Scholars Program:

Admission Process

At Steppingstone, we partner with you and your family to make your dream of college a reality. With proven results, we help you achieve the future you seek by preparing, advising, and supporting you through every phase of your educational life, from elementary school until you earn your college degree. We welcome all Boston 4th and 5th grade students and their families to learn more and apply.
A staff member sits to the right of two Scholars behind computers completing homework.


Steppingstone supports Boston students who seek to succeed in middle school, high school, and college. In order to apply, your student must be:
  • A Boston resident
  • Currently in 4th or 5th grade
  • Attending an eligible school*
  • Motivated and eager to learn
* Eligible schools include public and select parochial schools. Students currently attending one of Steppingstone’s placement schools or a school accredited by AISNE are not eligible to apply. If you have questions about whether your student’s school is eligible, please contact Elena Jay, Director of Admission, at ‪(617) 862-2217‬.
A staff member sits between two Scholars and reads them a story.
Please review the following grade-specific program timeline for a detailed outline of our 12+ year program.
In addition, our program looks for families who:
  • Are committed to supporting their students through the Steppingstone journey.
  • Demonstrate a need for our tuition-free program (note: there is a $100 fee for each summer of academic program in grades 5–7, which can be reduced or waived if it is a hardship).
  • Are interested in exploring independent schools and select Boston public schools, including the three exam schools.
Two scholars sit on a bench sharing a computer, their eyes intent on the screen.
Steppingstone scholar hangs from monkey bars.

Admission Timeline

1. Attend a Family Information Meeting

There are no more Family Information Meetings for the 2022 Admission season. Please proceed to step 2.

3. Complete an Interview and Exam

February – March

Finalist students and families are invited to interview with Steppingstone staff. Interviews take place throughout the months of February and March. Finalist students will take the Steppingstone Exam in mid-February.

4. Final Admission Decisions and Next Steps

May – July

Finalists will be notified if they have been accepted to the program on May 1. Accepted Scholars will complete enrollment paperwork and attend the New Scholar and Family Welcome Event in May. Scholars begin their first Steppingstone summer in July.

2. Submit Your Application

By January 4, 2023 Deadline

Our application consists of the following required components:

Student and Family Application
  • Includes family contact and demographic information as well as short answer questions for both the student and the parent/guardian
  • Optional Independent School supplement for interested families

Teacher Recommendation

  • Families applying to the program must share this link with their student’s current classroom teacher and ask them to complete it by January 4, 2023
  • Includes a brief evaluation of student, Term 1 Report Card, Spring 2022 MCAS scores and/or June 2022 MAP scores

Finalists are selected based on an evaluation of the Student and Family Application, Teacher Recommendation, report card, and standardized test scores. All components must be submitted by January 4, 2023 in order for a student to be considered for admission. Families are notified of the finalist decision by email at the end of January.

Apply Now
Four scholars walk side by side, sharing smiles and laughs.

Have questions?

Contact a member of the Admission team. Hablamos español.

Elena Jay
, Director of Admission: 617-862-2217,
Lillian Schrecengost, Admission Assistant: (857) 201-0482,


Cindy Chen

Admission Assistant

Cindy was born in Boston and grew up in the Greater Boston Area. She earned her B.A. in Political Science and Chinese Language and Culture from Beloit College in 2022. Though she thinks the Midwest is underrated, she has since returned to Massachusetts and she joined Steppingstone as an Admission Assistant in 2023. Being a first-generation college graduate herself, she appreciates being able to both work with Scholars and help them reach their academic goals.


Elena Jay

Director of Admission

Elena Jay joined the Steppingstone Admission team in 2016, and before her full-time role here, she was an intern at Steppingstone’s affiliate, Hartford Youth Scholars. Prior to joining Steppingstone, she worked in her hometown of Hartford, CT at Family Life Education—a nonprofit dedicated to empowering first-generation, immigrant families. Elena received her B.A. in Sociology and Spanish from Bates College and is a graduate of Tufts University’s Institute for Nonprofit Practice. Outside of work, she enjoys being outdoors in any capacity, meeting all the dogs she comes across, and cooking/trying new restaurants.


Lillian Schrecengost

Admission Assistant

A member of the Admission team since September 2021, Lillian collaborates with a vast, indomitable community of Scholars, families, and educators. She never turns down an opportunity to tackle problems creatively or to learn in symbiosis with her peers. Complimenting her work with Steppingstone, Lillian also facilitates events for Skip the Small Talk, helping strangers connect and practice vulnerability. Her many hobbies include creating ambience vibes, cooking, board games, and pilates. She is supported by her loving partner, stellar madre, and feisty feline, Creamsicle.

Learn More About Our Scholars Program

Request Information
A staff member sits to the right of two Scholars behind computers completing homework.