NYC High School Admissions Guide

Welcome to high school admissions! Here's how to get started:

  1. Sign up for the high school and specialized high schools email lists.
  2. Keep reading this page to learn how students get offers and what makes a strong high school application.
  3. With MySchools, you can explore your high school options, find choices for your application, register to test or audition for the specialized high schools, and apply to high school—all in one place. Be sure to meet with your school counselor to discuss your application choices.
  4. Visit schools and attend the high school admissions fairs to attend admissions workshops.
  5. Apply to high school by December 2, 2019. Learn more below.

Use this action checklist to guide your admissions journey:

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Who Can Apply?

All current eighth grade students who live in New York City can apply to high school and the specialized high schools this fall for the 2020-2021 school year. First-time ninth grade students who are not repeating ninth grade can also apply to programs with tenth grade seats. We serve and welcome all NYC students, including:

Multilingual/English Language Learners

All NYC public schools provide a range of supports and services for Multilingual/English Language Learners to develop their English language skills and prepare them for success in school, college, and careers. Learn more about English as a new language (ENL), transitional bilingual education (TBE), and dual language (DL) programs.

Students with Disabilities

Every high school is expected to welcome and serve students with disabilities in accordance with students’ Individualized Education Programs (IEPs). All high school programs admit general education students and students with disabilities. Testing accommodations are provided according to students’ IEPs. Students enrolled in District 75 who are considering a District 1-32 high school can participate in high school admissions .

Students with Accessibility Needs

The NYC Department of Education (DOE) is committed to providing students with accessibility needs an offer to a high school program that allows them to access all relevant programs and services. For the most up-to-date information about accessibility, check our website and contact schools directly. In the MySchools High School Directory, you can filter for fully or partially accessible schools.

Students in Temporary Housing

Students in temporary housing may apply to any high school programs, even if they move to a temporary residence outside of NYC. They are not required to submit documentation (including address, proof of age, and immunization) in order to participate in an admissions process and accept their offer.

Immigrant Families

Every child in New York City has a right to a public school education, regardless of immigration status. By law, children may not be asked to present documentation of immigration status, nor can they be denied admission, registration, or enrollment in school based on immigration status. DOE employees will not ask about a family’s status, and if they do learn about immigration status, they must keep it confidential. Public schools are at the center of our democracy and remain safe places for all students, families, and educators.

LGBTQ Students and Families

All of our schools welcome and support lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, and queer or questioning students, families, and staff. You can apply to single-gender programs based on your gender identity, regardless of sex assigned at birth. A transgender student interested in a single-gender school should ask your school counselor to assist in the application process. In MySchools, use the search term "GSA" for a list of schools with a club that supports LGBTQ students.

Students with Children

The Living for the Young Family Through Education (LYFE) program provides free early childhood education and support to children six weeks to four years old of student-parents enrolled in NYC DOE schools.

Know the Paths to High School

For most students in New York City, there are two paths to DOE public high schools:

Applying to High School

  • In the fall, access your personalized high school application and submit it online with MySchools or through a counselor by Monday, December 2, 2019.
  • You can apply to 12 programs on your application.
  • In March, you will get your high school offer letter, which will include a high school offer and/or any offer(s) to specialized high schools, as well as a list of high schools where you are waitlisted.
  • If you choose to not submit a high school application, you will get an offer to the closest high school program with available seats.

Testing or Auditioning for the Specialized High Schools

Apply to one or more of the nine specialized high schools by taking a test or auditioning this fall. There are two types of specialized high schools:

TESTING SCHOOLS

Eight of the specialized high schools require students to schedule (register for) and take a test—the Specialized High Schools Admissions Test (SHSAT)—for admission. These schools make offers to applicants based on SHSAT scores, the order applicants list these schools on their test answer sheets, and seat availability. They do not consider students’ academic records.

Schedule your SHSAT test date one of three ways by October 10, 2019.

Apply to these schools by taking the SHSAT; your test is your application. Applicants who score high enough will get one offer. The testing specialized high schools are:

  • High School of American Studies at Lehman College
  • The Bronx High School of Science
  • The Brooklyn Latin School
  • Brooklyn Technical High School
  • High School for Math, Science, and Engineering at City College of New York
  • Queens High School for the Sciences at York College
  • Staten Island Technical High School
  • Stuyvesant High School

AUDITION SCHOOL

One of the specialized high schools, Fiorello H. LaGuardia High School of Music & Arts and Performing Arts, requires students to register and audition for any of these six studios: Dance, Drama, Fine & Visual Art, Instrumental Music, Technical Theater, and Vocal Music. Offers to these studios are determined by applicants’ auditions or submissions. LaGuardia High School also reviews applicants’ academic record and attendance information from the prior school year.

Schedule your audition test date one of three ways by October 10, 2019:

Apply to LaGuardia High School by auditioning; the audition and the on-site writing response is your application.

