Learn About Other Ways to Graduate

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.

Note: Students who turned 21 years old in the 2020-21 school year can stay enrolled or re-enroll in high school for 2021-22 to continue working toward their diploma. 

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.

Explore young adult borough centers

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.

Learn more about Adult Education

Speak to Someone

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


Central Bronx

Workforce 1 @ West Farms
901 E Tremont Ave.
Bronx, NY 10460


Central Brooklyn

Boys and Girls High School
1700 Fulton Street, Room 383
Brooklyn, NY 11213


Downtown Brooklyn

69 Schermerhorn Street
Brooklyn, New York 11201



The Alternative Learning Complex
269 W. 35 St., Floor 11
New York, NY 10018



Jamaica Learning Center
162-02 Hillside Ave.
Jamaica, NY 11432


Staten Island

450 St. Marks Pl.
Staten Island, NY 10301