NYC High School and Specialized High Schools Admissions Guide

Welcome to the digitally accessible version of the high school admissions guide! If you want to view this guide in its original format, complete with maps, PDF versions are available on our high school admissions page.

Here's how to get started with high school admissions:

  1. Sign up for the high school and Specialized High Schools email lists. We'll notify you when the application opens. You will also get updates, key date reminders, and tips throughout the admissions process.
  2. Keep reading this page to learn how to participate in high school and Specialized High Schools admissions, what makes a balanced high school application, and how students get offers.
  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 discuss your application choices with your school counselor.
  4. Learn more about schools on their websites. Find up-to-date information on any virtual events on our website, or by contacting schools directly.
  5. Apply to high school by the deadline.

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.

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 school year to enter high school in fall 2021. 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:

English Language Learners

An English Language Learner is a student who speaks or understands a language other than English and requires support in order to become proficient in the English language. NYC schools offer three program options for English Language Learners: English as a New Language (ENL), Transitional Bilingual Education (TBE), and Dual Language (DL). All schools, at a minimum, offer ENL. Learn more about each program option, the ELL identification process, and your rights as a parents of an ELL on our website

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. For students whose IEP recommends District 75 programs, explore program options with MySchools

Students with Accessibility Needs

The NYC Department of Education 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 records) 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.

Applying to High School: At a Glance

  • When the application opens, 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 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.
  • 8th 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.

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.

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 our website

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 website

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 the Specialized High Schools: At a Glance

Apply to one or more of the nine Specialized High Schools by taking a test or auditioning. When the registration period opens, register to test and/or auction by the deadline. 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

Audition School

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 on your scheduled date and time. 
  • Offers to these programs are determined by applicants' auditions. LaGuardia High School also reviews applicants' academic records and attendance information from the prior school year.

Tip: Learn more about how to register and prepare for your LaGuardia audition(s) under the tab "Learn about the Specialized High Schools" and "Audition for Fiorello H. Laguardia High School". 

Testing Schools

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.

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 PDF or print edition of the 2021 High School Admissions Guide. For more general information, please see the charter school page or call 212-374-5419.

Find Out About Virtual Events 

Start creating a calendar to keep track of your admissions dates and deadlines. Note the dates and times of any virtual events , such as open houses, auditions, or appointments for programs that require interviews or submissions. 

Check the High School Admissions page and contact schools directly to find out about any virtual events or other ways to learn about and see their school.

Applying to High School

Submit your application by the deadline.

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. 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 2021? 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.

CTE Program Categories

Agriculture, Food & Natural Resources

Hospitality & Tourism 

Architecture & ConstructionHuman Services
Arts, A/V Technology & CommunicationsInformation Technology
Business ManagementLaw, Public Safety, Corrections & Security
Education & TrainingManufacturing
FinanceMarketing

Government & Public Administration

Science, Technology, Engineering & Mathematics
Health ScienceTransportation, Distribution & Logistics

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

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. 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).

Finding Schools

Find high schools online in the MySchools Directory

  • Year-round: Anyone can search for schools and programs.
  • During the application period: 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 tips, and start adding programs to your application.

YOUR ADDRESS

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.

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 Painting, or Dance or similar – into the search bar

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 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 their 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 their website.
    • 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 their website
    • With 10th Grade Admissions. Select 10th Grade Admissions to find schools that have 10th grade seats available.

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.

The MySchools' directory pages include 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.

Interest Areas

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:
Animal science Environmental science

Performing arts/visual art & design 

ArchitectureFilm/videoProject-based learning
BusinessHealth professionsScience and math
CommunicationsHospitality, travel, and tourism Teaching
Computer science & technologyHumanities & interdisciplinary *Visual art & design 
CosmetologyJROTCZoned*
Culinary artsLaw & government
EngineeringPerforming arts

*All programs include courses across a wide range of subjects. Programs listed as "humanities & interdisciplinary" or "zoned" do not emphasize a particular interest area. 

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".

Program Eligibility

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 

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:

  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. 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.
  2. 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. 
  3. 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.
  4. 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 That Rank Applicants. School staff evaluate students for admission based on the program's selection criteria, such as academic records, interviews, and auditions. Then school staff assign a ranking number to applicants based on that evaluation.

Tip: To learn more about how offers are made, watch the videos on our website. Learn about waitlists and waitlist offers on the Waitlist page.

