Welcome to the High School Admissions Guide! This digital guide provides a deeper dive on some key admissions topics. Please be aware that some information and policies may be outdated; always refer to schools.nyc.gov/High and schools.nyc.gov/SHS for the most accurate, up-to-date information on admissions, and refer to the school directory at MySchools.nyc for the most accurate, up-to-date information on specific programs.
Know the Paths to High School
For most students in New York City, there are two paths to DOE public high schools. You can take both paths or just one:
- Applying to high school by submitting a high school application. All eighth-grade students should apply.
- Applying to the Specialized High Schools by auditioning and/or taking the Specialized High School Admissions Test (SHSAT). This is optional.
Applying to High School: At a Glance
- During the application period, access your personalized high school application and submit it online with MySchools or through a counselor.
- You can apply to 12 programs on your application.
- In the spring, you will get your high school results, 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.
- Eighth grade students in public school who do not submit a high school application will get an offer to the closest high school program with available seats.
Applying to the Specialized High Schools: At a Glance
Apply to one or more of the nine Specialized High Schools by taking a test or auditioning. During the registration period, register to test and/or auction by the deadlines. There are two types of Specialized High Schools:
- Audition: admission is based on your audition and academic review
- Testing: admission is based on your Specialized High Schools Admissions Test (SHSAT) score
One Specialized High School, Fiorello H. LaGuardia High School of Music & Art and Performing Arts, requires students to register for auditions and then audition for up to six programs: Dance, Drama, Fine & Visual Art, Instrumental Music, Technical Theater, and Vocal Music.
- Register for your audition(s) online at MySchools.nyc or through your current school counselor by the deadline. Then audition.
- Offers to these programs are determined by applicants' auditions. LaGuardia High School also reviews applicants' academic record from the prior school year.
Learn more at schools.nyc.gov/SHS.
Eight of the Specialized High Schools require students to register for and take a test- the Specialized High Schools Admissions Test (SHSAT) – to qualify for admission. These schools are:
- The Bronx High School of Science
- The Brooklyn Latin School
- Brooklyn Technical High School
- High School for Math, Science, and Engineering at City College
- High School of American Studies at Lehman College
- Queens High School for the Sciences at York College
- Staten Island Technical High School
- Stuyvesant High School
Register for the SHSAT online at MySchools.nyc or through your current school counselor by the deadline. Then take the test on your scheduled date and time.
Offers to these schools are determined by applicants' SHSAT scores, the order applicants list these schools on their test answer sheets, and seat availability. These schools do not consider students' academic records.
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 the spring or summer.
Students Who Are Recommended for District 75 Inclusive Services
District 75 Special Education Inclusive Services are offered in some District 1-32 high schools. Students with disabilities are recommended to receive special education services based on their IEP mandates. Students who are mandated to receive Special Education Inclusive Services from District 75 participate in general education curriculum at a District 1-32 school. Students learn in age-appropriate general education classes, receive instruction from a general education teacher, and participate in school programs with students with and without disabilities. District 75 Inclusive Services are not offered in every District 1-32 high school. In order to be matches to one of the programs at these high schools, students must be recommended to receive these services on their IEPs.
Explore D75 Special Education Inclusive Services programs online with MySchools. Click on the "More Filters" button and under "Admissions Method," check the box that says "D75 Special Education Inclusive Services".
Admissions for Students in ASD Nest, ASD Horizon, or ACES Programs
- Students in ASD Nest or ASD Horizon Programs. The Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD) Nest Program and the ASD Horizon Program are two different specialized programs in District 1-32 schools that serve certain students with autism who have Individualized Education programs (IEPs). Both programs are designed to address the needs of students with ASD by strengthening academic and social skills, but each program has different service delivery models and eligibility criteria. Students who are currently in an ASD Nest or Horizon specialized program in middle school should participate in the high school admissions process. If you will be continuing in a high school ASD program, you will be able to list ASD Nest or Horizon Programs on your application. Learn more about these programs on the Specialized High School page.
