Did you know that New York City offers students a wealth of free and low-cost opportunities to explore learning beyond the classroom?

Throughout the year, students across the City can take part in many exciting activities and programs, including STEM-based (science, technology, engineering, and math) enrichment programs, arts workshops, and career-building internships.

And with spring just around the corner, this is the perfect time for students and families to explore their options for Spring Recess and Summer Break.

Below you will find details about various opportunities available to City students this month—please note that deadlines for some programs are imminent. Students who are interested in any of these programs should apply ASAP in order to take advantage of what New York City has to offer its students!


Three young students sketching Egyptian artwork at the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York

The Metropolitan Museum of Art is a great learning destination for students of all ages. (Photo by Marco, via Flickr. Used under Creative Commons license.)

Family Afternoons at Metropolitan Museum of Art

For all students (Pre-K–12)

Free with Museum admission, Family Afternoons provide families with hands-on art making, gallery activities, and storytime at the Metropolitan Museum of Art. For more information, visit the Met’s “Family Afternoons” webpage, and check out the Museum’s “Families” page for information about other family-friendly programs and learning opportunities that are available this season.

STEM Matters NYC Spring Break Program

For all students (K–12)

STEM is taking over the City this spring with a wide range of FREE programs that are taking place during Spring Recess (April 13–17, 2020) for students of all ages. Elementary and middle school students throughout the five boroughs can choose to investigate urban gardens and woodlands, hone their photography skills, join space missions, and more, through the City’s STEM Matters NYC enrichment programs.

From now until February 10, 2020, discover your own STEM adventure and apply online!

High school students can apply to internship programs with the Genovesi Environmental Study Center as urban farmer assistants, or with the New-York Historical Society as tech scholars!

For more information, visit the STEM Matters NYC webpage.

Art History Club at the Frick Collection

For middle school students (Grades 6–8)

Register online to join the Art History Club at the Frick Collection, for FREE guided tours by museum educators that can inspire students to contemplate artworks, explore historical connections, and expand their understanding of the visual arts.

For dates and online registration, please visit the Art History Club page, or call (212) 547-0704 for assistance.

Young student smiling as she plants seeds into a garden

Spend your Spring Break getting your hands dirty as an urban farmer assistant! (Photo Credit: Genovesi Environmental Study Center)

College and Career Lab at New York University

For rising students in Grade 8 and 9

NYU’s College and Career Lab is designed to serve economically-disadvantaged, historically-underrepresented, and first generation college students. Scheduled to take place July 13–August 7, 2020, the lab exposes rising eighth- and ninth-grade students to courses at various schools across NYU and guidance from a NYU student advisor.

Review the program’s online application, and apply by April 5, 2020.

Saturday Academy at the Museum of the City of New York

For middle school and high school students (Grades 8–12)

Attend a free six-session program for students interested in American History and SAT preparation at the Museum of the City of New York (MCNY)! Courses meet every Saturday from February 29–April 4, 2020. Learn more about the program and course offerings on MCNY’s “Saturday Academy” website, and apply by February 14!

Summer Arts Institute

For middle school and high school students (grades 8–12)

The Summer Arts Institute offers a free arts training program (July 6–31, 2020) for students entering grades 8–12 in the upcoming 2020–2021 school year. Designed for intermediate or advanced level of study in one art form—dance, film, vocal music, instrumental music, orchestral strings, theater or visual arts—the program offers a unique opportunity for students to build a portfolio or enhance their audition skills.

The application deadline is February 14, 2020. Admission is based on auditions, interviews, or portfolio presentations. If interested, we recommend that you start your online application now, and email summerartsinstitute@schools.nyc.gov with any questions you may have.

Students from Dance Class Jumping into the Air While Hand-in-Hand

Programs like the Summer Arts Institute provide students with intermediate or advanced instruction in art forms like dance, film, vocal music, and visual arts. (Photo Credit: Fund for Public Schools)

Teen After-School Programs at the American Museum of Natural History

For high school students (Grades 9–12)

Explore topics including astrophysics, anthropology, and geology afterschool at the American Museum of Natural History (AMNH). All interested NYC high school students must apply to a course of their choice by March 29, 2020 in order to participate in session five (April 20–May 22, 2020).

Learn more about AMNH’s free afterschool programs on their “Teen After-School Programs” webpage.

Student Historian Internship Program at the New-York Historical Society

For rising high school students (Grades 9–12 next year)

Become a Student Historian at the New-York Historical Society, and spend your summer deepening your understanding of American history and art. The theme of the internship program is “We the People: Democracy from Athens to America,” and this year’s summer cohort will run from June 30–August 6. Visit the New-York Historical Society’s program website for more information, as applicants may need to submit supplementary material, including teacher recommendations, by the deadline on March 15, 2020.

Columbia University’s Science Honors Program

For rising high school sophomores, juniors, and seniors (Grades 10–12 next year)

Take Saturday courses through Columbia University’s Science Honors Program for the 2020-2021 academic year for free. Classes will be held at Columbia University’s Morningside Campus ever Saturday from September 2020 through May 2021.