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 screen 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. High schools will not see your application choice order, so they will not know if they are your first or twelfth choice!

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.

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).

  • 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 10th Grade Seats in Admissions

Some high schools have seats set aside specifically for students who are starting tenth grade in fall 2021.

  • 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 10th grade seats available.

Admissions Priorities

A program’s admissions priorities determine the order in which applicants are considered for offers to that program.

  1. All applicants 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. 

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 .

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.

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.

Admissions 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
  • Your SHSAT scores
  • Your preference order of the testing Specialized High Schools
  • 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 (final report card grades and test scores from the previous school year), if applicable
    • 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.
  • 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 use a student's date of birth to verify eligibility and make offers. 
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.

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

PROGRAMS THAT DON'T 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 our website.

PROGRAMS THAT SCREEN AND RANK APPLICANTS: SCREENED, AUDITION

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. 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.

Tip: For a more detailed look at how offers are made to screened and audition programs, watch the video "How Students Get Offers to Screened Schools and the Specialized High Schools" on our website.

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.

  • Look up a program's selection criteria ranges on the MySchools directory page to learn if that program will evaluate you based on last year's course grades and/or standardized test scores (ELA and math), and if they r equire additional assessments such as an interview, essay, portfolio, or on-site assessment (including an audition).
  • 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.

YOUR CHANCES: ACADEMIC RECORD

The ranges shown in a screened or audition program’s selection criteria refer to the actual ranges of grades, 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 academic record from last year is on the high end of a program’s selection criteria ranges, then you may have a higher change of getting an offer. Your chances still depend on the program's demand and priority groups. 
  • If your academic record from last year is in the middle of a program’s selection criteria ranges, then you may have an average chance of getting an offer. Your chances still depend on the program's demand and priority groups. 
  • If your academic record from last year is on the low end or below a program's selection criteria ranges, then you may have a lower chance of getting an offer. Your chances still depend on the program's demand and priority groups. 

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 their MySchools pages. It's a good idea to refer to a school's website to confirm the most up-to-date audition information.
  • Screened programs' 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 FOR ART PROGRAMS 

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.

Participating Programs. Programs using common audition components are listed here:

Bronx

School Name | DBNParticipating Program(s)
The Celia Cruz Bronx High School of Music | 10X442Instrumental Music: Concert Band / Jazz Band / Piano (X33A), Vocal Music: Chorus (X33B), Instrumental Music: Orchestra / Strings (X33M)
Fordham High School for the Arts | 10X437Dance, Drama, Instrumental Music, Visual Art, Vocal Music (X51A) – Note that the common components do not apply to this program's Technical Theater auditions.
Theater Arts Production Company School | 10X225Instrumental Music (X20B), Vocal Music (X20C), Dance (X20R), Drama (X20S), Visual Arts & Technology (X20T)

Brooklyn

School Name | DBNParticipating Program(s)
Abraham Lincoln High School | 21K410Digital Photography (K24L)
Brooklyn High School of the Arts | 15K656Visual Arts (K47J), Instrumental Music (K47K), Dance (K47L), Vocal Instrumental Music (K42E) 
Dr. Susan S. McKinney Secondary School of the Arts | 13K265Visual Arts (K42A), Vocal Music (K42B), Dance (K42C), Drama (K42D), Instrumental Music (K42E)
Fort Hamilton High School | 20K490Joffrey Ballet Dance Academy (K17J), Instrumental Music (K17R), Vocal Music (K17S), Dramatic Arts Academy (K17T)
Edward R. Murrow High School | 21K25Vocal Music (K57J), Fine and Visual Arts (K57K), Instrumental Music (K57L), Studio Theater (K57P)

Manhattan

School Name | DBNParticipating Program(s)
Art and Design High School | 02M630Commercial Art and Design (M60P), Architectural Design (M60N), Film/Video Production (M60Q), Digital Arts (M60R)
Gramercy Arts High School | 02M374Visual Arts (M66A), Theater Arts (M66B)
The High School of Fashion Industries | 02M600Art, Illustration and Graphics (M68J), Fashion Design and Accessories (M68L)
Fiorello H. LaGuardia High School of Music & Art and Performing Arts | 03M485Fine Arts, Dance, Instrumental Music, Vocal Music, Drama
Professional Performing Arts School | 02M408Musical Theater (M81H), Drama (M81J), Classical Vocal Music (M81K), Dance (M81N)
Repertory Company High School for Theatre Arts | 02M531Theater Arts (M20X)
Special Music School | 03M859Voice, Instrument, and Composition (A85A)
Talent Unlimited High School | 02M519Musical Theater (M42J), Dance (M42L), Instrumental Music (M42P), Vocal Music (M42K), Drama (M42N)
Wadleigh Secondary School for The Performing & Visual Arts | 03M415Theater Arts (M26A), Visual Arts (M26J), Vocal Music (M26R), Dance (M26D), Instrumental Music (M26M) 