- Students in ACES Programs: Academic, Career, and Essential Skills (ACES) Programs are special education classes that support students who are classified with Intellectual Disability (ID) or Multiple Disabilities (MD) and who participate in New York State Alternate Assessment (NYSAA). ACES Programs provide an opportunity to learn academic, work, and independent living skills in a District 1-32 school. Students who are currently in an ACES specialized program in middle school should participate in the high school admissions process. If you will be continuing in a high school ACES program, you will be able to list high school ACES programs on your application. Learn more about ACES programs on our Specialized Programs page.
Explore ASD/ACES programs online with MySchools. Click on the "More Filters" button and under "Admissions Method," check the box that says "ASD/ACES Program".
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?
- Reach out directly to the school to learn more.
- You can also get support from Referral Centers, which are located in each borough, for more information and counseling.
- Learn more about transfer schools and other options.
- Explore transfer schools and programs online MySchools. Click on the "More Filters" button and under "Admissions Method," check the box that says "Transfer".
Applying to 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 more information, please see the Charter Schools page or call 212-374-5419.
How to Explore High 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. Once the application opens and you are logged in to your account, you can access a personalized search experience, save favorite programs, get helpful admissions tips, and start adding programs to your application.
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.
Tip: Did you know that some programs have seats set aside especially for students who are starting tenth grade in fall 2022? If you are a current first-time ninth grade student, you can apply to these programs – learn more under the tab "Seat Availability".
Career and technical education schools and programs
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.
All CTE programs fall into one of 16 categories:
- Agriculture, Food & Natural Resources
- Architecture & Construction Human Services
- Arts, A/V Technology & Communications Information Technology
- Business Management Law, Public Safety, Corrections & Security
- Education & Training Manufacturing
- Finance Marketing
- Government & Public Administration
- Health Science Transportation, Distribution & Logistics
- Hospitality & Tourism
- Science, Technology, Engineering & Mathematics
Career and Technical (CTE) programs offer you:
- The opportunity to earn college credits, advancing standing, or reduced tuition in a related college/university program upon graduation
- Opportunities to earn stackable industry-recognized certifications that can help you prepare for internships, college, and in-demand careers
- Opportunities to participate in work-based learning experiences like career mentoring, workplace tours, job shadowing, and paid internships
- Empowerment to master 21st century skills such as planning for success, collaboration, problem solving, social awareness, and professional attitude
- A CTE Endorsement on your high school diploma
Tip: Interested in exploring CTE options? Attend the CTE High School Fairs this fall and visit the CTE website.
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 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. In MySchools use the search term "Early College" for a list of these school.
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 newly arrived students 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).
How to Use the MySchools High School Directory
Find high schools online in the MySchools Directory.
- Year-round: Anyone can search for schools and programs.
- After you get your welcome letter: Create your MySchools account and add your child to it to get a personalized search experience. Once your family has an account and is logged in, you can save favorite programs, get helpful tips, and start adding programs to your application.
Even if you're not logged in to MySchools, you can type your home address in the "Your Child's Address" search bar to find schools near you. When you're logged into your account, the MySchools map will show your address with a home icon. It will also display the schools closest to your home on the map and in a list.
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 Painting, or Dance or similar – into the search bar
Use filters to narrow your search to schools with specific features:
- Use the Subway filter to find options along your train(s) of choice.
- Use the Size filter to search for schools by how many students attend.
- Use the Sports filter to find schools that have teams for specific sports, such as badminton, basketball, and swimming. The Public School Athletic League (PSAL) coordinates interscholastic competition for all NYC public high school – learn more on the PSAL website.
- Select More Filters to see options to filter for schools...
- With specific eligibility requirements. You can filter to see Eligibility filters to find programs where only specific students are eligible to apply – for instance, School for New Arrivals, is only open to applicants who are new to the country and learning English.
- By borough. Filter to see only schools in a specific borough, such the Bronx
- Partially accessible and fully accessible . Filter to find schools in Fully Accessible or Partially Accessible buildings. Learn more about accessibility ratings on the building accessibility page.
- With programs that use specific admissions methods. Filter to find schools that have programs using particular admissions methods such as Open. Learn more in the tab "Admissions Methods".
- Whose students wear uniforms. Select Uniform required to find schools where students wear uniforms.
