Student Admissions

Apply to Our Program

Breakthrough New York is a free ten-year program that prepares students to succeed in school and in their careers. Students begin the program the summer before 7th grade and complete it once they graduate from college.

We are no longer accepting applications for the 2022-2023 school year.

If you will be in the 6th grade this fall, we encourage you to apply for the 2023-2024 school year!

Enya O’Riordan
Admissions Director
Languages spoken: English
Phone: 917-258-3456

Olivia Nuñez
Chief Program Officer
Languages spoken: English & Spanish
Phone: 917-258-6566

Program Requirements

In order to apply to Breakthrough New York, students and their families must meet these program requirements.

  • Student is a 6th grader at a NYC public, charter, or parochial school
  • Student comes from a low-income household (see chart on right)
  • Student has an 83% or more in ELA, Math, Science, or Social Studies in their first 6th Grade Report Card
  • Student and at least one guardian will be fully vaccinated against COVID-19 by April 9th, 2022 (to participate in final round interview in-person)

Hear From Our Students

Listen to what our students and alumni say about their experiences and how Breakthrough prepares them to achieve their dreams.


“If I could use one word to describe Breakthrough, it would be ‘community.’ As cliche as it may sound, nowhere else have I found a group of people as supportive as my peers at Breakthrough. Breakthrough enabled my initiative by helping me realize my potential.”


“What’s so special about us Breakthrough students is that we have an astounding sense of curiosity and passion for learning that is only amplified once attending the program. Without Breakthrough, I know that I would not be the strong, independent, Black woman that I am today.”


“Breakthrough is helpful. That’s the ultimate word that I can use to summarize my experience. The experience of applying for college in high school – I would have been so lost without [Breakthrough].”

How to Apply

Frequently Asked Questions

When are information sessions?

We do not have information sessions currently scheduled. You can view recordings of our sessions in English or Spanish.

If I'm accepted, do I have to attend all ten years of programming?

Yes, students who enroll in Breakthrough New York commit to participating in our programs for ten years – from middle school through college graduation.

Does Breakthrough New York cost anything?

Breakthrough New York’s programs are completely free!

Do I need to be vaccinated against COVID-19 to participate?

Breakthrough New York requires vaccination for all students participating in our program starting in 2022. For prospective families, both the 6th grade applicant and at least one guardian will need to be vaccinated by April 9th, 2022 to participate in our final round interviews (if selected), which will take place in-person in April 2022. In your application, you will have the option to request a medical exemption (proof from a medical provider required), but no other exemptions will be made.

You can find more information about the safety of covid-19 vaccines here, and schedule your appointment to be vaccinated here.

Does Breakthrough New York provide transportation to their summer and afterschool program?

Our students attend over 100 different schools across the city, so we do not provide busing to our programs. Students are responsible for commuting to our after-school and summer programs, whether through public transportation, car pool, or parent transportation. We will provide free MetroCards during the summer and after-school program – if students don’t already have one from their school – so students can travel to program. When possible, we will connect students to others at their site so they can travel together.

Where do I attend the middle school summer and afterschool programming?

Our students attend the middle school program (summer and afterschool) at one of the following 3 sites, based on their preference:

Students must attend the same site for their summer and school year programming. In order to get to the after-school program on time, we recommend students apply to the site closest to their school.

I am not able to attend all of the program dates. Can I still participate?

Students must be able to attend 100% of our programming once they are admitted. It is important that your family can support this commitment before you choose to apply.

How do I nominate a student to apply to Breakthrough New York?

School staff, guardians, and even prospective Breakthrough students themselves are invited to nominate current 6th grade students to apply! Submit your 6th grade nominations by January 7th, 2022 by using our Online Nomination Form.

I don't meet all of the requirements for Breakthrough New York. Is there another program I can apply to?

Yes. Check out this list of other out-of-school programming in New York City.

39 Broadway, Suite 820
New York, NY 10006
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