Queens

School Name | DBNParticipating Program(s)
Forest Hills High School | 28Q440Drama Academy (Q19N), Academy of Instrumental and Vocal Music (Q19P)
Frank Sinatra School of the Arts High School Fine Arts (Q40PJ), Instrumental Music (Q40K), Dance (Q40M), Drama (Q40N)
Hillcrest High School Theater Arts
Newton High School Major Art 

Staten Island

School Name | DBNParticipating Program(s)
Susan E. Wagner High School | 31R460Music (R17G), Visual Arts (R17H), Theater (R17J), Dance (R17K)

COMMON AUDITION COMPONENTS

These are the shared components for each type of arts program. Additional information may be found on a school's MySchool's page. 

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.

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:

  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 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. 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.

Applying 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

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 preparing for this process under the tab "Audition for Fiorello H. LaGuardia High School".

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.

Tip: Read more about the process of applying to the testing Specialized High School under the tab "Take the Specialized High Schools Admissions Test". You can learn more about each of these schools in the MySchools directory. We also encourage you to attend tours or open houses at schools of interest.

Who Can Audition and Test?

All students who live in New York City and are either current eight grade or first-time ninth grade students can apply, register, sit for, and receive results for SHS admissions. Eligible students who register by the d eadline 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 their website.

Accommodations for LaGuardia High School Auditions and the SHSAT

About Testing Accommodations 

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. 

Accommodations for Laguardia High School auditions and/or the SHSAT are provided based on a student's existing testing accommodations. If applicable, these are documented on your IEP or 504 Plan and/or tased on your ELL status.

The following students are eligible to receive testing and/or audition accommodations on LaGuardia High School auditions and the SHSAT:

  • Students with disabilities (SWDs) who have IEPs or 504 Plans that include testing accommodations
  • Current English Language Learners (ELLs)
  • Former ELLs who achieved proficiency on the New York State English as a Second Language Achievement Test (NYSESLAT) in 2019 and/or 2020.

Please note:

  • Accommodations requested ONLY for LaGuardia High School Auditions and/or the SHSAT are not allowed. Students must demonstrate a documented history or needing and using testing accommodations.
  • Students with 504 Plans must have their accommodations approved every year. Schools and families must review (and approve, if appropriate) the student's 2020-2021 504 Plan no later than the last day of school in June 2020. Learn more about 504 Plans on their website.
  • Some testing accommodations are not needed for LaGuardia auditions and the SHSAT. There are some accommodations that students may use on other tests that may not be needed for the SHSAT. For example, students who use a computer or other device for tests with essays will not need to use this accommodation on the SHSAT because there are no essays on the test.
  • Some accommodations are not permitted for LaGuardia auditions and/or the SHSAT. Students with existing accommodations will receive them unless a particular accommodation interferes with the content or skill being measured by the audition or test. In such cases, no students will receive this accommodation. For example:
    • Students are not permitted to use calculators and/or math tables on the Math section of the SHSAT because this section of the test measures students' mathematical computation skills.
    • Oral interpretation and written translation of the SHSAT directions, questions, and answers are not permitted because this changes the standardization of the test. (ELLs who need translations are permitted to use the bilingual math glossaries provided by the testing site on the Math section of the SHSAT only)

Tip: Work with your school counselor to ask about testing accommodations or specific situations that may not be addressed in this guide. Any approved accommodations will appear on your audition or test ticket—learn more under the tab "Get and Check your Audition Ticket" and "SHSAT Locations".

For English Language Learners (ELLs)
ELLs and eligible former ELLs taking the SHSAT are granted extended testing time totaling 360 minutes (2x standard testing time) as well as two 15-minute breaks after the first 180 minutes of testing. The extended time is calculated from the start time of the SHSAT, not the arrival to the testing site.