RESOURCES

  • Use the Specialized High Schools Student Handbook to learn how to prepare for the SHSAT and LaGuardia High School auditions. Pick up a print copy of the handbook at your school or a Family Welcome Center, or download it from this page.
  • Use the MySchools High School Directory to read about each specialized high school and see if it’s a good fit for you. To see all eight testing schools at a glance, filter for programs that use the Test admissions method.

RESULTS

If you take the SHSAT or audition for LaGuardia High School, your high school offer letter may include an offer from a testing school and/or any offers from LaGuardia studios. These schools do not use waitlists, and you cannot submit an appeal to a specialized high school.

Be sure to explore your options beyond the specialized high schools! Use MySchools to find other exciting academic programs to list on your high school application.

Admissions for Students in District 75 Programs

District 75 provides highly specialized instructional support for students with significant challenges, such as Autism Spectrum Disorders, significant cognitive delays, emotional disturbances, sensory impairments, and multiple disabilities. These supports are offered in a wide variety of settings and locations across New York City, including special classes co-located in District 1-32 schools, school buildings where all students have IEPs, general education classrooms, agencies, hospitals, and at home.

Students enrolled in District 75 who are considering a District 1-32 high school can participate in high school admissions. These students should also work with their IEP team to determine whether the recommendation for District 75 for high school is still appropriate. If the IEP team believes that District 75 continues to be appropriate, the District 75 Placement Office will notify the student of their District 75 high school placement in May or June.

Admissions for Students Aged 16-21 Who Are Behind on Credits

Transfer schools are academically rigorous high schools designed to serve students who are 16-21 years old and want to graduate. If you have dropped out of school or fallen behind on credits, a transfer school can help you get back on track toward graduation; some schools accept students who are 15 years old, and many transfer schools are flexible about who they admit. We support student success in these schools through a matching process during individual admissions interviews.

Interested in a transfer school?

Charter Schools

  • Charter schools are free public schools that are open to all New York City students and that operate independently from the Department of Education (DOE). Instead, charter schools operate under a performance contract, or charter, issued by a New York State authorizer. They are accountable for meeting specific academic goals and often try different approaches to ensure their students meet these goals.
  • Please note that charter schools have a separate high school application process. If you would like to apply to high school at a charter school, please contact that school directly to learn about their enrollment and admissions. Note that some charter high schools only admit students who attend eighth grade at one or more partner charter middle schools. Any student eligible for admission to a DOE public school is eligible for admission to a public charter school.
  • For a list of charter high schools by borough and their contact information, turn to the back of the print edition of the 2020 High School Admissions Guide. For more general information, please see the charter school web page or call 212-374-5419.

Explore Schools and Programs

As you start exploring your high school options, consider what matters most to you—this might be location, language offerings, a particular interest area, a sports team, or accessibility.

  • Year-round, anyone can search for schools and programs in the MySchools High School Directory. Even if you're not logged in to MySchools, you can type your home address in the search bar to find schools near you.
  • During the application period, parents/guardians of eighth grade and first-time ninth grade students can create a MySchools account to get a personalized search experience. Once your family has an account and is logged in, you can save favorite programs, get helpful admissions tips, and start adding programs to your application.

Finding Schools of Interest

SEARCH

Type course names, interests, clubs, and programs into the search bar to find schools that offer what you're looking for:

  • For schools offering Advanced Placement (AP) and International Baccalaureate (IB) courses, type AB, IB, or a specific course like AP Biology into the search bar
  • For schools offering computer science courses, type Computer Science, CS, or a specific course name
  • For schools with Dual Language programs, type Dual Language or a more specific search term like Spanish Dual Language
  • For schools featuring arts courses or activities, type a general term like Dance or Art, or a more specific one like Dance Team or Graphic Design.

Screen capture of the MySchools Search bar and filter options from the public High School Directory.

FILTER

Use filters to narrow your search to schools with specific features:

  • Use the Subway filter to find options along specific train lines.
  • Use the Size filter to search for schools by how many students go there.
  • Use the Sports filter to find schools that have teams for specific sports, such as basketball and swimming. The Public School Athletic League (PSAL) coordinates interscholastic competition for all NYC public high schools. Schools designated as NCAA Cleared currently offer at least 16 NCAA-approved academic classes.
  • Select More Filters to see options to filter for schools...
    • With specific eligibility requirements—for instance, schools for new arrivals, which are open only to applicants new to the country and learning English
    • Located in specific boroughs, such the Bronx
    • By their accessibility, displaying options in in partially accessible and/or fully accessible buildings
    • With programs that use specific admissions methods, such as open or screened
    • Whose students wear uniforms