For more information, check out the program’s application requirements listed on their webpage, and apply now until February 28, 2020.

Group of Student Historians sitting outside of N-YHS

Through the New-York Historical Society’s Student Historian internship, students with demonstrated financial need may be offered a stipend to participate. (Photo Credit: New-York Historical Society)

Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center Summer Program

For rising high school sophomores, juniors, and seniors (Grades 10–12 next year)

The Human Oncology and Pathogenesis Program (HOPP) at Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center is designed for students interested in biomedical research. The program allows high school students to pursue independent research projects while working with postdoctoral fellows and research technicians.

Interested applicants should apply online by February 7, 2020.

HYPOTHEKIDS’s NY Bioforce Internship

For rising high school sophomores, juniors, and seniors (Grades 10–12 next year)

Receive over 100 hours of research training in the spring, and intern for a prestigious biotechnology lab this summer through HYPOTHEKIDS’s NY Bioforce internship program. To learn more about the NY Bioforce internship program, visit their webpage, or email jg@harlembiospace.com.

You can submit your application until March 15, 2020.

Sound Thinking NYC Summer Intensive

For rising high school sophomores, juniors, and seniors (Grades 10–12 next year)

High school students interested in exploring careers in the music industry should consider applying to Sound Thinking NYC, through CUNY’s Creative Arts Team. The free program, which is especially designed for young women, runs in two sessions (July 6–July 24, 2020 and July 27–August 14, 2020). Early applications are due March 2, and the regular admission deadline is April 1, 2020.

Students working with a researcher at Columbia University

Students can receive hundreds of research hours through the NY Bioforce internship. (Photo Credit: HYPOTHEkids, Inc.)

New York University’s Applied Research Innovations in Science and Engineering (ARISE) program

For rising high school juniors and seniors (Grades 11–12 next year)

The NYU Tandon School of Engineering’s Applied Research Innovations in Science and Engineering (ARISE) program offers free STEM research opportunities for all current tenth and eleventh grade City students. Students that participate in the summer program (June 29–August 14, 2020) gain research experience at NYU faculty labs, mentoring, and a stipend for completing the program. Check out the ARISE program’s application webpage, and make sure to submit your application by March 1, 2020.

Ladders for Leaders

For rising high school juniors and seniors (Grades 11–12 next year)

Ladders for Leaders is a NYC Department of Youth and Community Development (DYCD) program that offers high school students the opportunity to participate in paid professional summer internships. The program hosts 583 unique employers from 17 different industries! Visit the Ladders for Leaders webpage to learn more about the program, and submit your application before February 7, 2020!

NASA High School Internships

For rising high school juniors and seniors

The National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) provides unique internship opportunities for high school students at the Goddard Institute for Space Studies in Manhattan. Support their ongoing mission to explore space, research atmospheric rivers, and address climate change. Applications must be submitted on NASA’s Internship website by March 8, 2020, to participate in the summer program. Who knows—you might discover the next new planet!

Students posing for photo outside of Space Shuttle Enterprise on the USS Intrepid

Help further humanity’s understanding of space and climate change by applying to intern at NASA’s Goddard Institute for Space Studies. (Photo Credit: Goddard Institute for Space Studies)

Summer High School Internships at the Metropolitan Museum of Art

For rising high school juniors and seniors (Grades 11–12 next year)

Explore artifacts and great works of art while learning about museum-based careers this summer through the Met High School Internship Program (July 6–August 7, 2020). Interns are placed in one of the Museum’s many departments where they will develop their professional skills, network, and gain work experience. Additionally, students will have the opportunity to participate in Career Labs, which are interactive workshops that provide insight into the world of art.

Visit the Met’s internship program website for the online application and departmental placement descriptions. The application deadline is March 23, 2020, and interviews will be held in late April.

The New York County District Attorney’s High School Internship Program

For rising high school juniors and seniors (Grades 11 and 12 next year)

Interested in serving the community while learning about our criminal justice system? The New York County District Attorney’s High School Internship Program (July 6–August 7, 2020) allows student interns to work with assistant district attorneys out of the Manhattan District Attorney’s Office and participate in mock trial competitions. The application for the program opens on February 10, and the deadline to apply is March 9, 2020.

Visit the internship program’s website for application and residency requirements, along with program updates.

Princeton University’s Princeton Summer Journalism Program

For rising high school seniors (Grade 12 next year)

Current juniors who are aspiring journalists should consider applying to the free residential Princeton Summer Journalism Program (July 31–August 20, 2020) offered to students from low-income backgrounds. Students gain real journalism experience—they hold press conferences, producing short documentaries, report on professional sporting events, publish stories in the Princeton Summer Journal, and more!

Apply for the journalism program through Princeton’s dedicated program website by the application deadline on February 17, 2020.

Journalism student interviewing another student

NYC students from low-income backgrounds can gain valuable journalism experience through Princeton’s free residential Summer Journalism Program. (Photo Credit: Princeton University)


For more opportunities like these, visit our Student Opportunities page for weekly updates!

The Morning Bell

Official blog for the NYC Department of Education, home of over 1.1 million students across 1,800+ schools

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NYC Department of Education, 2019