Bilingual math glossaries will also be provided on the day of the SHSAT at each test administration site in Arabic, Bengali/Bangla, Chinese (Traditional and Simplified), French, Haitian Creole, Korean, Russian, Spanish, and Urdu. Students are not permitted to bring their own bilingual math glossaries.

Tip: You can review sample bilingual glossaries on the SHSAT website.

For Students with IEPS or 504 Plans
Students with disabilities (SWDs) will be provided with the accommodations listed in their IEPs or 504 Plans unless a specific accommodation is not needed or permitted when taking the SHSAT, as detailed in the beginning of this section. 

  • If your IEP or 504 Plan includes the use of assistive technology such as Frequency Modulation (FM) Unit or other aids, such as masks, markers, highlighters, pencil grip, slant board, or a magnifying glass, you must bring these with you on the day of the SHSAT and/or audition if needed. The test or audition sites will not provide these aids.
  • If you have a scribe on your IEP or 504 Plan, it is important to discuss with your school counselor and work with your IEP or 504 team to determine what you need on the SHSAT and to make sure the accommodation is listed on your IEP or 504 as well as your test ticket.
    • Students who require a scribe: You will need a scribe if you are unable to circle your answers in the test booklet. Students who require a scribe on testing day will have the test administered individually.
    • Students who do not need a scribe: If you are able to circle answers in the test booklet, you will be provided with the "Answers Recorded in the Test Booklet" accommodation. In this case, the proctor will assist you with transcribing the answers from the test booklet onto the answer sheet at the conclusion of the test.

SHSAT Administration for Students with Extended Time
All students taking the SHSAT must stay in testing rooms for the entire standard test administration time (180 minutes), with the exception of using the bathroom.

Once the standard test administration time (180 minutes) is over, students with an accommodation of extended time may leave if they have finished working on the exam. Students that decide to leave after the first 180 minutes of the standard test administration time must sign out to indicate they understood they gave up their remaining available time on the SHSAT. Students with this accommodation will have a break at the conclusion of the 180 minutes, and then again after another 90 minutes have passed. If a parent or guardian does not want their child to leave before the full amount of extended time period has ended, the parent/guardian is responsible for communicating this to their child before the test begins. Retests will not be provided to students who choose to leave before the end of their extended time. 

How to Confirm or Request Testing Accommodations
During the SHSAT and audition registration period, your current DOE, charter, or non-public (private or parochial) school is responsible for entering and/or confirming the appropriate testing accommodations in MySchools.

  • If you have a 504 Plan or attend a charter or non-public (private or parochial) school and have a similar school-based accommodation plan, all documentation must be submitted to the DOE for review at least three weeks before the registration deadline.
    • Documentation received after this deadline may not be reviewed in time for the student's scheduled test date. 
    • Contact your current school counselor with questions about accommodations on the SHSAT.
  • Non-public school students (who attend private or parochial schools) requesting accommodations during their LaGuardia auditions must work with their school counselor to enter and/or confirm accommodations. Please note that neither parents/guardians nor school staff should send accommodations directly to LaGuardia High School.
    • Accommodations must be reviewed and approved before audition tickets are available. 
    • Approved accommodations for LaGuardia High School auditions must appear on students' audition tickets.
  • Non-public school students with disabilities (SWDs) (who attend private or parochial schools) who do not have an IEP or 504 Plan indicating their need for testing accommodations must work with their school counselors to complete a Request for Accommodations form and submit the form and supporting documentation to the DOE for review and approval by the deadline provided.
    • Parents/guardians can get this form from your current school.
    • Your school counselor is responsible for submitting the form by the required date. The DOE may need additional information about how your accommodations were determined and will verify the documented history and need for requested accommodations.

How to Opt Out of Accommodations
If you are an ELL and/or have an IEP or 504 Plan but your parents/guardians wish to opt out of accommodations for the SHSAT or LaGuardia auditions, please contact your school counselor. School counselors will work with parents/guardians to complete the Accommodations Opt-Out Form for SHSAT and LaGuardia Auditions .Neither school counselors nor students may opt out of testing/audition accommodations without parent/guardian consent; written consent by a parent/guardian is required. 

  • If it is not possible to provide written consent to opt out of testing accommodations before the registration deadline, parents/guardians must provide their written consent on the test or audition day to opt out of the testing accommodations listed on their child’s ticket.

  • On testing or audition day, students cannot modify or opt out of the testing accommodations listed on their ticket unless parent/guardian consent has been provided in writing on the test or audition ticket. 