Understanding School Information

Each high school has a detailed school page in the MySchools High School Directory. You can use this information to learn if a school might be a good place for you. Consider how a school's offerings line up with your interests. Are its classes and activities ones that you enjoy, do well at, or would like to explore? On a school's MySchools page, you can do the following:

  • Use the school's location to plan what your daily commute would be like : click the map or address to get directions. Click these symbols to zoom in (+) or out (-) of the map.
  • Use subway and bus information to find possible routes to the school.
  • Find a link to the school's website, and contact staff directly by phone or email to learn about open houses or ask questions.
  • Consider how factors like the school's grade span or size might influence your daily learning experience.
  • Read the school's overview to learn about its vision and what makes it special, in the school's own words.
  • Click + Performance to find out about the school's performance . If you have questions about performance data, speak with your school counselor. You can also look up any school's School Quality Report by entering its name in Find a School. These reports include more detailed information on each school's performance. Additionally, the New York State Education Department determines school accountability based on its own set of measures.
  • Click + Academics to find out which academic programs and supports the school offers, including internships, college trips, and language courses. You can also learn which diploma endorsements the school's graduating students received last year. Students may earn diploma endorsements in the arts, CTE, math, and/or science after successfully completing additional courses and exams.
  • Click + Activities to learn about a school's clubs , sports teams, and ensembles, as well as other activities.
  • Click + Accessibility or hover over the accessibility icon to find out if the school is fully accessible, partially accessible, or not accessible.

Note that all the information in a school listing refers to information from the previous year and may change for the 2020-2021 school year. Contact schools directly for the most up-to-date information.

Types of Schools

Some high schools reserve seats for specific student groups, offer additional services for students and families, or provide opportunities for students to earn college credits and/or gain work experience. There are schools with programs that have seats set aside especially for students who are starting tenth grade in fall 2020. If you are current first-time ninth grade student, you can apply to a program or programs at these schools.

CAREER AND TECHNICAL EDUCATION SCHOOLS AND PROGRAMS

Career and Technical (CTE) programs offer NYC public school students engaging opportunities to pursue industry-recognized credentials, participate in job shadowing and paid internships, and receive mentoring from professionals—critical experiences to prepare young people for entry to postsecondary education, training, and employment. Students graduate from CTE programs with a strong academic foundation, technical and employable/durable skills, and authentic work experience to compete successfully for careers in high-demand sectors of New York City’s economy.

New York City offers over 300 Career and Technical Education (CTE) programs to choose from at over 135 high schools, including some of our specialized high schools! These programs connect students to a wide range of industry options leading to more than 79 specific postsecondary options, career pathways, or jobs.

Interested in exploring CTE options? Attend the CTE High School Fair in October and visit the CTE website.

COMMUNITY SCHOOLS

Community schools help students find their passion by integrating academics, health, youth development, expanded learning such as after school and summer programs, and family engagement. By bringing schools, families, and community partners together to create new opportunities, community schools foster collaboration within a community so that students are ready and able to learn, and graduate high school prepared for college and success.

In MySchools, use the search term "community school" to find schools that offer these services.

EARLY COLLEGE

Early college high schools blend a rigorous college-prep curriculum with the opportunity to earn up to two years of college credit toward a liberal arts Associate's degree while in grades 9-12 at the high school level at no cost to students. These schools maintain a partnership with a college to provide academic and social supports to help students develop the knowledge and skills needed to succeed in college. Find more information on a school’s early college degree course offerings on its MySchools page, or contact the school directly.

EARLY COLLEGE AND CAREER SCHOOLS GRADES 9-14

Early college and career schools, also called NYC P-TECH Grades 9-14 schools (Pathways in Technology Early College High Schools), offer a six-year program where students can earn a high school diploma and a no-cost, career-specific Associate’s degree (or up to two years of transferable college credits), plus gain valuable workplace skills.

As both an early college and a Career and Technical Education (CTE) school, each school has a specific science, technology, engineering, or math-based career theme for its rigorous academic and CTE program. Students participate in career exploration activities with the school’s lead industry partners, including work-based projects and internships. Students may also begin taking tuition-free college classes as early as tenth grade at the partnering college and have until the fourteenth grade to complete the college credits towards an Associate degree. Through these partnerships, graduates are prepared to begin their careers and continue their postsecondary education.

Find more information on a school’s career theme and early college degree pathway on its school page in this directory, or contact the school directly. In MySchools, use the search term 9-14 for a list of these schools.

PERFORMANCE ASSESSMENT SCHOOLS

Instead of requiring that students pass certain Regents exams, these schools’ graduation requirements include performance assessments in major subject areas. Assessments involve extensive research projects, presentations, and defense of your work. These schools have a waiver from the New York State Education Department permitting them to award diplomas to students who pass all required courses and performance assessments, in addition to the following:

  • New York Performance Standards Consortium schools require you to pass the English Language Arts Regents and complete performance assessments in science, social studies, and math.
  • Other performance assessment schools require you to pass the ELA and math Regents.