- With Diversity in Admissions . Find programs participating in Diversity in Admissions. These programs give priority to students who are English Language Learners (ELLS), are in the child welfare system, are in temporary housing, or whose families are low-income. Learn more on the diversity in admissions page.
- With 10th Grade Admissions. Select 10th Grade Admissions to find schools that have 10th grade seats available.
Finding Programs for Your Application
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.
The MySchools' directory pages include detailed program information. Browse these sections to find programs that interest you. Program information can also help you figure out your chances of getting an offer to a specific program - learn more under the tab "Learn How Students Get Offers From The High School Application"
- 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.
All New York City public high school programs offer a broad liberal arts education. Additionally, most programs focus on up to two interest areas, such as architecture or science and math, and they may offer additional courses in that subject or field. Many but not all programs' interest areas are also part of their names. You can find a programs' interest area(s) in its school listing in MySchools.
Schools offer programs in the following 22 interest areas. All programs include courses across a wide range of subjects. Programs listed as "humanities & interdisciplinary" or "zoned" do not emphasize a particular interest area:
- Animal science
- Computer science and technology
- Culinary arts
- Environmental science
- Health professions
- Hospitality, travel, and tourism
- Humanities and interdisciplinary
- Law and government
- Performing arts
- Performing arts/visual art and design
- Project-based learning
- Science and math
- Visual art and design
In MySchools, use any of the interest areas, such as "health professions", as a search term to find programs related to this interest area. You can also try more specific words like "nursing".
Some programs are only open to students who live or go to school in a certain borough, who speak a home language other than English, or who meet other eligibility requirements.
- For instance, a program's eligibility could be "Open only to Bronx students or residents." This means that if a student lives and attends a school in a borough other than the Bronx, they cannot list this program on their application.
In MySchools, click on a program to display its eligibility requirements. Once you're logged in to your MySchools account, you'll only be able to add programs to your application that you are eligible to attend.
Tip: A program may have more specific eligibility requirements than the larger school. If no eligibility is listed, all students can apply.
Learn How Students Get Offers From The High School Application: Admissions Factors
How can you know your chances of getting an offer to a specific high school program? It helps to start by learning how offers are made. Students get offers to programs based on a few key 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:
- 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. Only apply to programs you are truly interested in attending. Add 12 choices to your application in your true order of preference. Then submit your application.
- Seat Availability. The number of applicants compared to the number of available seats it has helps show how in demand (or popular) a program is.
- Your Priority Group for a Program. Some programs give admissions priority to specific groups of applicants before others, such as to students who live in a specific district or borough. Applicants in a program's priority group 1 will be considered first. Then, if seats are still available, applicants 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.
- Program's 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.
- For Programs That Use Random Selection. Students gets offers based on their randomly assigned numbers.
- For Programs Where Offers are Made by Applicant Rank/Groups. Students are evaluated, scored, and ranked for admission based on the program's selection criteria, such as grades or an audition.
- For audition programs, the school assigns a ranked number to applicants based on that evaluation and admits students in ranked-number order.
- For screened programs, students are placed in four groups according to a points average and admitted in group order, beginning with Group 1. Learn more at schools.nyc.gov/ScreenedHS. Some screened programs have additional requirements, which are also used to make offers.
Tip: To learn more about how offers are made, watch the videos on the High School Page. Learn about waitlists and waitlist offers on the Waitlist page.
Factor 1. Your Application Choices
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. With more than 700 high school program options to choose from, we invite you to explore programs in MySchools to find 12 choices that you are truly interested in and list them on your application. Finding 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.
- 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 admissions methods. If you're going to apply to any screened or audition programs, also find some programs that use the educational option and open admissions methods to include on your application.
- Not just high-demand programs. High-demand programs are those that have many more applicants than available seats. More applicants per seat means a lower chance of getting an offer. If you apply to any high-demand programs (10 or more applicants per seat), also find some programs that have fewer applicants per seat.
- You are in the first priority group for some programs. Different programs have different priority groups. Not being in the first priority group for a program means a lower chance of getting an offer to that program.
Tip: Always place the programs on your application in your true order of preference, with your favorite program at the top as #1. There is no better strategy! High schools will not see your application choice order, so they will not know if they are your first or twelfth choice.
