NYC High School and Specialized High Schools Admissions Guide

Welcome to the High School Admissions Guide! This digital guide was used by students applying to high school last year and entering high school in fall 2021. However, this is still a relevant resource for students applying to high school this school year and entering high school in fall 2022. 

Please be aware that some information and policies may change; when decisions around 2022 admissions are made, we will update this guide to reflect them. Always refer to schools.nyc.gov/High and schools.nyc.gov/SHS for the most accurate, up-to-date information on admissions, and please 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.

Who can apply?

All current eighth grade students who live in New York City (including students who have temporarily moved out of New York City during the COVID-19 pandemic) 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, students with disabilities, students with accessibility needs, students in temporary housing, LGBTQ students, students with children of their own (through the LYFE program), and immigrant families.

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 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.
  • 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.

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 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

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 submit your audition online through the Virtual Audition Submission Tool.
  • Offers to these programs are determined by applicants' auditions. LaGuardia High School also reviews applicants' academic record from the prior school year.

Tip: Learn more about how to register and prepare for your LaGuardia audition(s) at schools.nyc.gov/SHS and schools.nyc.gov/HSAuditions.

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 Events 

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

Check MySchools and school's own websites, or contact schools directly to find out about any virtual events or other resources for prospective students.

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:

  • 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

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 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

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. 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
  • Architecture
  • Business
  • Communications
  • Computer science and technology
  • Cosmetology
  • Culinary arts
  • Engineering
  • Environmental science
  • Film/video
  • Health professions
  • Hospitality, travel, and tourism
  • Humanities and interdisciplinary
  • JROTC
  • Law and government
  • Performing arts
  • Performing arts/visual art and design
  • Project-based learning
  • Science and math
  • Teaching
  • Visual art and design
  • Zoned

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. Students are evaluated, scored, and ranked for admission based on the program's selection criteria, such as grades and State test scores. 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 the High School Page. 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 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.

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 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 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 tenth 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.

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.

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 

  • 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. 

Screened

  • 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, selection criteria may include final course grades from the 2018-2019 school year, marking period course grades from fall 2019 through February 2020, and standardized test scores from spring 2019.
  • Some programs that previously used additional criteria may continue to use them; learn more on each program's MySchools page.
  • What you should do:
    • Review your grades and test scores against the program's selection criteria ranges, and complete any additional requirements the program may have. You can find criteria and requirements on the school’s MySchools page. 

Audition

  • 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 all audition programs, except LaGuardia, submit your audition requirements, as listed at schools.nyc.gov/HSAuditions, through the Virtual Audition Submission Tool.
    • For LaGuardia High School programs, register to audition by the deadline. 

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. 
  • Offers within each category are made based on students' randomly assigned numbers. 
  • If a program also uses admissions priorities, all qualifying applicants in the first priority group will get offers first.
  • What you should do:
    • List the program on your application. 

Screened: Language

  • 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 also use academic records to rank and make offers to qualifying students in order by their priority groups and ranked 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. 

Transfer

  • 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. 

Zoned

  • 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. 

Open

  • 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 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 the High School page.

Programs that screen and rank applicants: Screened, Auditions

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.

Selection Criteria

Programs that have a screened or audition admissions method evaluate applicants based on specific selection criteria.

  • Look up a program's selection criteria ranges on the MySchools directory page to learn how that program will evaluate and rank students for admissions, and if they require 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.

Common audition components for Arts Programs

Auditioning for arts programs that use an audition admissions method? This year:

  • All auditions will be virtual. Applicants will submit audition materials through our new Virtual Audition Submission Tool, launching in January 2021.
  • Additionally, disciplines are using common audition components and common auditions. This means that if you create audition materials for one of these programs, you can use that same audition to apply to other programs in that same artistic discipline (including for LaGuardia High School).
  • Please note that among schools with audition programs, only LaGuardia High School will see and use applicants' academic information to make offers . For all other audition programs, auditions will be the sole criteria for admission.

Learn all about audition requirements for each discipline and find a list of programs at schools.nyc.gov/HSAuditions.

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. 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.

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 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 under the tab "Take the Specialized High Schools Admissions Test" and 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 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 deadline 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

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 based 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 the 504 accommodations page.
  • 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".

lish 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 (SWD) 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 the testing accommodations page.

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.

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 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 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

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.

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.

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? During the registration period, register one of three ways by the deadline to audition:

  • 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 Registration 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. Learn how and find hours on our website. Support is available in over 200 languages – ask for an interpreter.

When you register online for your audition, you will receive a receipt by email and in your MySchools account. If you register for your audition through a counselor or Family Welcome Center, be sure to request a copy of your 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 the Specialized High Schools page 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.

  • LaGuardia uses common components by discipline for each of its programs. You can find these audition requirements, as well as a list of other high school programs that offer programs in each discipline, on the High School Auditions page
  • Before the process opens, the High School Auditions page will also provide specific information about how to audition. For 2021 admissions, all auditions were submitted virtually. The process was to use the Virtual Audition Submission Tool (for students with a DOE account) or to submit auditions via email (for current non-public school students). Students uploaded or emailed any required files for their artistic disciplines, such as videos, photographs, and written work.

Take the Specialized High Schools Admissions Test (SHSAT)

The eight 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. (For 2021, part of registering was indicating which of these 8 schools you wanted to attend, and in what order of preference.) Registered students are 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:

  • Your preference order of the testing schools submitted during registration
  • Students' SHSAT scores
  • Seat availability at each school

In MySchools: This information is also available on each school's MySchools page.

Please note that not all students who take the SHSAT will get an offer to one of these eight schools. In a typical year, approximately 28,000 eighth-grade students take the SHSAT and approximately 4,000 of these students receive an offer to a testing Specialized High School.

Tip: To learn more about how offers are made to the testing specialized high schools, watch our video series at schools.nyc.gov/SHS.

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!

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. Support is available in over 200 languages – ask for an interpreter.

Your School Preferences

When you register, be sure to indicate which of the testing Specialized High Schools you want to apply for, and in what order of preference.

  • Talk to your family and school counselor about which testing Specialized High Schools you’d like to attend and in what order of preference. 
  • List your first choice at the top as #1, your second choice as #2, and so on.
  • Each student will be considered for admission only for the schools listed here when you register. You may choose to list only one school, or you may list all eight schools.

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 the Specialized High School page or ask your school counselor.

SHSAT Dates and Locations

All registered students will take the SHSAT on an assigned date.

  • 8th grade DOE public students will take the test at their current school. This information will be confirmed on your test ticket.
  • All other students will take the test at other DOE locations: 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."

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 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. Provide 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.

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 and Specialized High School Results

High school and Specialized High School offers will become available in MySchools in the spring; if you do not request the paperless option, letters with this information will also be mailed to your home address. Offer and waitlist information for students entering high school in fall 2021 will be updated by early spring.

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 the late spring, 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?

SituationWhat 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? 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 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.)?
  • Call Us

    Call Monday-Friday, 8am-6pm at 718-935-2009.

  • Get Support

    Family Welcome Center staff are here to help.

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