Each spring, Breakthrough admits approximately 35 fifth grade students into its seven-year program geared toward college entrance. The process is competitive and not all applicants are guaranteed acceptance. Fifth grade is the only entry point for students into the program, and only students attending one of the fourteen Manchester public elementary schools are eligible to apply. Demand from students in the Manchester school district alone consistently exceeds the program’s capacity and results in the competitive application process.
- express a desire to earn a college degree and are supported by their family in this ambition
- are academically motivated
- demonstrate potential for further academic success
- and are committed to involvement with Breakthrough for seven years.
Special consideration is given to students who meet any of the following criteria:
- will be the first generation in their family to earn a four-year college degree in the U.S.
- are eligible for federal free or reduced lunch
- identify as an underrepresented racial or ethnic minority in New Hampshire
- speak a language other than English at home
- live in a single-parent household
Breakthrough visits all of Manchester’s fifth grade, public school classrooms during the month of February to encourage students to apply. In a typical application season, these are the steps students and families must complete in order to apply for Breakthrough:
Step One: Interested students can request an application from their fifth grade teacher or school counselor, or download the application from our website. Parts of the application need to be completed by the student and the student’s family, teacher, and guidance counselor. The application must be postmarked and mailed to the Breakthrough office by the deadline indicated on the application.
Step Two: Attend one of the required Family Information Sessions (see dates listed on the application). We require that students come with a parent or guardian. These sessions will be held at The Derryfield School (2108 River Road, Manchester, NH) at the times listed on the application.
Step Three: Student applicants attend a group interview session after school. These sessions are scheduled in April, and applicants will be notified by mail of the time and location of their interview session.
Students will receive their admission notification letters during April vacation.