Factor 2. Seat Availability
Another important factor in admissions is a program's seat availability. The number of seats in a program means the number of students it can admit.
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 Students
- 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
Students with Disabilities
- 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 percent 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).
- If you currently have an IEP, the IEP team at your high school will review it to ensure that all services and supports you require are provided.
- Please note that the student-to-teacher ratio in a high school special class is 15:1, a change from the middle school special class ratios. For more information, visit the Special Education website.
- Seats for students with disabilities in the MySchools Directory reflect the percentage of students with disabilities in each borough.
Seats and Applicants Per Seat: Demand Last Year
A program's demand is how popular it is. You can learn how many seats each program offered last year as well as how many students applied for these seats in MySchools. (Note that all numbers are from last year. ) Here's how:
- For any program, click on the My Chances tab.
- Then refer to the Demand Last Year section to see:
- How in-demand the program was last year
- How many seats the program had
- How many students applied to the program
- How many applicants there were per seat
Your Chances: Demand
A program's applicants per seat shows 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. All applicants have a lower chance of getting into a program with 10 or more applicants per seat.
- If a program has four to nine applicants per seat, it is in average demand. Consider more factors to determine your chances of getting an offer.
- If a program has three or fewer applicants per seat, it is in lower demand. Consider more factors to determine your chances of getting an offer.
Tip: Consider listing some programs with three or fewer applicants per seat on your application.
Schools Offering Grade 10 Seats in Admissions
Some high schools have seats set aside specifically for students who are starting tenth grade in the fall.
- 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, select "More Filters" to filter for schools that have tenth grade seats available.
Factor 3. Admissions Priorities
A program’s admissions priorities determine the order in which applicants are considered for offers to that program.
- All applicants in priority group 1 will be considered first.
- Then, if seats are still available, students in priority group 2 will be considered next, and so on.
Admissions priorities are only used if a program has more applicants than available seats.
You can find a program’s most up-to-date admissions priorities on its page in MySchools. Here's how:
- Click on the My Chances tab and look for the Priority Groups section, which lists a schools' admissions priorities in order. Your priority group for this program will be bolded and included the words Your Group.
- If a program does not use admissions priorities to make offers, this information appears as: 1. Open to all NYC residents.
Please note that all geographic priorities (meaning based on where students live) are being phased out. Learn more at schools.nyc.gov/High.
Diversity in Admissions
High schools across New York City are participating in an initiative to increase diversity within their schools. Some schools give an admissions priority to students who are English Language Learners (ELLs), are low-income, or to students from different neighborhoods. The current list of schools participating in diversity pilots is available on our Diversity in Admissions website. Throughout the admissions process, check MySchools for programs' most up-to-date admissions priorities.
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.
- 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.
- This guarantee would be your continuing school (school that has both middle and high school grades) if you attend one, or your zoned school if you have one and the admissions method is zoned guarantee.
Your Chances: Your Priority Group
- Being in the first priority group for a program means you have a higher chance of getting an offer, but your chances also depend on other factors (such as demand and admissions methods).
- Not being in the first priority group for a program means you have a lower chance of getting an offer to that program.
Tip: Consider applying to at least a few programs where you are in the first priority group – this increases your changes of getting an offer to a program from your application.
Factor 4. 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.
Testing - for Testing Specialized High Schools ONLY
- Schools use your choices, preference order, and score to determine admission.
- Offers are made to students in SHSAT score order.
- What you should do:
- When you register to take the SHSAT, list the specialized high schools you'd like to attend in your true order of preference.
- Schools evaluate applicants based on selection criteria, and rank applicants based on that evaluation.
- Offers are made to ranked students by priority group and in ranking number order.
- This year, the following are used in admissions for screened programs: student's best grade in four subjects––English, math, social studies, and science––from seventh grade final grades and/or eighth grade marking period grades available by the application deadline. These could be grades from two different school years to capture the highest grade for each subject. No state test scores or attendance records will be used in admissions this year.
- Some programs that previously used additional criteria may continue to use them; learn more on each program's MySchools page.
