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. Submit an Inquiry Form

All students and families who are interested in applying to Steppingstone must submit an Inquiry Form. Submitting the Inquiry Form will allow us to send you a personalized link to the Steppingstone application.
Inquire Now

2. Attend a Family Information Meeting

October, November, and December
Families who submit an Inquiry Form are invited by email to attend a Family Information Meeting. Families are strongly encouraged to attend an information session before beginning the application. Family Information Meeting dates for the 2023–2024 admission season will be posted in the fall.

5. 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.

Teacher Recommendation

  • Families applying to the program must share the Teacher Recommendation Form with their student’s current classroom teacher and ask them to complete it by January 3, 2024
  • Includes a brief evaluation of student, Term 1 Report Card, Spring 2023 MCAS scores, and most recent MAP scores

Finalists for the program will be selected at the end of January based on an evaluation of the Student and Family Application, Teacher Recommendation, report card, and standardized test scores. All components must be submitted by Wednesday, January 3, 2024 in order for a student to be considered for admission.

4. 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-March.

3. Submit Your Application

By Wednesday, January 3, 2024

After attending a Family Information Meeting, complete the following required components of the Steppingstone application:

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 families interested in applying to independent schools
Four scholars walk side by side, sharing smiles and laughs.
Two scholars walk alongside their Advisor outside a shiny, academic building.

Have questions?

Contact a member of the Admission team. Hablamos español.

Elena Jay
, Director of Admission: 617-862-2217,
Cindy Chen, Admission Assistant:
Deysi Gutierrez, 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.

Learn More About Our Scholars Program

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