High School Application Process

Admissions Methods
Audition
Programs that require that a student demonstrate proficiency in the specific performing arts/visual arts area for that program. For example, if a student auditions for a drama program, he/she may have to prepare a monologue as part of the audition. The audition requirements, dates and times are listed with the program on each school's directory page.

Educational Option (Ed. Opt.)
Programs designed to attract a wide range of academic performers. Students applying to an Educational Option program are categorized into one of three groups based upon the results of their 7th grade standardized reading test score:
  • Top 16% - High
  • Middle 68% - Middle
  • Bottom 16% - Low
From the applicant pool, half the students are chosen by the school administration and half are selected randomly. However, students who score in the top 2% on the 7th grade English Language Arts reading exam will automatically be matched to the Ed. Opt. program if they listed it as their first choice. If a child is in the top 2%, it is indicated on his/her application next to the reading score.

Limited Unscreened
Programs that give priority to students who demonstrate interest in the school by attending a school's Information Session or Open House events or visiting the school's exhibit at any one of the High School Fairs.

Screened
Programs in which students are ranked by a school based on the student's final 7th grade report card grades and reading and math standardized scores. Attendance and punctuality are also considered. There may also be other items that schools require to screen applicants such as an interview, essay or additional diagnostic test score.

Test
Programs that require you to take the Specialized High Schools Admissions Test (SHSAT) for entrance. For the Specialized High Schools requiring the SHSAT, only the test score determines eligibility.

Unscreened
Programs in which students who apply are selected randomly.

Zoned
Programs that give priority to students who apply and live in the geographic zoned area of the high school. There are zoned high schools in Brooklyn, Staten Island, Queens and the Bronx. Manhattan does not have zoned high schools.

For more information about high schools, visit the Online High School Directory
How the High School Admissions Process Works
Every eligible student is assured entrance into one of the New York City public high schools.

To file an application and participate in the high school admissions process, a student must be:
  • an eighth or first-time ninth grader
  • and a resident of New York City
In order to get the most out of the high school admissions process, students should work with their parents and counselors to research their options and apply to the programs of greatest interest to them. Students can rank up to 12 programs on their application (some high schools have more than one program to which eighth graders may apply). If a student wishes to attend his or her zoned high school, he or she must list the zoned programs of that high school as one of the choices on his or her application. All students must submit their high school applications by the deadline. 
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