- What you should do:
- Read schools.nyc.gov/ScreenedAdmissions, and complete any additional requirements the program may have. You can find these requirements on (or linked to from) the school’s MySchools page.
- This year, the sole selection criteria for admission to all audition programs (except those at LaGuardia High School) is the audition itself. LaGuardia High School has its own admissions process and will continue to use students' academic records as well as their auditions to make offers to its programs.
- What you should do:
- For all audition programs, except LaGuardia, list any program(s) on your high school application.
- For LaGuardia High School programs, register to audition by the deadline.
- For all audition programs, learn how to audition this year on our Auditions page.
Educational Option (Ed. Opt.)
- Educational Option (Ed. Opt.) programs are designed to serve students at a range of academic levels. Based on their four core course grades, an applicant’s records are categorized as "high," "middle," and "low."
- One-third of offers are made to applicants from each category.
- If a program also uses admissions priorities, all qualifying applicants in the first priority group will get offers first.
- What you should do: Just list the program on your application.
- Offers to screened language: programs are based on English Language Learner services entitlement, in order by their priority groups and randomly assigned numbers.
- What you should do:
- Check that you meet the program's eligibility requirements, such as home language, language proficiency, years living in the United States, or similar.
Screened: Language and Academics
- For screened: language and academics programs only, schools use academic records in addition to English Language Learner services entitlement and priority groups.
- What you should do: Check that you meet the program's eligibility requirements, such as home language, language proficiency, years living in the United States, or similar.
- Schools use a student's date of birth to verify eligibility and make offers.
- What you should do: 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.
- What you should do: Check your home address to see if you live in the zone. List the program on your application. You do not have to list it first to keep your priority.
- Offers are made to students in order by their priority groups and randomly assigned numbers.
- What you should do: Just list the program on your application.
There are two broader types of admissions methods—those that don’t screen applicants and those that do:
Programs That Do NOT Screen Applicants: Open, Educational Option
As part of the high school admissions process, every applicant is assigned a random number, as in a random 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.
Tip: For more information on how offers are made to programs using admissions priorities and randomly assigned numbers, watch the video "How Students Get Offers to New York City Public Schools" on the High School page.
Programs That DO Screen Applicants: Audition and Screened
- Audition programs evaluate applicants for admission based on common component selection criteria, and they assign a ranking number to applicants based on that evaluation, starting with the top-ranked applicant as #1. 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.
- This year, applicants to screened programs are assigned point averages and admitted in groups; this is done centrally based on academic records (learn more above and on the Screened Admissions page). Some screened programs have additional requirements like an essay or interview, and these programs assess these components themselves.
- Programs that have a screened or audition admissions method evaluate applicants based on specific selection criteria. Check the Section Criteria section of any program's MySchools directory page they require additional assessments such as an interview, essay, portfolio, or audition.
- Learn about audition requirements for each discipline and find a list of programs in MySchools and on our Auditions page.
Apply to High School
Apply to high school by the deadline. When your personalized high school application is available, you can access it online with MySchools or through your school counselor. Here’s how to apply:
- Discuss your options with your parent(s)/guardian(s). Save or list programs of interest.
- Make an appointment with your school counselor to talk about and review your application choices before you apply!
- Apply to high school one of three ways by the 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.
- With support from Family Welcome Center staff. Learn how and find hours on our website. You can apply through a Family Welcome Center 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 the High School page or ask your school counselor.
Apply to the Specialized High Schools
Register by the deadline to audition and/or take the SHSAT.
What are the Specialized High Schools?
There are nine Specialized High Schools in New York City (The Specialized High Schools were established under New York State Law 2590-Section H). These schools have a separate admissions process from the high school application. You can apply to one Specialized High School by audition and up to eight of these schools by taking a test.