In MySchools, use the search term "performance assessment" for a list of these schools.

SCHOOLS FOR NEW ARRIVALS

Schools for new arrivals, including schools within the International Network for Public Schools, serve students who are new to the country. All have requirements regarding home language, English proficiency, and/or the amount of time a student has lived in the United States.

In MySchools, filter for "Schools for New Arrivals" to get a list of these schools. Before you apply to a school for new arrivals, review any program requirements under Eligibility Description (if applicable), Admissions Priorities (if applicable), Admissions Method, and Selection Criteria (if applicable).

Finding Programs

When you apply to high school, you are not just applying to schools: you are applying to programs. Think of a program as a doorway to get into the school. If a school has multiple programs, you can apply to more than one program at that school. For instance, a school might have an arts program and a technology program; if you were interested in both dancing and computer science you might apply to both programs at the same school. They would count as two different program choices.

At the bottom of each school's MySchools directory page are the programs that the school offers. Click a program name to display its information. During the application period, you can click the stars next to program names to save them as your favorites. You can also add up to 12 programs to your high school application.

Know Your Chances

How can you know your chances of getting an offer to a specific high school program? And how do you increase your chances of getting an offer to a program on your application? It helps to start by learning how offers are made. Students get offers to programs based on some or all of the following factors. You can control some of these factors, while others are aspects of the programs themselves.

Learning about all of these factors can help you know your chances of getting an offer to each program of interest:

  1. Your Application Choices. The number of program choices you add to your application and the order in which you place them matter! This is a factor you can control. Add 12 choices to your application in your true order of preference. Then submit your application.
  2. Seat Availability. The number of applicants compared to the number of seats shows how in-demand (or popular) a program is.
  3. Admissions Priorities. Some programs give admissions priority to specific groups of applicants before others, such as to students who live in a specific district or borough. All students in a program's priority group 1 will be considered first. Then, if seats are still available, students in that program's priority group 2 will be considered next, and so on. Learn which priority group you're in for each program. You may be in different priority groups for different programs.
  4. Admissions Methods. For some programs, applicants get offers based on random selection. For other programs, applicants are evaluated based on selection criteria and then ranked based on that evaluation.

Learn more about how students get offers to NYC public high schools in the videos at the bottom of this page.

Your Choices on the Application

The number of program choices you add to your application and the order in which you place them matter! Creating a balanced application can increase your chances of receiving an offer to a program you want to attend. A balanced application should have:

  • 12 program choices, ANY of which you’d be happy to attend. There is no way to guarantee an offer to your first-choice program, but with more than 700 high school program options to choose from, finding 12 choices that you want should be easy. Discovering more programs that interest you and adding them to your application increases your chance of getting an offer to a program you want. Listing fewer than 12 choices will lower your chances of getting an offer to a program of your choice.
  • 12 program choices in your true preference order. Always place the programs on your application in your true order of preference, with your favorite program at the top as #1. You will be considered for your first-choice program first. If you don’t get an offer to your first choice, then you will be considered for your second-choice program as though it were your first choice, and so on.
  • A mix of programs that do and don’t screen applicants. On your application, be sure to include a mix of programs that you have a higher chance, average chance, and lower chance of receiving an offer from. A balanced application includes a mix of programs that are reach, target, and likely for you:
  • A balanced application includes a mix of programs that are reach, target, and likely for you:
    • Reach - Lower chance you'll get an offer
    • Target - Average chance you'll get an offer
    • Likely - Higher chance you'll get an offer

Your Chances: Note that while some programs (such as programs with more than 10 applicants for every seat) are a reach for everyone, one student’s target program may be another student’s likely.

  • Use the information that follows on seat availability, admissions priorities, admissions methods, and selection criteria to determine whether a program is a reach, target, or likely program for you.
  • If a program that you love is a reach for you, consider applying. If it’s your favorite program, place it as your first choice on your application!
  • Just be sure to include a mix of programs that are target and likely for you on your application, too. Listing only screened programs lowers your chance of receiving an offer to a program of your choice. A balanced application will give you the best possible chance to get an offer to a program on your application.

Tip: Always place the programs on your application in your true order of preference, with your favorite program at the top as #1. High schools will not see your application choice order, so they will not know if they are your first or twelfth choice!

Seat Availability

SEATS - GENERAL EDUCATION AND STUDENTS WITH DISABILITIES

Each program admits general education students and students with disabilities. Your application will show which designation you are in. This is not something you choose.

General Education StudentsStudents with Disabilities
  • For students who receive general education instructional programming
  • For students who receive special education instructional programming for 20% or less of their academic program as indicated on their current IEP

For students who receive special education instructional programming for more than 20% of their academic program as indicated on their current IEP

Special education instructional programming includes Integrated Co-Teaching (ICT) classes, Special Class (SC), and Special Education Teacher Support Services (SETSS).

  • Related services, such as speech, occupational therapy (OT), and physical therapy (PT), are not considered special education instructional programming for the purposes of high school admissions.
  • Please note that students with 504 accommodation plans are not entitled to seats for students with disabilities if they do not have an IEP that states the student also receives instructional programming for more than 20% of their academic program.

Every high school participating in high school admissions is expected to welcome and serve students with disabilities in accordance with the recommended programs and services listed on their Individualized Education Programs (IEPs). The IEP team at the high school will review the IEP to ensure that all services and supports a student requires are provided. In some cases, the IEP team may meet to review and revise the IEP to better meet the student’s current needs.

In MySchools: Seats for students with disabilities in the MySchools Directory reflect the percentage of students with disabilities in each borough.

SCHOOLS OFFERING 10th GRADE SEATS IN ADMISSIONS

Some high schools have seats set aside specifically for students who are starting tenth grade in fall 2020. If you are a current first-time ninth grade student (not repeating ninth grade), you can apply to a program or programs at these schools.

In MySchools: Use the search term "seats 10th grade" to view your options. To see if a specific school has tenth grade seats, click on Other Features.

SEATS - DEMAND LAST YEAR

A program's applicants per seat for a program gives a sense of how in-demand or popular the program is— this can help you know your chances of getting an offer from that program.

  • If a program has ten or more applicants per seat, it is in high demand. This program is a reach for you or any applicant.
  • If a program has four to nine applicants per seat, it is in average demand. Consider more factors to determine if this is a target or likely program for you.
  • If a program has three or fewer applicants per seat, it is in lower demand. Consider more factors to determine if this is a target or likely program for you.

In MySchools: You can learn how many seats each program offered last year as well as how many people applied for these seats in MySchools. Here's how:

  • For any program, click on the Admissions Method tab.
  • Then refer to the Demand Last Year section to see how many seats the program had, how many students applied for the program, and how many applicants there were per seat. Note that all numbers are from last year.

Tip: Consider listing some programs with three or fewer applicants per seat on your application.

Application

The number of program choices you add to your application and the order in which you place them matter! Creating a balanced application can increase your chances of receiving an offer to a program you want to attend. A balanced application should have:

  • 12 program choices, ANY of which you’d be happy to attend. There is no way to guarantee an offer to your first-choice program, but with more than 700 high school program options to choose from, finding 12 choices that you want should be easy. Discovering more programs that interest you and adding them to your application increases your chance of getting an offer to a program you want. Listing fewer than 12 choices will lower your chances of getting an offer to a program of your choice.
  • 12 program choices in your true preference order. Always place the programs on your application in your true order of preference, with your favorite program at the top as #1. You will be considered for your first-choice program first. If you don’t get an offer to your first choice, then you will be considered for your second-choice program as though it were your first choice, and so on.
  • A mix of programs that do and don’t screen applicants. On your application, be sure to include a mix of programs that you have a higher chance, average chance, and lower chance of receiving an offer from. A balanced application includes a mix of programs that are reach, target, and likely for you:
  • A balanced application includes a mix of programs that are reach, target, and likely for you:
    • Reach - Lower chance you'll get an offer
    • Target - Average chance you'll get an offer
    • Likely - Higher chance you'll get an offer

Your Chances: Note that while some programs (such as programs with more than 10 applicants for every seat) are a reach for everyone, one student’s target program may be another student’s likely.

  • Use the information that follows on seat availability, admissions priorities, admissions methods, and selection criteria to determine whether a program is a reach, target, or likely program for you.
  • If a program that you love is a reach for you, consider applying. If it’s your favorite program, place it as your first choice on your application!
  • Just be sure to include a mix of programs that are target and likely for you on your application, too. Listing only screened programs lowers your chance of receiving an offer to a program of your choice. A balanced application will give you the best possible chance to get an offer to a program on your application.

Tip: Always place the programs on your application in your true order of preference, with your favorite program at the top as #1. High schools will not see your application choice order, so they will not know if they are your first or twelfth choice!

Admissions Priorities

A program’s admissions priorities determine the order in which applicants are considered for offers to each program. Admissions priorities are only used if a program has more applicants than available seats. When this happens, students are considered in groups:

  1. All students in priority group 1 will be considered first.
  2. Then, if seats are still available, students in priority group 2 will be considered next, and so on.

Your Chances: The higher your priority group is for a program (1 is highest), the higher the chance you will get an offer to that program.

  • Consider applying to at least a few programs where you are in the first priority group. This could increase your chances of getting an offer to a program on your application.
  • However, even if you are in the first priority group for a program, it also depends on other factors (in particular, the program's demand and its admissions method) whether that program is reach, target, or likely for you.

