What Are the Specialized High Schools?
The nine specialized high schools are one way that New York City supports the educational needs of students who excel academically and/or artistically, including English Language Learners and students with an IEP or 504 Plan.
One Audition High School—Audition to Apply
You can apply to one specialized high school, Fiorello H. LaGuardia High School of Music & Art and Performing Arts, by submitting a portfolio and auditioning in a talent area for up to six different studios:
- Fine & Visual Art
- Vocal Music
- Instrumental Music
- Technical Theater
LaGuardia High School also considers students' academic records.
Registration to audition for LaGuardia for the 2019-2020 school year is now closed.
Eight Testing High Schools—Take the SHSAT to Apply
You can apply to the other eight specialized high schools by taking the Specialized High Schools Admissions Test (SHSAT). These eight testing schools are:
- The Bronx High School of Science
- The Brooklyn Latin School
- Brooklyn Technical High School
- High School for Mathematics, Science and Engineering at City College of New York
- 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
Registration to test for these schools for the 2019-2020 school year is now closed.
Use MySchools to learn more about each of the specialized high schools, as well as other public high school options. Search for schools by interest, location, and more from your desktop or mobile device.
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Who Can Apply to the Specialized High Schools?
Everyone who is eligible to apply to high school is also eligible to apply to the specialized high schools—learn more:
When you register to audition and/or schedule the SHSAT and to get your audition or test results, you must be both of the following:
- A current NYC resident
- A current eighth grade student or first-time ninth grade student
Visit Specialized High Schools
Visiting a school is the best way to explore if it may be the right place for you. It’s also a great way to see what your commute would be like. During the school year, you can contact schools directly to find out if they have special events or student-guided tours. You can also find open house dates in the calendar below:
Register for Auditions and/or the Test
Registration to audition or test for these schools is now closed—the deadline was October 11, 2018. If you registered, your audition or test tickets will be available to print or to pick up at your current school starting on October 17, 2018—we will let you know when your tickets are ready.
Prepare for Auditions and/or the Test
- Register to audition for LaGuardia High School and/or schedule the SHSAT.
- Get your audition ticket and/or test ticket starting October 17, 2018.
- Review your ticket for accuracy. English Language Learners and students with disabilities should check their tickets and make sure they are scheduled for the appropriate accommodations. Let your school counselor know right away if there are any errors on your ticket.
- Get a parent or guardian to sign your ticket.
- Audition and/or take the SHSAT.
Auditioning for LaGuardia High School
The LaGuardia High School audition ticket will list the studio(s) for which you've registered to audition. Learn more about auditioning for specific studios on LaGuardia High School's website:
Taking the SHSAT
Before the day of the test, consider which specialized high schools you would like to attend and in what order of preference. You can rank up to eight specialized high schools on your test ticket. On the day of the test, you will bubble in these choices on your SHSAT answer sheet.
Use the following resources to prepare:
- Specialized High Schools Admissions Test page. Learn more about the most recent test format and see sample test items:
- Specialized High Schools Student Handbook. Take SHSAT practice tests and learn about audition requirements for LaGuardia's six studios. Make sure any other test preparation materials you may find at a bookstore or local library reference the current year's SHSAT.
Test Supports and Accommodations
Students with disabilities who have IEPs or approved 504 Accommodation Plans and English Language Learners are eligible for test supports and accommodations. ELL accommodations are available for students up to two years after they reach proficiency on the New York State English as a Second Language Achievement Test (NYSESLAT). Work with your school counselor to confirm accommodations for your audition and/or test. Learn more about special education in NYC and tests for English Language Learners.
Find Out More
Audition and/or Take the Test
Bring your audition ticket to LaGuardia on the day of your audition and/or your test ticket to your assigned test site on the day of the test.
Get Your High School Results
All students who apply in Round 1 will get a high school offer. Whenever possible, students will get an offer to the highest possible choice from their application; when not, they will get an offer to a program close to their home and (if possible) reflecting their interests based on their application choices.
You will get your Round 1 results letter in March. This letter will include your offer from the high school application process and your results from the specialized high schools process (if you participated). These results may also include offers from any of the studios at LaGuardia High School or an offer from a testing specialized high school. If you get multiple offers in Round 1, you can choose only one.
There is a Round 2 of high school admissions; anyone can participate. If you prefer programs available in Round 2 over your Round 1 offer(s), submit a Round 2 application. In March, you can use MySchools to explore programs with Round 2 availability.
If you apply in Round 2, you will get your Round 2 results in May. If you get a Round 2 offer, it will replace your Round 1 offer—you cannot choose between these offers. If you do not get a new offer in Round 2 and your Round 1 offer presents a hardship, you may appeal.
Specialized high schools are not available in Round 2. Also, you cannot appeal to a specialized high school.
Specialized High Schools Diversity Initiatives
Our goal is that students in specialized high schools should reflect the diversity of New York City. The Specialized High Schools Diversity Initiatives aim to increase testing, offer, and acceptance rates for high-potential students in underrepresented communities.
The Discovery program is a summer enrichment program for disadvantaged students who score right below the SHSAT cutoff score. Students who participate in this summer program and successfully complete program requirements are admitted to the specialized high schools. Over two years, beginning in summer 2019, we’ll expand the number of seats in the Discovery program to 20% of seats at each specialized high school.
Students will be notified if they’re eligible to participate in spring 2019. To be eligible, the student must:
1. Have scored within a certain range below the cutoff score on the SHSAT. Eligible scores will vary from year to year and will be based on seat availability;
2. Be certified as disadvantaged. Specifically, the student must be:
- From a low-income household, or
- A student in temporary housing, or
- An English Language Learner who entered NYC within the past four years
3. Be currently attending a high-poverty school. A school is defined as high-poverty if it has an Economic Need Index (ENI) of at least 60%. You can see a school’s historical ENI by visiting the School Performance Dashboard and selecting the school from the list.
Students will only be considered for Discovery programs at the specialized high school(s) they listed on their fall 2018 SHSAT answer sheet. Once notified of eligibility, families should meet with their current school counselor to discuss the Discovery Program application.
Visit the DREAM Program page to find out if you're eligible to participate in these programs: