Eligibility Requirements

If you are a talented and motivated individual whose academic record does not reflect your full potential, and you are from a low-income family, the SEEK or CD Program may be for you.

A student must meet all of the following criteria in order to be considered for admission to the SEEK or CD Program:

  • Must be a high school graduate or have a New York State approved General Equivalency Diploma (GED) or its equivalent.
  • Must have not previously attended a college or university, except in the case of students enrolled in the State University of New York’s Educational Opportunity Program (EOP), or the independent colleges’ Higher Education Opportunity Program (HEOP).
  • Must be a resident of New York State for SEEK admission or a resident of New York City for CD program admission.
  • Must have an admissions index score that is below the cutoff point for regular admissions to a particular senior college (for SEEK admission) or have a college admissions average of less than 80 percent for admission to a community college CD program.
  • Must have a family income and other available financial resources fall within guidelines established by New York State.
  • Must attend a pre-freshman summer session if you do not satisfy the University criteria on one or more of the University Skills Assessment Tests in Reading, Writing, or Mathematics.

To Apply

You must complete the Special Programs (SEEK and College Discovery) section of the CUNY Freshman Admission Application. You must also complete the Financial Aid Student Application (FAFSA). The FAFSA can be submitted in paper form or (for a faster response) electronically through the FASFA application website. You should list all of the CUNY colleges you are considering in step 6 of your FAFSA. Be aware that not all eligible students are accepted to SEEK; therefore, you should submit your applications early to increase your chances of being accepted.

If you are a first-time freshman and you believe you meet the eligibility requirements, complete the CUNY application. Be sure to fill out the SEEK/CD section.

Applications are also available from the admissions office at the campus you wish to attend and from your high school counselor. If you have been enrolled in EOP, HEOP, SEEK or CD, you must also complete the CUNY Special Programs Transfer Request Form and send it to the SEEK/CD Director at the campus you wish to attend.

Common Application Questions

No. Unfortunately, there are many cases where eligible students were not aware of the Program when they applied to college or who didn’t know that SEEK is designed for first time college students. If you’ve earned college credits since graduating high school, you are not eligible to receive SEEK support services.

Yes. Students who were previously enrolled in another New York State higher education opportunity program–College Discovery (at CUNY two-year colleges), HEOP (at private colleges), or EOP(at SUNY colleges)–are eligible to transfer into SEEK provided they have remaining semesters of eligibility. You will need to complete a transfer request form at your home college.

In addition to the services the college provides to regularly admitted students, SEEK offers an array of instructional, financial, and counseling support services to its students. Program activities are designed to assist students in meeting the challenges of college and to provide a supportive environment in which they will flourish.

Yes. The Program is committed to your success and will expect you to use the services it provides to help you earn a degree. While specific program offerings differ, all campuses have requirements regarding participation in academic and counseling support activities. The overwhelming majority of Program students who excel give credit to SEEK for the academic and personal support it gives.

Each of the eleven senior CUNY campuses has a SEEK Program. Their websites can be accessed at www.cuny.edu. SEEK offices are welcoming places. Visit the SEEK Program on your campus of choice.

Program Model


Upon admission, a student is assigned to a SEEK/CD counselor who is available throughout the student’s stay in college. Counseling services assist program students with issues that might be an impediment to their academic success and retention. Through individual and group sessions, counselors actively engage their students and assist them in identifying and setting goals for achieving their personal, academic, and career aspirations. Some of the special counseling workshops and seminar topics offered include:

  • Time Management
  • Selecting a Major
  • Coping with Stress
  • Understanding College Policies and Procedures
  • Maintaining Wellness
  • Choosing a Career
  • Applying to Graduate School

For many students, the counseling office serves as a “home away from home.” The relationships they develop with their SEEK/CD counselor are usually close. Many counselors continue to serve as mentors and friends even beyond graduation.


The SEEK/CD Programs offer students a variety of academic support services aimed at strengthening their basic skills, bolstering their academic success in all upper level college courses, and maximizing their retention and persistence through to graduation. Supplemental instruction and tutoring support services are available, such as individual, group, and classroom tutoring; supplemental instruction hours attached to high-risk academic courses; peer study groups; course review groups; and computer assisted academic instruction.

SEEK/CD Programs collaborate with college academic departments in order to create learning communities and to identify specific courses where the attachment of supplemental instruction would most benefit SEEK/CD students. Various SEEK/CD programs also integrate classroom instruction with such activities as field trips, cultural events, leadership training workshops, and student presentations at academic conferences.


The SEEK/CD programs award supplemental financial assistance for educational expenses such as transportation, books, supplies, and college fees to students who are economically eligible to receive such additional aid. This is in addition to financial aid available to regularly admitted students. More financial aid information is available here.