In MySchools: You can find a program’s most up-to-date admissions priorities on its page in MySchools. Here's how:

  • Click on the Admissions Method tab.
  • Then look for the Priority Groups section, which lists priority groups in order. Some programs have only one priority for all applicants.

DIVERSITY IN ADMISSIONS

Some programs have admissions priorities based on family income, ELL status, or other criteria. High schools across the city are participating in an effort to increase diversity in their programs. The current list of schools participating in diversity pilots is available on our Diversity in Admissions website.

STUDENTS AT CONTINUING SCHOOLS OR WITH ZONED SCHOOLS

If your high school application indicates a guaranteed offer to a particular program and you would like to continue at that school, place this program on the application in your order of preference. This guarantee would be your continuing school if you attend one, or your zoned school if you have one and the admissions method is zoned guarantee.

  • You do not have to list this program first on your application to keep your guarantee.
  • You will receive an offer to this program if you do not receive an offer to a program that you listed higher on your application.

Admissions Methods

Admissions methods are the ways programs make offers to students; they also describe what you need to do to be considered for a program. In most cases, all you have to do is list the program on your application. A school with multiple programs may have programs with different admissions methods.

There are two broader types of admissions methods—those that don’t screen applicants and those that do:

PROGRAMS THAT USE RANDOM SELECTION

As part of the high school admissions process, every applicant is assigned a random number, similar to a lottery. Programs with open and educational option admissions methods use students’ randomly assigned numbers, and may also use admissions priorities, to make offers. At many programs, when there are more applicants than seats, students are admitted in order by their randomly assigned numbers. If the program also uses admissions priorities, all applicants from the first priority group for a program are admitted before any students from the second priority group, regardless of their randomly assigned numbers.

PROGRAMS THAT RANK APPLICANTS

Screened and audition programs evaluate applicants for admission based on the program’s selection criteria, and they assign a ranking number to applicants based on that evaluation, starting with the top-ranked applicant as #1. Not all applicants will necessarily be ranked by a program. Ranked applicants receive offers in ranking number order.

If the program also has admissions priorities, offers are made to ranked applicants in priority group order. A program’s selection criteria may include academic records, interviews, auditions, and more to evaluate and rank students.

High School Admissions Method

Methods What You Need to Do What Schools Use for Admissions?
Test
  • Schedule the SHSAT
  • Take the SHSAT
  • List the testing specialized high schools in your order of preference on your SHSAT answer sheet
  • Your SHSAT scores
  • The preference order of the testing specialized high schools from your SHSAT answer sheet
  • Offers are made to students in SHSAT score order.
Audition OR Screened
  • Complete any additional requirements, such as an audition or interview
  • Review your grades and test scores against the program's selection criteria ranges, as detailed in MySchools .
  • Schools evaluate applicants based on selection criteria and rank applicants based on that evaluation. Selection criteria can include:
    • Student's academic record, such as final report card grades or test scores
    • Results from any on-site tasks, such as interviews, portfolios, assessments, or auditions
  • Offers are made to ranked students by priority group and in ranking number order.
Educational Option (Ed. Opt.)
  • List the program on your application.
  • Check to see if there are any additional selection criteria in MySchools.
  • Educational Option (Ed. Opt.) programs are designed to serve students at a range of academic levels. Some schools may choose to rank some applicants based on their academic record or other criteria.
  • Offers are made based on randomly assigned numbers, and some offers are made based on ranking numbers for programs that rank applicants.
  • If a program also uses admissions priorities, all qualifying applicants in the first priority group will get offers first
Screened: Language
  • Check that you meet the program's eligibility requirements, such as home language, language proficiency, years living in the United States, or similar.
  • For screened: language and academics programs, review your grades and test scores against the program's selection criteria ranges, as detailed in MySchools.
  • Offers to screened: language programs are based on English Language Learner services entitlement, in order by their priority groups and randomly assigned numbers.
  • For screened: language & academics programs only, schools also use academic records to rank and make offers to qualifying students in order by their priority groups and ranked numbers.
Transfer
  • Make sure that you meet the program's age and academic requirements.
  • Students who live in the school's zone have a guarantee or priority to attend. Offers are made to applicants who live in the school's zone.
Zoned
  • Check your home address to see if you live in the zone.
  • Students who live in the school's zone have a guarantee or priority to attend. Offers are made to applicants who live in the school's zone.
Open
  • Just list this program on your application.
  • Offers are made to students in order by their priority groups and randomly assigned numbers.

Selection Criteria

Programs that have a screened or audition admissions method, or sometimes an educational option admissions method, evaluate applicants based on specific selection criteria. The selection criteria that a program uses to evaluate applicants and the way the program explains these criteria is called a rubric.