|The Nine Specialized High Schools ||How to Apply |
Fiorello H. LaGuardia High School of Music & Art and Performing Arts
|Audition to apply|
The Bronx High School of Science
|Take the SHSAT to Apply|
The Brooklyn Latin School
|Take the SHSAT to Apply|
Brooklyn Technical High School
|Take the SHSAT to Apply|
High School for Math, Science, and Engineering at City College of New York
|Take the SHSAT to Apply|
High School of American Studies at Lehman College
|Take the SHSAT to Apply|
Queens High School for the Sciences at York College
|Take the SHSAT to Apply|
Staten Island Technical High School
|Take the SHSAT to Apply|
Stuyvesant High School
|Take the SHSAT to Apply|
Register to audition
When the registration period opens, register to audition for any/all of the programs at Fiorello H. LaGuardia High School of Music & Art and Performing Arts. The six programs are Dance, Fine Arts, Instrumental Music, Technical Theater, and Vocal Music. Your audition is your application. Learn more about how to register and prepare for this process at schools.nyc.gov/SHS and schools.nyc.gov/HSAuditions.
Tip: If Fiorello H. LaGuardia High School of Music and Performing Arts is the only Specialized High School you're interested in, you don't have to take the Specialized High School Admissions Test (SHSAT). Your audition is how you apply.
Register to test
When the registration period opens, register to take the Specialized High School Admissions Test (SHSAT). Taking the test is how you apply to any/all of the eight testing Specialized High Schools:
You can register to audition or take the SHSAT in your MySchools account or through your school counselor. When you register, you will indicate which testing Specialized High Schools you wish to attend, and in what order of preference.
Tip: Read more about the process of applying to the testing Specialized High School at schools.nyc.gov/SHS. You can learn more about each of these schools in the MySchools directory and on their websites.
Who Can Audition and Test?
All students eligible to apply to high school are also eligible to apply, register, sit for, and receive results for SHS admissions. Eligible students who register by the respective deadlines can audition and/or take the SHSAT.
Auditioning and testing for students with accessibility needs
The New York City Department of Education is committed to ensuring that our programs, services, and activities are accessible to staff, members of the school community, students, and family members with accessibility needs. We assess all of our buildings on a continuing basis to determine which schools are accessible to individuals with accessibility needs. All Specialized High School test and audition sites are accessible for students with accessibility needs. For the most up-to-date information on the accessibility of each school, visit the building accessibility page.
Accommodations for LaGuardia High School Auditions and the SHSAT
The purpose of testing accommodations is to allow students with disabilities and limited English proficiency to participate in assessments on equal basis with their peers. Testing accommodations provide the opportunity for eligible students to demonstrate mastery of skills and knowledge without being limited or unfairly restricted due to the effects of a disability or language proficiency.
For the latest information on testing accommodations for these schools, please check the Specialized High Schools page: click on the "Accommodations for the SHSAT and LaGuardia High School Auditions" section.
Diversity Initiatives for the Testing Specialized High Schools
The New York City Department of Education is working on a series of initiatives to support more equitable access to the eight testing specialized high schools. The goal is to increase all of the following:
- Testing rates among students in underrepresented communities
- Acceptance and offer rates among these students
- Retention of these students
Learn more about our diversity initiatives on the diversity in admissions page.
The Discovery Program (Discovery) is a summer enrichment program for rising ninth-grade students who take the Specialized High Schools Admissions Test (SHSAT) and score just below the qualifying SHSAT score.
To be eligible for Discovery, students must:
- Be current eighth grade students,
- Score within a certain range below the qualifying SHSAT score for that year—eligible scores vary from year to year and are based on seat availability, and
- Be certified as disadvantaged, and
- Be recommended by their current school as having high potential for the school’s program.
You can learn more about eligibility requirements on our SHS website.
All eight testing specialized high schools have a Discovery Program. Applicants will be considered for Discovery programs at all specialized high schools they apply for.
If a student might be eligible to participate in Discovery, they will be notified in the spring. The next step is for the family to meet with the student’s current school counselor to discuss the Discovery program application. Not all students who are notified will be determined eligible to attend Discovery.
- Students who successfully complete the Discovery program requirements will then have the option to attend a specialized high school.
- Students who do not meet the Discovery program requirements will attend the high school program where they received an offer.
SHSAT School Day Initiative
Eighth grade students public DOE middle schools will have the opportunity to take the SHSAT at their current school during the school day. By offering the SHSAT during the school day, we hope to remove barriers to weekend test participation and to increase the number of underrepresented students who take the SHSAT.