How to Request Emergency Accommodations
Students who demonstrate disabilities or temporary impairments within 30 days of the SHSAT may request certain emergency testing accommodations, if approved by the principal of the student's current school. Emergency testing accommodations are intended for use by students whose disabilities or injuries occur after the registration deadline but before their scheduled testing/audition day and without enough time to develop an IEP or 504 Plan.

If you need emergency accommodations for the SHSAT and/or LaGuardia auditions, your family should work with a school counselor to complete the Emergency Testing Request form and ask the counselor to alert the DOE as soon as possible that emergency accommodations may be needed—this must be communicated prior to the testing day or audition day. If a family requests an accommodation without giving the DOE sufficient time to review the request before your standard SHSAT administration date or before the child’s audition date, the student’s test or audition may be rescheduled to ensure that your request for accommodations can be properly reviewed.

Tip: Review the New York City Department of Education’s resources on testing accommodations for additional information on their website

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 here.

DISCOVERY PROGRAM 
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. 

Eligibility
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.

Participation
If a student might be eligible to participate in Discovery, they will be notified in spring 2021. 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 at select 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. The SHSAT School Day initiative also provides test preparation and family engagement activities to participating schools and students.

Ask your school counselor if your current school is participating in this initiative. 

DREAM SPECIALIZED HIGH SCHOOLS INSTITUTE
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 their website.

Eligibility
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.

Participation
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. 

*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.

Audition for Fiorello H. LaGuardia High School

Fiorello H. LaGuardia High School of Music & Art and Performing Arts (LaGuardiaida) has a separate admissions process. To apply for this specialized high school, first register by the deadline for auditions to any/all of its six studios: Dance, Drama, Fine Arts, Instrumental Music, Technical Theater, and/or Vocal Music. Registered students will then be assigned audition dates. For LaGuardia High School, your audition is your application. 

To ensure success in the school’s demanding studio work and challenging academic program, admission to LaGuardia is based on two factors: 

  • Your performance on the competitive audition
  • Meeting a satisfactory screen of grades and attendance

A total of approximately 7,100 eighth grade students auditioned for one or more of the studios at LaGuardia High School for the 2020-2021 school year. Approximately 740 of these students received offers to one or more programs at LaGuardia.

REGISTER

Interested in LaGuardia High School? When registration opens, register 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.
  • Through a Family Welcome Center . Find locations and hours on our website. Support is available in over 200 languages – ask for an interpreter.

When you register for your audition, be sure to get a digital or print receipt.

Tip: If Fiorello H. LaGuardia High School of Music & Art 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. For the most up-to-date information on how to register, visit our website or ask your school counselor.

Prepare for Your Audition

Students are evaluated for LaGuardia High School auditions based on the following:

  • Preparation for the audition
  • Technical proficiency
  • Artistic expression

Most students who receive an offer to one or more of the studios typically score between 80–100 points on the studio rubric and have a satisfactory academic and attendance record. The rubric is available on LaGuardia High School's website.

Here is an overview of the audition process for each LaGuardia High School program. 

Dance
Be familiar with the format of both ballet and modern dance class. You may find it helpful to take open dance classes at dance schools or programs. On the day of the audition wear ballet shoes and fitted black dance attire. You will participate in two classes: (1) ballet and (2) modern.

Drama
Prepare two contrasting one- to two-minute monologues. These monologues should be memorized and age appropriate. A list of suggested monologues can be found in the AUDITION section of LaGuardia High School's website. Your monologue does not have to be on the list. 

On the day of the audition wear attire that allows for free movement. You may be asked to participate in a group warm up. You will perform the two prepared monologues. Adjudicators may ask you to stop your performance prior to the end of the monologue. You may also be asked to complete a re-direct, an improvisational exercise, or a cold reading.

Fine Arts
Prepare a portfolio of 8-15 pieces of original art in a variety of media. The artworks should be from observation, imagination, and memory, and labeled appropriately. Two to three photographs of 3-D work may be included. You may find it helpful to practice the drawing prompts in 20 minute segments. All drawing materials for the audition will be supplied by the school at the audition. 

On the day of the audition your portfolio will be scored while you complete the live audition. You will complete three drawing assignments: (1) drawing a human figure from observation; (2) drawing a still life from memory; and (3) drawing in color imagination. 

Instrumental Music
Prepare a solo selection to perform without accompaniment. The selection can be from any genre of style of music and should demonstrate your current level of proficiency. You may find it helpful to practice sight-reading.

