andover, Mass. and others from as far away as Beijing, China.

The one-year seniors and PGs come to Andover with a variety of different high school experiences and for a variety of different reasons. No two profiles are the same. Some students come to Andover seeking new academic challenges not offered by their current schools. Some are chronologically young for their grade. Others come to improve and grow in specific academic, athletic, or extra-curricular areas in an effort to enhance their preparedness for post secondary education. Many come because they are looking for a transitional year living on their own away from home before heading off to college. However, all students come to Andover looking for the unique combination of academic, social, emotional and physical growth that even one year at Andover can provide.

Academic Profile

The academic profiles for one-year seniors and PGs vary a bit. Many of the one-year seniors come to Andover because they have exhausted the curriculums at their current schools. They come to Andover as academic high-flyers looking for new courses and new challenges in the classroom. Many of these one-year seniors are international students who are top students in their home countries and look to a year at Andover as a way to gain some exposure to the American education system and U.S. colleges and universities.

Post graduate students come to Andover after the successful completion of a four year high school program and with a high school diploma. They come to Andover as excellent students in search of an extra, transitional year before heading off to a highly-selective college or university. While the admission office understands that many PGs will not have spotless academic records, qualified applicants will be, by the time they are 11th graders and seniors, fully engaged, honors level students taking challenging courses. For students applying as post graduates there is a tremendous emphasis put on academic growth and a positive academic trend over time. The admission committee looks carefully for this growth and is interested only in students who are motivated academically and seeking a challenging and enriching academic year.

Academic Program

Post graduates and one-year seniors are welcomed to Andover as new members of the senior class. Unlike at many New England prep schools, all PGs and one-year seniors at Andover are required to be diploma candidates. Andover does not give students the option of pursuing a diploma and/or pursuing a PG or one-year certificate. All PGs and one-year seniors receive full diplomas from Andover and are considered full members of the graduating class and the Andover Alumni Association thereafter.

Typically, one-year seniors and post graduates take a full course load of five major classes, especially in the fall and the winter. PGs and one-year seniors can not take less than four classes in a term. The ideal curriculum includes a range of academic disciplines in challenging courses and balances three major goals: 1) Fulfilling all outstanding graduation requirements, 2) compiling a schedule that colleges and universities will look favorably upon as meaningful in the preparation towards college and 3) finding courses that are interesting and inspiring for the individual student. The typical schedule might look something like this (this is an actual schedule from a current PG):

Math 400, Pre Calculus* or Calculus
History 520, Economics I (Macroeconomics)
English 520, Strangers in a Strange Land
Physics 440, Cosmology*
Classics 320, Greek Literature

Please note: All students are placed into math, language and science classes based on demonstrated ability (as determined through required placement tests given only to students who will matriculate at Andover) and prior high school course work. PGs who have completed Andover’s diploma requirements are free to pursue upper level classes.

Extra-Curricular Activities and Athletics

Andover actively looks for post-graduates and one-year seniors who have high levels of interest and skill in areas outside of the classroom. The admission office considers these talents and interests closely and sees them as necessary for one-year students as they transition to a new school and make strong connections with classmates and faculty members. Specifically, many post graduates build these connections through athletics and come to Andover with a specific interest in sports. These students will be high impact athletes on our varsity teams and most see the year at Andover as a way to better prepare themselves to play competitively in college.

Other post graduates and one-year seniors pursue passions in art, theater, music and/or community service, and many do a little bit of everything. All students at Andover, even students only enrolled for one year, are actively encouraged to expand horizons and try new things in the community. Many students arrive on the Andover campus with well-defined talents, and just as many leave the school with new abilities and interests.

Residential Program

PGs and one-year seniors do not live in separate dorms and are included in the full residential program at Andover. Typically PGs and one-year seniors are paired together with a roommate (PGs with PGs, one-year seniors with one-year seniors) and placed in a large, upper class dorm. At Andover these large dorms usually house up to 35 students with three house counselors living in the dorm.

Occasionally, based on student requests and/or housing needs, PGs and one-year seniors will live in a single room. Also occasionally some PGs and one-year seniors will opt to live in one of the smaller dorms on campus – typically a dorm of 10 to 15 students with one or two house counselors (depending on the numbers). All of these options are available depending on the needs and interests of the new students.

All PGs and one-year seniors are encouraged to live in the dorms here, even if they are from Andover or a neighboring town. The one-year experience for older students is largely centered around easing the transition to college. Much of that transition comes from living away from home, managing a busy schedule independently, and interacting with peers and adults in a diverse community. The Andover residential life experience provides a chance for PGs and one-year students to experience all of these important transitions on a smaller scale with considerably more structure and support than they will find at most colleges and universities.

College Counseling and Course Selection

As new one-year students, incoming seniors and post graduates are encouraged to engage in the course selection and college counseling processes early. Each new one-year student is assigned an Academic Advisor who is also a college counselor. In early June, all of the PGs and one-year seniors who have chosen to attend Andover are invited back to campus for a day on the Andover campus. On this day, the students get a chance to meet with department heads, coaches and, most importantly, academic advisors and college counselors.

Prior to the June orientation day, advisers, department chairs and college counselors review each student’s transcripts, teacher recommendations and placement tests and have a good idea of an appropriate course of study for each student. Students are encouraged to explore new disciplines and pursue passions in depth. They are also encouraged to refine skills in traditional subjects, like writing and math, in order to develop the confidence they need to be successful students in college.

There are classes in English and Math that are commonly selected by post-graduates in particular, but class placements are not designated by grade level, and instead depend on students’ demonstrated understanding and prior course work. All seniors and post graduates are encouraged to explore the full breadth of the curriculum. During the early orientation day in June students finalize their class selections and enter their courses into the scheduling system in real time.

In September and throughout the fall term, students have regularly scheduled meetings with their Advisors / College Counselors in order to re-evaluate course selections and continue with the college counseling process. At Andover there is a focus on finding a college or university that will provide a good fit for students academic and extra-curricular interests. The students receive individual guidance and walk with their counselors through the timeline for all of the necessary steps in the process (including test dates, recommendation forms, application deadlines, etc.). The application that each senior submits to college is packaged by the college counseling office and includes the important information from the student’s prior school (including transcripts and recommendations from teachers) as well as the additional course work and relevant accomplishments at Andover. The process moves quickly, but the students receive great advice and guidance along the way.


Admission Office
(978) 749-4050

John G. Palfrey Jr. became Andover’s 15th head of school in 2012.

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