Steppingstone Scholars Program
Tuition-free program. Invaluable results.

The Steppingstone Scholars Program seeks Scholars who like to rise to challenges, value excellence, and want to thrive and grow in a dynamic educational community. To be eligible, applicants must be residents of the city of Boston and currently in their fourth- or fifth-grade year.

Learn more about how and when to apply
Scholars ready themselves for academic success year-round

Steppingstone Scholars are serious about their studies. During the academic year, and during six-week summer sessions, they put in hundreds of extra hours on schoolwork. Their hard work pays off.

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We help Scholars and Families select and apply to schools that are right for them

Steppingstone partners with more than 40 independent, Catholic, and public exam schools to place students. In addition to readying Scholars for the academic demands of these selective schools, we help them select and apply to the schools that promise them the  best fit. Steppingstone also helps families seek the financial aid they may need to cover the cost of tuition.

Learn More about our Placement Schools
Tell us about a motivated Boston student who's ready for a challenge

If you know a hard-working student who ought to be college-bound, and would benefit from the rigors of Steppingstone, we’d like to hear from you. Steppingstone welcomes recommendations and nominations from teachers, counselors, coaches, and members of the public.

Nominate a Student

Academic Preparation. Sustained Support.

The Steppingstone Scholars Program prepares motivated students from historically marginalized communities for acceptance to and success at top independent, Catholic/parochial, and public/public exam schools in the greater Boston area. Scholars, who are admitted the spring before their fifth- or sixth-grade year, participate in a rigorous course of academic preparation that spans as many as three summers and two academic years.

Each Scholar puts in hundreds of hours of extra schoolwork, including preparing for entrance exams, to get ready for admission to a Steppingstone partner school in the fall of his or her fifth- or sixth-grade year. Steppingstone Scholars and their families also work closely with experienced staff advisors to select and apply to those schools likely to offer the best fit and learning environment for each individual student. In addition to placement assistance, families applying to independent schools receive financial aid counseling to assure that their demonstrated financial need can be met. 

All this hard work pays off.  Ninety percent of Scholars who have completed Steppingstone’s demanding program of academic preparation gain admission to a Steppingstone partner school. Virtually all of them go on to graduate high school, and 80 percent earn a four-year degree within six years.

While preparation is essential, sustained support is another key to Steppingstone Scholars’ success. Counseling, academic advising, tutoring, and college-readiness services continue throughout each Scholar’s middle-school and high-school years. Steppingstone’s College Services team continues that support when Scholars reach college. And Alumni Relations provides an array of volunteer, social, and professional development opportunities to Alumni launching their careers.

Each year, The Steppingstone Scholars Program serves nearly 1,000 Scholars in grades 5 through 12, as well as hundreds of Scholars in college. Around the country, more than 1,000 Steppingstone Alumni are contributing to their communities through various professions and post-graduate programs.