Breakthrough Student Application


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Breakthrough New York seeks a diverse group of students whose opportunities could be improved by their participation in our program.  Our admissions process starts in January and finishes in May when we enroll a class of 68 students yearly.

To qualify for Breakthrough New York, an applicant must be:

  • Currently enrolled in 6th grade at a NYC public, charter, or parochial school 
  • A U.S. citizen or Green Card holder
  • A strong academic performer: all grades are 80% or better, and state test scores in the 80th percentile or better
  • From a family with proven financial need

Beyond these qualifications, most Breakthrough New York students are also:

  • In the top 10% of their class
  • Motivated to work hard and go to college 
  • The first in their family to attend a four-year college in the U.S.
  • Positive community members who demonstrate leadership
  • Willing to make the full six-year commitment to our program

To apply to Breakthrough New York:

2014 Student Admissions Update: The deadline to complete Part 1 of our 2014 Student Application process has now passed.  Please email admissions@btny.org for more information, or to sign up for our mailing list to receive notice when the 2015 Student Application is ready later this year. 

If you have already completed Part 1 of the 2014 Student Application, please check your email regularly for important updates from us regarding next steps.

Part 2 of the application is due Monday, March 17.  

Admissions resources:

2014 Admissions Timeline one-pager

2014 Application Flyer    


Partner Schools:

Every year, we form official partnerships with NYC-area middle schools.  We hold in-person recruitment sessions at partner schools for qualified students, and provide application support during the admissions process.  Partner schools agree to support their students in applying to Breakthrough New York, and stay in touch with us throughout the years of their participation.  To learn more about becoming a Breakthrough New York partner school, email Senior Program Director, Natalie Cox, at Natalie[a]btny.org

The Breakthrough New York Program:

Students must commit to being a part of Breakthrough New York for six years throughout middle school and high school. Once they enter college, they become Breakthrough New York alumni.  Students benefit from six years of individualized academic and personal support to ensure that they enter and thrive in four-year colleges.    

Middle School Years

Summer Program: Students attend the six-week summer program after 6th, 7th, and 8th grades – we begin the day after public schools end for the year, and go through the first week of August.  Students engage in four academic classes per day (Literature, Math, Science, and Writing), as well as two elective courses of their choosing, and a different special event each week.  The summer program builds key academic skills and knowledge for the next grade level, as well as sets the foundation for our unique and inclusive community.   

 School Year Program: Students attend the school year program throughout 7th and 8th grades, on Monday and Wednesday afternoons from 4:30-6:30pm.   Students work in small groups with tutors to complete their homework, prep for upcoming high school application tests, and build key literacy and vocabulary skills. 

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High School Years:

Class Meetings: Each high school class meets one time per month, engaging in workshops focused on topics that directly impact our students’ success in high school and beyond.  Students who attend boarding schools participate in the workshop topics remotely, and check in with the High School Director at least one time per month. 

Summer Enrichment Opportunities: We support our high school students in selecting summer opportunities that will enrich their growth and contribute towards their college application process.  Samples include internships with local companies or organizations, community service projects, college campus tours, summer programs, etc.  

Other: On an as-needed basis, we provide tutoring and counseling for our high school students

High School Admissions Guidance:

Our students begin considering a wide range of high school options in order to the best fit option to ensure that their eventual entry to college.  These options include:

  • Independent Boarding Schools: Tuition-charging schools outside of NYC where students live on campus. 
  • Independent Day Schools: Tuition-charging schools in NYC; students live at home. 
  • Parochial Schools: Tuition-charging schools in NYC, may be religiously affiliated; students live at home.
  • Specialized Public Schools: Highly-rated public schools in NYC, admissions is based on the SHSAT only. 
  • Selective Public Schools: Public schools in NYC that are effectively preparing graduates for college. 

College Admissions:

College Bound Programming: Our students receive free SAT prep courses, college visits, guest speaker series from admissions officers, and panels

College Counseling:  Our High School Director works individually with each student to develop a full list of application schools, including reach, match, and safety options.  It is our mission to ensure that 100% of our graduates enroll in four-year colleges or universities in the United States directly upon graduating from high school.