DREAM-Specialized High Schools Institute
As of 2019, DREAM's two programs, formerly the DREAM-Specialized High School Institute and the DREAM-Summer/Fall Intensive, have merged into one program, DREAM-SHSI.
The DREAM-Specialized High Schools Institute (DREAM-SHSI) is a Saturday and summer academic program that prepares eligible seventh-grade New York City public school students to take the Specialized High Schools Admissions Test (SHSAT) in eighth grade. Beginning in February of seventh grade, DREAM runs through the fall of eighth grade, up to the date of the SHSAT. The program offers participants exposure to rigorous coursework and test-taking strategies.
DREAM stands for determination, resiliency, enthusiasm, ambition, and motivation—learn more on the Dream program page.
To be eligible for DREAM, students must:
- Meet academic criteria; and
- Meet federal income guidelines; OR
- Attend school in a district under-represented in the Specialized High Schools.
If a student is eligible to participate in DREAM, they will be notified to apply in the fall of their seventh-grade year. Accepted students must commit to participate in the entire program.
Get Your High School Offer and Specialized High School Results
Offers are released in the spring. Check our high school and Specialized High Schools pages for the most up-to-date information.
In April, if you took the SHSAT, you will receive a Testing Specialized High Schools results letter, which will include
- Your SHSAT score
- Up to one offer to a testing Specialized High School; if you get an offer and later receive a high school offer to a school you'd prefer to this Specialized High School, you will be given a specific period of time to choose between these offers.
In late May, you will receive a high school offer letter, which will include:
- Your high school offer
- If you auditioned for programs at LaGuardia High School: 0-6 offers to LaGuardia programs
- Next steps, such as how to choose between multiple offers (if you also received a Specialized High School offer or offers)
- Information about any 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. Example: If you get an offer to your third-choice program, you’ll also be waitlisted at your first-choice and second-choice program.
Note: The Specialized High Schools, including LaGuardia High School, do not have waitlists.
High School Waitlists and Next Steps
After high school offers are available, you will be able to use your MySchools account to:
- Add yourself to additional waitlists
- Check your place on any school's waitlist, in real time
- Accept or decline waitlists offers
Waitlist offers are made based on seat availability, admissions priorities, and admissions methods according to your seat group. Schools will be in touch directly if seats open up and they can make you an offer. Check out our waitlists website for the most up-to-date information.
Tip: Your best chance of getting an offer to any program is to include it as a choice on your original application.
Moving or Recently Moved? Changing Schools?
|Situation||What to Do|
|You’ve just moved to New York City and need a high school now.||Visit schools.nyc.gov/NewStudents to learn how to enroll and what documents you need. If you are a first-time ninth grade student, learn about applying to schools with tenth grade seats. |
|You move to New York City after the high school application deadline and will be entering ninth grade in fall 2022. You need a high school for the fall. ||You can still participate in high school admissions! Once you have proof of residency, work with your parent/guardian and your school counselor to create a MySchools.nyc account and add yourself to programs’ waitlists. Need help? Contact a Family Welcome Center. |
|You move out of New York City during the admissions process. ||You will not receive an offer to a New York City public high school or receive specialized high schools results, if applicable.|
|You move from a public school to a private school during the admissions process. ||If you move from a public school to a private school during the admissions process, please visit a Family Welcome Center to receive a private school student identification number. Make sure that the Family Welcome Center staff transfers your public school information, such as your high school application choices, to your new private school identification number. |
|You move from a private school to a public school during the admissions process. ||Please make sure that school staff at your new public school transfer your information, such as your high school application choices, to your new public school student identification number. |
Family Welcome Centers are located in all five boroughs. Visit the Family Welcome Center website for the most up-to-date information on how to contact or visit us.
When you speak with a school representative (such as at a school's open house), try to ask one question from each category. Create your own questions to learn more about a school.
- 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?
- What time do students usually finish their clubs and activities?
- How does your school communicate with new students the summer before ninth grade?
- 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?
- Does your program have admissions priorities? If so, what are they?
- For screened programs: What are your selection criteria? Are there any extra steps I should take to be considered?
- What else does your school offer (sports, clubs, arts, music, community, service, internships, etc.)?