If you are struggling in school, your first step should always be to ask your school’s guidance counselor for help. Depending on your situation, you may be eligible for special instruction or services. You or your parent can request, at any time, a formal evaluation. If you are having a problem with your Individualized Education Plan (IEP), ask your guidance counselor for a meeting to review and discuss your IEP.
But if a traditional school setting is not the best option for you, New York City has schools, programs, and supports that can help you earn the credits you need to graduate middle school, earn a high school diploma, or earn a technical degree.
Middle School Options
New York City offers alternative middle schools for students who are behind in school. Alternative middle schools are schools that offer small class settings. Programs and schools include ReStart Academy, New Direction's Secondary School, and AIM Charter School.
Explore alternative middle schools
High School Options
If you are 16–21 years old and have fallen behind in credits, it is not too late for you to graduate. Below are options that may work for you.
Transfer High Schools
Transfer high schools are small, full-time high schools designed to re-engage students who have dropped out or fallen behind in credits. Transfer high schools are supported by the Learning to Work initiative, which means you will also have access to career counseling, college prep, and subsidized internships.
To be eligible for a transfer school, you should be:
- 16–21 years old
- Have completed at least one year of high school, and
- Have completed a certain number of credits (this varies by school).
Explore transfer high schools
Young Adult Borough Centers
Young Adult Borough Centers are afternoon and evening academic programs designed to help you earn your high school diploma. You earn credits and take exams at the YABC, but your diploma comes from your home school. YABCs are supported by the Learning to Work initiative, which means you will have access to career counseling, college prep, and subsidized internships.
To be eligible for a YABC, you should be:
- 17.5–21 years old, and
- Enrolled in a New York City high school.
High School Equivalency (Ages 17–21)
A high school equivalency diploma is the equivalent of a traditional high school diploma, but you earn it by passing an exam. Prepare for the exam by taking classes at various locations throughout the city. Classes are offered for English Language Learners and Spanish bilingual students.
Learn more about high school equivalency
Adult Education (Ages 21+)
If you are 21 years old or older, New York City is home to hundreds of tuition-free Adult Education classes across all five boroughs. Choose from more than 800 courses, and day, night or weekend classes.
If you need to speak with someone who can help you better understand your options, contact to your guidance counselor at your current school. You can also call or visit a Referral Center for High School Alternatives in your borough:
Bronx Regional High School
1010 Reverend James A. Polite Ave., Room 436
Bronx, NY 10459
Brooklyn (two locations)
Marcy Avenue Complex
832 Marcy Ave., Floor 2
Brooklyn, NY 11216
69 Schermerhorn Street
Brooklyn, New York 11201
The Alternative Learning Complex
269 West 35th Street, Floor 11
New York, NY 10018
Jamaica Learning Center
162-02 Hillside Ave.
Jamaica, NY 11432
450 St. Marks Place
Staten Island, NY 10301