  • Student information is then applied to the rubric to determine a ranking order. Note that different programs use different selection criteria and have different rubrics.
  • Reach out to schools directly to learn about their rubrics. Reading through a rubric helps you learn a program's expectations for its students. It also helps you assess your chances of getting an offer.

In MySchools: Look up a program’s selection criteria ranges on its MySchools page to learn if that program will evaluate you based on last year’s course grades, standardized test scores (ELA and math), and/or attendance and punctuality, or if they require additional assessments such as an interview, essay, portfolio, or on-site assessment (including an audition).

Your Chances: The ranges shown in a screened or audition program’s selection criteria refer to the actual ranges of grades, attendance records, and test scores from eighth grade general education students who got offers to this program last year. For example, a program’s range for social studies course grades might be 78-100.

The ranges may vary from year to year depending on applicants.

  • If your academics are on the high ends of a program’s selection criteria ranges, and you are in the first priority group, and the program is in lower demand, this is a likely program for you.
  • If your academics are in the middle of a program’s selection criteria ranges, and you are in the first priority group, and the program is in lower to average demand, consider this program a target.
  • If your academics are on the low end of a program’s selection criteria ranges, consider this program a reach.

The academic ranges for students with disabilities who received offers may be different and are often wider than ranges for general education students.

NO TEST SCORES?

Consistent with New York State law, New York State ELA and math test results will not be the sole, primary, or major factor in admissions decisions. Students without test scores are eligible to apply to programs with academic ranges listed in a program’s selection criteria—schools have been instructed to develop policies for evaluating these students.

Assessments and Auditions

Some programs may require you to complete additional assessments remotely or at the school. Find out if you can schedule any required assessments or auditions in MySchools.

  • Audition programs may list their audition dates and times on our website—schools' information is organized by borough: Bronx, Brooklyn, Manhattan, Queens, Staten Island. It's a good idea to contact the school directly or check its website to confirm the most up-to-date audition information.
  • Screened program assessments may include an interview, portfolio, or on-site essay or exam. All of these programs must list assessments in the Selection Criteria section of their MySchools page. Find dates, times, and deadlines for these requirements on the schools' websites.

COMMON AUDITION COMPONENTS

Auditioning for arts programs? A select group of schools have programs that offer common audition components. This means that if you prepare for your audition at one of these programs, you’ll be ready to audition at other participating programs, too. Programs that use audition components are noted on their borough's audition page (scroll up for links by borough), along with any additional information.

These are the shared components for each type of arts program:

Visual Arts

Prepare and present a portfolio with 8-15 pieces of original artwork with a diversity of subject matter and use of media. Three-dimensional pieces may be photographed and included in the portfolio. Complete up to three drawing assignments at the audition. Drawing assignments may include: the human figure and drawing from observation or imagination. Check school websites for examples.

Instrumental Music

You may audition on more than one instrument. Perform a prepared solo selection. Bring your own instrument(s) except piano, tuba, double bass, harp, percussion, and guitar amplifiers, which are provided by the school. Audition includes on-site music tasks (may include singing back melodic patterns, tapping back rhythmic patterns, playing selected scales, or completing a sight reading, music theory, or improvisation task).

Vocal Music

Perform a song that you have prepared and bring the sheet music in your key. Song recommendations may also be listed on school websites. Vocal singers will also be asked to repeat vocal phrases to test rhythm, tonal memory, and basic vocal technique. Ability to incorporate directions from teacher will be considered.

Dance

Participate in both a ballet class and a modern dance class. Applicants must wear ballet shoes and fitted dance attire. Refer to a school’s directory page or website to see if a prepared solo is necessary.

Drama

Perform two memorized contrasting monologues (one minute each), for example, dramatic/comedic, classical/contemporary, or theater/film. Choose characters close to your age and decide who your characters are talking to and why. Perform an on-demand dramatic or movement activity (e.g. impromptu reading from provided script or improvisation). Wear attire that allows free movement.

Musical Theater

Prepare to audition in all three areas: drama, dance, and vocal music.

  • Drama: Students will perform a one-minute monologue from memory. The monologue should be from a published script. Choose characters close to your age and decide who your characters are talking to and why. Refer to school websites for recommended monologues.
  • Dance: Students should be prepared to demonstrate a modern dance or jazz combination prepared by the dance faculty. Please wear jazz shoes, ballet shoes or bare feet and fitted dance attire.
  • Vocal Music: Students should be prepared to sing 16 bars of a memorized Broadway song. Choose a song performed by a character close to your age. Please bring sheet music in your key for an accompanist.

Film

Portfolio including two storyboards (each a minimum of ten frames each) depicting a scene from imagination and a 250-word essay describing your interest in filmmaking. At the audition, students will be given a description of a short action and will be asked to draw a storyboard on the spot. Optional: Submit a sample of any film or films you have participated in. Films should be submitted on a USB thumb drive, in .mov or .mp4 format. Describe your role in the making of the film in an accompanying written statement.