On the day of the audition bring your own instrument(s) to the audition, except those auditioning on piano, percussion, tuba, double bass, or harp. Amplifiers also will be provided at the audition for electric instruments. Bring one copy of your solo selection. You will perform the prepared selection without accompaniment. You may be asked to: (1) sing back melodic patterns; (2) tap back rhythmic patterns; (3) demonstrate the ability to sight-read music; and (4) perform scales from memory 

Technical Theater
Construct a 3-D model illustrating your original design of a state setting for one of the following plays: Dracula, a Play by Steven Dietz (1996), A Raisin in the Sun by Lorraine Hansberry; or The Crucible by Arthur Miller. Models are to be the size of a shoe box or larger and be able to be carried by you. 

You will bring your model and discuss your design choices. You will be asked to replicate multiple-step processes in sound and lighting assembly.

Vocal Music
Prepare a song to sing without accompaniment. The selection can be from any genre or style and should demonstrate your current level of proficiency. A list of suggested songs can be found in the AUDITION section of Laguardia High School's website. Your song does not have to be on the list. 

You will perform the prepared selection without accompaniment. You will be asked to: (1) sing back melodic patterns; and (2) tap rhythmic patterns.

Tip: All of the LaGuardia programs (except for Technical Theater) use common audition components. This means that when you prepare for your LaGuardia audition, you'll be ready to audition for other arts programs that use common components.

ATTEND YOUR AUDITION
What to Bring 

  • Your audition ticket - you will need to present it to enter each audition
  • A light snack and/or water
  • A pen or pencil
  • Anything else a specific audition requires - see the above section "Prepare for Your Audition"

Audition Day Expectations
Be sure to arrive promptly at LaGuardia High School by the time listed on your audition ticket to be checked in. You must arrive on time for your audition(s). The arrival time on your ticket will not be the actual start time of the audition. 

Family Waiting Area
There will be a designated waiting area for families, as audition areas are for student applicants only. Family members or guardians may choose to stay in the waiting area or leave and re-enter the school building at any time. 

Tip: Be sure that you have whatever you need (water, food, any communications to/from your families) before the beginning of the audition process.

Statement of Residency
Prior to the audition, you will be asked to read and sign a statement indicating that you are a New York City resident and that you are well enough to audition. Students who sign this statement but do not meet the requirements specified will be disqualified from admission to LaGuardia High School. 

Audition Security
Before your audition, site staff may take a photograph or video of the students in each audition room. These images will be used for security purposes only.

Take the Specialized High Schools Admissions Test (SHSAT)

The testing specialized high schools use a separate admissions process. To apply for any/all of these schools, first register to take the Specialized High Schools Admissions Test (SHSAT) by the  deadline. Registered students will then be assigned test dates. For these schools, taking the test is how you apply: 

  • 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

Unlike LaGuardia High School, these Specialized High Schools will NOT see students’ academic records or use them to make offers. Offers to the testing Specialized High Schools are based on three factors:

  • Students' SHSAT scores
  • The preference order of the testing schools students list on their answer sheets
  • Seat availability at each school

Tip: If Fiorello H. LaGuardia High School of Music & Art 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. Your audition is how you apply!

Approximately 28,000 eighth-grade students took the SHSAT for the 2020-2021 school year, and approximately 4,300 of these students received an offer to a testing Specialized High School.

In MySchools: This information is also available online in the Demand Last Year section of each school's High School Directory page.

Tip: To learn more about how offers are made to the testing specialized high schools, watch the video How Students Get Offers to Screened Schools and the Specialized High Schools on our website

REGISTER TO TAKE THE SHSAT

  • Online with MySchools. During the registration period, this option is available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, in Arabic, Bengali/Bangla, Chinese, English, French, Haitian Creole, Korean, Russian, Spanish, and Urdu.
  • Through your school counselor. Speak to your counselor about registering for the SHSAT. They can also help you register
  • Through a Family Welcome Center. Find locations and hours on our website. Support is available in over 200 languages – ask for an interpreter.

When you register for the SHSAT, be sure to get a digital or print receipt.

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

SHSAT Dates

All registered students will take the SHSAT on an assigned date. The date, time, and location for your test will be listed on your test ticket. If dates or locations change for any reason, you will receive updates from your school counselor or the DOE. 

Students new to New York City with records showing that they moved here after the testing dates may be eligible to take the test in late summer 2021.

