An intensive year of growth in motivation, academic aptitude and disciplined study skills.
The Postgraduate Program at the St. Thomas More School is designed for high school graduates who would benefit from an extra year of personal and academic development before entering college. These are capable students who recognize the need to improve their academic aptitude, study skills and SAT scores in order to enter the college of their choice and succeed.
The main two focuses of this academic program are an English course and a Mathematics course, each specifically designed for Postgraduates. Both the Math and English classes are double periods. They are supplemented by two upper-level electives that complete the daily class schedule.
World Literature is a literature-based course designed to give Postgraduates the challenge of a college level literature course. Representative pieces of literature are examined as unique reflections of the human experience in order to understand historical and contemporary issues. The main themes covered in this course are: The American Dream; Racism and Colonialism; The Possibility of Good and the Problem of Evil; Men and Women; and the Individual in Civilization. In the fall term, the course also emphasizes preparation for college entrance examinations. In the spring semester, the focus shifts to preparing students to meet college level writing assignments.
Postgraduate Mathematics is specifically aimed at enhancing higher level Math skills and improving performance on the SAT. This course begins with a review of many of the basic skills and concepts of Algebra 1, then the focus shifts to the study of Algebra 2 during the first semester. During the second semester Pre-calculus is studied. Problem solving is emphasized as students study, apply, solve and create functions including: linear, quadratic, logarithmic, exponential and rational. Concepts in Trigonometry, probabilities and sequences are emphasized. The graphing calculator is used regularly as a tool to enhance the learning experience but only after the skill has been taught by hand.
The electives are selected from the general curriculum and are junior and senior level college preparatory courses.
Improvements of 100 points on the SAT are typical for students enrolled in the Postgraduate program and increases of 200 to 250 points are common. Maximizing a Postgraduate's SAT score is a key element of the program.
The curriculum stresses the content areas critical to success in taking the SAT. Further, an extra-curricular SAT Preparation Course that meets in the evenings during the fall semester is available. Postgraduates learn how to master the SAT test itself with careful preparation: knowing when to make an educated guess, what is the best use of time during the test and what vocabulary to study. Special techniques for reading comprehension, analogies, sentence completions and antonyms are taught, as well as how to cope with the quantitative comparisons on the Math section.
The St. Thomas More School philosophy is to find each student a college or university where he will be academically challenged, personally enriched and socially involved. To that end, each Postgraduate student receives immediate and continuous counseling on college admissions. The placement office meets weekly with students and makes every effort to help each one get accepted into the school he is most qualified for and interested in attending. Students, parents and the counselor work together to consider all factors and find the best possible college for each student.
Postgraduates are fully integrated into St. Thomas More School's residential program. In addition to sharing a dormitory with upperclassmen, these students follow the same daily schedule as the rest of the school, attending extra help in the afternoons, followed by sports and activities, and evening study hall at night. While some focus solely on basketball, others choose to participate in three different sports. All are encouraged to get involved in school activities and serve as leaders to underclassmen to diversify their profiles for college applications.