TESTING ACCOMMODATIONS

If a student’s IEP shows testing accommodations, the accommodations (as long as they do not change what the test or task is measuring) will be provided during school-based screening activities, auditions, and SHSAT administration.

Accommodations that are requested only admissions-related tests and auditions are not allowed. Students must demonstrate a documented history of needing and using testing accommodations. Learn more on our Testing Accommodations page.

Go to Events and Visit Schools

Over the summer, start creating a calendar to keep track of your admissions dates and deadlines. Note the dates and times of high school fairs, open houses, auditions, and appointments for programs that require interviews or onsite assessments.

High School Fairs

Attend the high school borough fairs on September 21-22 and/or October 5-6. At these events, you can meet with representatives from different schools on the same day, in the same place. Interested in schools in more than one borough? Come to as many fairs as you like! The latest information on dates, times, and locations is available on our website.

School Visits

Visiting a school is the best way to see if it might be a good place for you. It’s also a helpful way to test the commute and see how long the trip is from home. Contact schools directly to find out if they have special events, open house schedules, or student-guided tours. You can find specific schools’ open house or information session dates on our website.

Tip: When visiting school, always ask questions. On sign-in sheets at events, write your contact information clearly.

Ask Questions at High School Events

When you speak with a school representative at a fair or open house, try asking some of the following questions; try to ask at least one from each category. Create your own questions, too, to learn more about a school.

School Culture

  • What time does the day start and end?
  • How do you support students looking for extra help with their classes?
  • Are their opportunities to be involved in the community?

Ninth Grade

  • What time do students usually finish their clubs and activities?
  • How does your school communicate with new students the summer before ninth grade?

Courses

  • What are your most popular classes?
  • What language courses do you offer?
  • What makes your school's classes special?

College and Career Readiness

  • How do you support students towards college?
  • What colleges do students from your school usually go to? Why?
  • What CTE certification programs does your school offer?

Admissions

  • For any screened programs: What are your selection criteria?
  • Are there any extra steps I should take to be considered?
  • What are your programs' admissions priorities?

Apply to High School

Apply to high school by Monday, December 2, 2019. Your personalized high school application will be available in the early fall; you can access it online with MySchools or through your school counselor. Here’s how to apply:

  1. Discuss your options with your parent(s)/guardian(s). Save or list programs of interest.
  2. Make an appointment with your school counselor to talk about and review your application choices before you apply!
  3. Apply to high school one of three ways by the December 2 deadline:
  • Online with MySchools. During the application period, this option will be available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, in Arabic, Bengali/Bangla, Chinese, English, French, Haitian Creole, Korean, Russian, Spanish, and Urdu. Don’t forget to click the Submit Application button!
  • Through your school counselor. Speak to your counselor this fall about submitting your high school application through the school.
  • In person at a Family Welcome Center. Find locations and hours on our website. You can apply in person in over 200 languages. If you speak a language other than English, ask for an interpreter.

For the most up-to-date information on how to apply, visit our website or ask your school counselor.

Get Your High School Offer

Your high school offer letter will become available in MySchools in March; it will also be mailed to your home address.

Your Offer Letter

  • This letter will include your high school offer. This offer may be to a program from the high school application process, and/or to one of the testing specialized high schools, and/or to one or more studios at LaGuardia.
  • Your letter will also include a SHSAT score if you took the SHSAT, and/or information about your LaGuardia High School audition if you auditioned.
  • Additionally, this letter will include a list of programs where you've been waitlisted. You’ll be automatically added to the waitlist of any program that you listed higher on your application than the program where you received an offer. For example, if you got an offer from your 5th choice, you would be on the waitlists of choices 1-4.

Waitlist Offers

High school programs that have more applicants than seats available will have waitlists. Please note that the specialized high schools will not have waitlists.

You'll be able to get on waitlists in two ways:

  1. Through the high school application: You will be automatically added to the waitlist for any program that you listed higher on your application than the program to which you received an offer.
  2. Post-application: You can add yourself to waitlists for schools that you did not apply to but are now interested in.

Students will have a unique placement on each waitlist based on a school’s admissions method and priority structure:

  • For schools that have open admissions, students will be ordered randomly within their priority group (e.g. zoned priority; district priority).
  • For schools that rank students based on a screen or audition, students will be ordered based on their rank within their priority group.

Your position may shift on waitlists as other students are called off or added to waitlists.

  • You will be able to learn of your position on each waitlist you are on through MySchools, Family Welcome Centers and your current school.
  • There is no limit to how many waitlists you can be on.
  • Waitlists will expire in September 2020.
Cover of the print 2020 NYC High School Admissions Guide, featuring three high school students gazing at the city from the terrace or roof of a building.
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