Students at schools participating in the SHSAT School Day Initiative will take the SHSAT during the school day.

If you cannot test on either a Saturday or a Sunday because of a religious observance, you must indicate this when you register for the SHSAT or let your school counselor know before the registration deadline. 

Tip: Learn more about supports and accommodations for English Language Learners and former English Language Learners under the tab "Accommodations for LaGuardia High School Auditions and the SHSAT."

SHSAT Locations

You will take the SHSAT in the borough or district where you currently attend school. Stay tuned for testing locations and more information . Your testing location will also be included on your test ticket. 

Get and Check Your Test Ticket

After the registration deadline, you will be notified when your ticket is ready. 

Your test ticket will include:

  • Your test date and time
  • Your test location
  • Your student ID number
  • Your current school's code
  • If applicable, testing accommodations

Review all information on your ticket carefully. If you see any errors or outdated information, tell your school counselor right away. 

Conflicts, Illness, and Make-Up Tests 
You must test on the date and location assigned on your test ticket, with the following exceptions: 

  • If the test date on your ticket conflicts with a religious observance, talk to your school counselor—they can get your test date changed.
  • If you are scheduled to take the SHSAT on the same date/time as your LaGuardia High School audition, you will be able to reschedule your audition .
  • If you are ill or injured and unable to take the test on a scheduled date, immediately notify your school counselor when you return to school, and request a make-up testing date. You must provide documentation explaining that you were sick or injured and unable to test. Give this documentation to your school counselor before the deadline to request a make-up test.

Your school counselor can help you request a make-up test or audition. School counselors will be notified when they can begin submitting make-up requests.

Accommodations
If you are an ELL student an eligible former ELL student (within previous two years), or have existing testing accommodation as indicated on your current IEP or 504 Plan, your approved accommodations will appear on your test ticket. 

  • Check your ticket carefully to be sure any accommodations are listed correctly. If the accommodations are missing from the ticket or are incorrect, alert your school counselor immediately. 
  • If you have accommodations, also check to make sure you are scheduled to take the test on the appropriate date. If you are not, tell your counselor. 
  • You and your parents or guardians should review the test ticket and discuss which accommodations may not be helpful for you, and what you should do if you wish to leave before the end of the extended time period. (If you are eligible for extended time.) 
  • The test will be administered according to the test ticket; if there are accommodations listed that your parents/guardians do not want you to use, follow the directions on the test ticket to provide written consent for you not to use the accommodation.

LIST YOUR SCHOOL CHOICES ON YOUR TICKET
Be sure to talk to your family and school counselor about which testing specialized high schools you’d like to attend and in what order of preference. Each student will be considered for admission only for the schools ranked on their answer sheet. You may choose to rank only one school on your answer sheet, or you may list all eight schools.

  • Before your test date, indicate the schools you want to apply to on your test ticket by bubbling in your school choices on your test ticket, ranking your first choice as #1, your second as #2, and so on.
  • On the day of the test, you’ll be asked to list these choices on your SHSAT answer sheet in preference order; this will be the only opportunity for you to indicate your choices. If you already have your final choices listed in preference order on your test ticket, you can easily copy them onto your answer sheet. 

GET YOUR TEST TICKET SIGNED
You and a parent or guardian must both sign your ticket before you take the SHSAT. Be sure to bring your ticket to the test! If you arrive without your ticket, you may not be allowed to test. Sites will make every effort to confirm your registration so that you will be allowed to test, but students without tickets may need to be rescheduled for another date.

Offers

Get Your High School Offer

Your high school offer letter will become available in MySchools in the spring; if you do not request the paperless option, it will also be mailed to your home address. This letter will include: 

  • Your high school offer letter
  • If applicable, your Specialized High Schools results
    • This will include your SHSAT score if you took the SHSAT
    • Whether or not you received an offer to a testing Specialized High Schoo, and whether or not you received any offers to LaGuardia High School programs
  • Next steps, such as how to choose between multiple offers (if applicable)
  • 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 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 int ouch 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 2021. 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? Visit 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 us.

Ask Questions!

When you speak with a school representative, try to ask one question from each category. Create your own questions 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

  • 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?

Other Interests

  • What else does your school offer (sports, clubs, arts, music, community, service, internships, etc.)?
Cover of the print 2021 NYC High School Admissions Guide, featuring three high school students taking a photo together.
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