Admissions to New York high schools will open on October 4: what parents need to know
The new school year has just begun, and the New York City high school admissions process begins next week and will last until early December. The process can be challenging for tens of thousands of families of eighth-graders applying to public high schools, and economic and racial diversity issues persist at the city’s most selective schools, Thecity reports.
Last year, nearly half of eighth-grade applicants were accepted into their primary school of choice, and about 75% were accepted into one of their three schools of choice. About 95 percent of applicants were accepted into one of the 12 schools they listed on their application, according to city officials.
The lengthy process, which takes several months, causes increased anxiety and confusion among families. According to parents, there is often a feeling of injustice when those families who have the time and resources to devote themselves to this process have an advantage.
Details of terms and conditions and application requirements may vary from school to school, and information posted online is sometimes slow to update. Additionally, the two-month deadline and wide selection of over 700 programs in over 400 schools make the situation even worse.
Joyce Shuflita, an admissions consultant who runs NYC School Help, calls it “a treasure hunt in limited time.” For families who are applying to middle and high school at the same time, it can seem even more challenging. “How can such families not explode?”
When does the application process open?
Applications for the high school are expected to begin on October 3rd. That same day, registration will open for the Specialized High Schools Admissions Test, or SHSAT, the only criterion used by the city’s eight prestigious high schools to admit students.
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According to representatives of the Department of Education, the exam will be held during the school day in public schools, and additional days off will be provided for public school students and ninth-graders taking the exam in private and various non-state schools.
Families have until October 27 to register for the SHSAT. Applications for admission to the high school will be accepted until December 1st, and offers will be published on March 7th.
Applications for the secondary school will be accepted at approximately weekly intervals, with applications beginning on October 11th and closing on December 8th. Proposals for secondary schools are expected to be published on 3 April.
The city’s Department of Education will host several virtual admissions events in October. Many schools will post information about open days and tours in the city’s MySchools directory. They also post information about high school fairs.
How did New York schools welcome students last year?
Different schools in the city use different methods for identifying candidates, and each of them has its own application requirements.
This fall, ninth-graders were placed into four priority groups based on their seventh-grade core course averages. In cases where the number of applicants in the priority group exceeded the number of places, selection was made based on a random number assigned to each applicant.
Some schools also provided entrance essays or auditions, which were later used in selection.
More than 40 qualifying schools also participate in the diversity initiative by allocating a certain number of places to low-income students who are English language learners or living in transitional housing. A separate competition program is held for these places.
Other schools used a system of open or educational admissions options that primarily used random applicant numbers for admission, although some took into account additional criteria to create priority groups. (Educational options programs provided space for students at different academic levels to promote diversity in the classroom.)
Will the same application rules apply this year?
According to the city Department of Education, school selection will follow the same pattern as last year, although the average scores for each priority group have changed slightly.
Admissions to the high school this year will follow the same format as last year, officials said.
What do experts recommend to get started?
Cindy Nuesi, director of the Cypress Hills Local Development Corporation’s Center for High School Success, recommends families start by narrowing down their broad range of possible schools.
Nuesi advises families and students to first decide how far they are willing to commute to school and whether there are specific areas they would like to attend. You can then search for programs that match your child’s interests.
“Even though many students are undecided on what they want, if they have a specific interest that they really enjoy, it narrows down their options,” she said, adding that families can filter searches based on areas of interest. “It makes it less congested.”
Nuesi also advises developing a relationship with your school counselor, who can help with every step of the admissions process.
Elissa Stein, a higher education admissions consultant who runs the High School 411 program, encourages parents to look at the process holistically and not get too hung up on a specific school or program.
“I always tell families that they need to take their child into account,” she said. “So think about the size of the school, what it offers, the academic ranges, the ease of travel, the building, the area – there are many factors that can make a school suitable for your child or not.”
She also added that being able to explore schools that you are not as familiar with helps in the process. “There are schools that everyone knows by name and reputation,” Stein said. “But there are a lot of other schools that aren’t as well known that could be a great fit.”
What tips can help you avoid being overwhelmed?
Stein says you can make this process easier by staying organized, keeping track of important dates, and taking notes.
Pamela Wheaton, a college admissions consultant who runs SchoolScoutNYC, advises families to use InsideSchools, a resource for information about schools throughout the city, when applying.
Families should also find ways to harness the power of their communities. Parents can team up with other families to coordinate school visits, allowing them to reach more places in a shorter time frame, Wheaton said.
What does your school’s lottery number mean for admission?
Last year, for the first time, the Department of Education sent all families their lottery numbers – a string of 32 numbers and letters – at the beginning of the application process. Many families in Facebook groups have been posting tips on how to interpret the number to figure out where students fall and gauge their chances.
Education Department officials said families will be able to see their random numbers when they begin submitting high school applications through MySchools on or after Oct. 3. Shuflita warns not to worry too much about the number. “Everyone calls it the lottery,” she said. – This is not a lottery. That’s a coincidence”.
While random number can be important, in many schools it is only one factor among many, Shuflita says. For example, at some schools that require applicants to write an essay, the number will likely not play a big role. And in eight specialized high schools in the city, the number is not taken into account at all, Shuflita added. “When there are candidates with equal priority, then the random number becomes decisive,” she said.
Ultimately, admissions counselors and advisors say to take a deep breath and trust that your student will go to a place where they can succeed. “Be calm, calm, because everything will come in due time,” says Shuflita. – Everything will be fine. There are so many great schools. There are many worthy programs.”
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