Founded in 1964, Prep’s Higher Achievement Program (HAP) has provided an unforgettable summer experience for some 7,500 young men from Jersey City and Hudson County in the months between their seventh and eighth grades. This unique five-week enrichment program combines academics, athletics and creative classroom techniques while teaching that learning can be fun and exciting.

The 15 full-time classroom teachers include current Saint Peter’s Prep faculty members, faculty of other high schools, and current college students. All are supervised by program director John Irvine, ’83, P’11, Prep’s Director of Admissions, who took the reins from the program’s original director, the late Fr. John Browning, S.J., ’46, in 1994.

Aiding the HAP faculty are 40 tutors who are HAP graduates currently enrolled at Prep. They provide one-on-one instruction and manage the afternoon athletic activities.

The program attempts to reach as many boys as possible, with the goal of preparing the students for eighth grade while challenging some students with accelerated work. It provides a chance for academic and social growth, for maturity, and for making new friends in a small classroom environment.

Subjects include English, mathematics and writing, with “option” courses provided three afternoons each week. These are mini-courses on topics chosen by the teachers, with each student selecting the class that interests him. Option classes have included the History of Rap, Warriers of History, a HAP newspaper, chess, and a sports clinic for boys who wish to learn basic athletic skills, to name a few.

The program concludes with a graduation ceremony, complete with diplomas and awards. For almost every boy who graduates, the five weeks pass much too quickly.

HAP applications will be available on March 10, 2022. Applications are distributed through the grammar schools in Hudson County in the spring of seventh grade. (Teachers or counselors can provide an application for any interested student.) Any student or parent can request an application regardless of where they reside. The HAP entrance exam is given in the spring and program dates will be released as soon as they are available.

For more information, please call 201-547-6389.

A few testimonials about the HAP program…

“In the summer of 1998, I made the commute from North Arlington NJ to Jersey City for what would be the greatest experience of my lifetime, the Higher Achievement Program.  The lessons I learned and the friendships I made in the classroom and on the playing field are still important to me today.  I consider it both an honor and a privilege to be able to come back to HAP every summer and teach in the very program that helped prepare me not only for high school but for life.”

Colin Hanley, ’03, HAP, ’98

“HAP for me was an amazing experience.  Going into HAP I wasn’t sure how I would like it, but the teachers were awesome, the guys were cool, and the sports were really fun.  That summer was one of the best summers I have ever had and HAP was a big part of it.”

John Bonnet, ’16