Breakthrough students all aspire to go to college and are willing to push themselves to excel academically.

Do you love to learn?

Are you planning to go to college?

Do you want to meet other hardworking students?

Are you a fourth grader?

If so, Breakthrough San Francisco may be for you!

Please read on to learn more.

The application process for summer 2024 is now closed. We will reopen the application in fall 2024 for fourth graders interested in starting in summer 2025. To be notified when the application launches, please complete this form.

Fifth graders are also invited to apply – however, we are typically only able to admit 1 or 2 fifth graders each year.

About Us

Breakthrough San Francisco is a tuition-free, year-round academic enrichment program for motivated San Francisco students with limited educational opportunities. We offer an exciting curriculum and small classes taught by trained college students. Students apply during the fall or winter of their fourth grade year. Accepted students make an eight-year commitment with the goal of attending and succeeding at a college-prep middle school and high school, and a best-fit four-year college. All programming is tuition-free for Breakthrough families, and takes place at SF Day School (350 Masonic Ave, San Francisco, CA, 94118).


Breakthrough students have a demonstrated need for this tuition-free program.  Students selected for Breakthrough meet at least three out of these five criteria:

  1. Qualify for free or reduced-price lunch at school.
  2. Will be the first in their family to attend a four-year college.
  3. Speak a language other than English at home.
  4. Live in a single-parent household.
  5. Attend an under-resourced school (SFUSD, charter, and most faith-based schools.)




Accepted students make an eight-year commitment. Students are required to attend our summer program, school year program, and high school program.

Summer Commitment

(through end of middle school)

  • Students are required to attend for six weeks during the summers before 5th – 8th grades.

  • We expect students to come to Breakthrough every day excited to learn, question, debate, write, experiment, and challenge themselves.
  • Daily attendance from Monday – Friday, 8:00 am – 3:30 pm, is mandatory.
  • Optional after-school program from Monday-Friday, 3:30 – 5 pm.
  • Each night, students will have approximately one hour of homework, preparing them for college-preparatory classes in middle and high school.

School Year Commitment

(through end of middle school)

  • Students are required to attend Breakthrough’s after-school program twice per week (Mon, Tue, and/or Wed from 4:30 – 6:30 pm).
  • Students receive personalized tutoring and participate in community building and engaging elective classes.

High School Commitment

  • Students are required to attend Breakthrough throughout their 9 – 12th grade years.
  • Students attend monthly Saturday workshops and receive in-depth college admissions support.
  • Students have summers available to pursue other opportunities. Or, they can volunteer in our summer program!

2024 Mandatory Program Dates (for accepted students):

  • Pre-Summer Orientation: Sat, June 8 from 10 am – 12 pm (tentative). All accepted students must attend along with a parent or guardian.
  • 2024 Summer Program: Mon, June 17 – Fri, July 26 from 8:00 am – 3:30 pm. Daily attendance is required.
  • 2024 End of Summer Celebration: Thu, July 25 from 6 – 8 pm. Attendance is required for all students and families.
  • 2024-25 School Year Program: All students are expected to attend two days a week throughout the school year (Mon, Tue, and/or Wed from 4:30 – 6:30 pm).
  • Future Summer and School Year Programs: Dates are TBD, but attendance is mandatory at both the summer and after-school program until graduation from middle school. Then students move into our High School Program, with workshops one Saturday per month.