What is New Jersey SEEDS?

Founded in 1992, New Jersey SEEDS is a privately funded, statewide, nonprofit organization. We change the lives of motivated, high-achieving students from low-income families by transforming their educational opportunities. We ensure that our students have the knowledge, skills, access and support to thrive at the nation’s finest schools and colleges. (Click here to learn more about our impact and our students’ perspectives.)

What programs does NJ SEEDS offer?

SEEDS identifies and selects scholars at different points along their educational trajectory and has developed distinct academic programs to meet their needs. Each program – Scholars, Young Scholars, and College Scholars – is designed to rapidly build the critical thinking skills and knowledge base that will allow students to thrive in far more challenging school environments than those from which they come.

Young Scholars participate in a 14-month program that begins with a summer program following fourth or fifth grade, meets on Saturdays during fifth or sixth grade and culminates with a three-week summer program the summer before sixth or seventh grade. The Young Scholars Program is open to students in Greater Newark (Newark, Irvington, Orange or East Orange).

The Scholars Program takes place over a 14-month period, beginning in the summer after seventh grade with a three-week residential experience, continuing Saturdays during the eighth grade year, and culminating in a second three-week residential experience during the summer between eighth and ninth grade. The Scholars Program is open to students from low-income communities in the state of New Jersey.

College Scholars participate in a 17-month education experience designed to prepare and place top-performing, low-income students from eligible public high schools in highly competitive colleges with excellent preparation and sufficient financial aid. 

Who is eligible to participate in the New Jersey SEEDS programs? What is the income requirement?

New Jersey students who demonstrate strong academic skills and potential, as well as financial need (see chart below), are eligible to participate in SEEDS’ programs.

Household Size                          Annual Income

Up to 4 …………………………………$70,000 or below
5 ………………………………………… $80,000 or below
6 ………………………………………….$90,000 or below

For each additional dependent, add $10,000.

To apply, students must have strong academic skills, meet our financial and geography requirements (view eligible 7th grade schools and high schools), and be U.S. citizens or permanent residents. A Social Security number or Permanent Resident Card/Resident Alien Card (Form I-551, aka Green Card) will be required for verification.

When do students apply to SEEDS?

Students apply to the Young Scholars Program during the fourth and fifth grades, and begin classes in the fall of their fifth or sixth grade years. Students apply to the Scholars Program during the seventh grade and begin classes the summer between seventh and eighth grade. Applications open each fall. Please complete an inquiry form to receive a link to the application when it opens.

College Scholars must be enrolled in one of our eligible high schools and must be nominated by a guidance counselor or principal. SEEDS will accept nominations as early as April of a student’s sophomore year up until October of a student’s junior year. Nominated students are then invited to complete an application in the fall of their 11th grade year. Students begin class with SEEDS in the spring of their 11th grade year, participate in a three-week summer residency, and continue academic classes with SEEDS Saturdays during senior year.

How are students selected for NJ SEEDS' programs?

Students may apply to the program online. Students may also be nominated by their teachers, counselors and/or school principals. They must submit report cards, standardized test scores, personal essays and teacher recommendation forms. Finalists in all programs must interview and take an entrance exam. The SEEDS Admissions Committee reviews all student records, and makes admissions decisions based upon a student’s potential for success in the independent school or college setting.

How many students participate in New Jersey SEEDS' programs

Each Young Scholars Program class has approximately 25 students. Approximately 125 students are accepted into the Scholars Program‘s Summer Challenge Program, the final step of the Scholars admissions process. Approximately 95 students are then invited to continue to Scholars Academy Saturdays. For the College Scholars Program, SEEDS will select approximately 44 students for admission.

Where do NJ SEEDS' programs take place?

The Young Scholars Program currently takes place at Newark Academy in Livingston and Far Brook School in Short Hills. The Scholars Program currently takes place at The Hill School (Pottstown, Pennsylvania), Morristown-Beard School in Morristown, The Pingry School in Basking Ridge, and Seton Hall Preparatory School in West Orange. The College Scholars Program takes place each Saturday at Drew University in Madison and Hobart and William Smith Colleges (Geneva, NY) over the summer.