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Q: We are trying to decide between two high schools for my son, who is a bright and articulate young man with very strong science and math skills. Both high schools stress science. One has been around for 50 years, a "specialized" high school with a very good reputation. The other is one of the newly-organized programs in an old neighborhood high school. Which school will college admissions offices look at better? What are the benefits and negatives of each program?
A: For the benefits of each of these high schools, you ought to go to the information on the individual school page on Insideschools. There is no "right" answer for all students. Which school will involve more commuting? How large are the classes? What is the overall atmosphere of each school?
In terms of college, the answer is this: when college admissions readers look at your son's application, they will look at what he was offered, and what he classes he took.
If, for example, a school offers 15 AP courses, and he took only two, they will not be terribly impressed. They will see a picture of academic fear, even if his grades are strong. They will not compare your son's record, say, at the specialized school with applicants who chose to attend the neighborhood school. They will only look at him in the context of his own school.
To better inform colleges, every high school in the U.S. prepares a document called the profile. A "profile" can range from a slick, full-color brochure to a simple photocopied sheet. But the information contained is always standard: the size of the school, the number of students, the number of teachers, the courses offered, the grading scale used, the percentage of graduates who go on to higher education, and the colleges and universities where the students have been accepted and enrolled. More elaborate profiles will also contain information on average SAT scores, Regents scores, AP statistics, clubs and other extra-curricular activities and any special distinctions the school has earned.
Here are some other questions to consider: What are the average Regents exam scores at these schools? Where have the recent graduates of each school gone on to college? Which school offers more of the extra-curricular activities that will give your son the opportunity to shine? If he is a math-science kid, does the school have a competitive math team?
Beyond looking at college acceptances, remember that your son will be in high school for as long as he will be in college. These are important years, and he should enjoy them. Visit each school and think of where he has the better chance of having an exciting and stimulating and happy four years! It might help him to be able to speak with currently-enrolled students in each school. He has a little more time now that the due date for high school applications has been pushed back a week to Dec. 10.
Eighth graders will have a little more time to explore their high school options after the Department of Education announced Friday it would extend the application deadline until Dec. 10, one week later than the original due date of Dec. 3.
The DOE cited "hardships due to Hurricane Sandy" in an email message to families. Students may list up to 12 schools on their applications and turn them in to middle school guidance counselors by Monday, Dec. 10. This is the latest of several storm-related delays in the application season. This weekend 8th and 9th graders are taking the specialized high school exams, postponed from October because of Hurricane Sandy.
Students may use the extra time to tour schools and go to open houses, which were cancelled or postponed when schools were closed for a week.
Families researching high school options should also check out Insideschools videos about choosing a high school and our new list of noteworthy special education programs. We have posted new reviews and slides shows of dozens of high schools, the latest of which are posted on our homepage.
The Nov. 7 Gifted and Talented information session in Queens, cancelled twice due to storms, has been rescheduled.The new date is Wednesday, Nov. 14 at Frances Lewis High School, from 6-8 p.m. The Nov. 8 session at PS 121 in the Bronx is on. Education Department admissions officials will cover the G&T admissions process for students entering kindergarten, 1st, 2nd grade and 3rd grade in the 2013-14 school year.
Families now have until Nov. 16 to sign up for G&T testing for their children; that's a one week extension from the original Nov. 9 deadline. Most parents will submit the request for testing form online, but others may go to the enrollment office.
Parents who miss going to one of the sesions should be reassured that virtually all of the information covered in the sessions by DOE officials is in the G&T handbook (pdf).
One of the few bits of information not covered, that we heard mentioned at the Brooklyn and Manhattan sessions, was that 4-year-olds will not be expected to "bubble in" their responses. In fact, they are strongly encouraged not to do so. Parents who expressed concern that their children might be shy, or reluctant to go in to a room with a stranger, were reassured that all teachers administering the assessments are well-trained and accustomed to working with small children.
For more information, see the DOE's G&T page.
(updated Nov. 8 with new information)
Eighth and 9th graders applying to high school for 2013 lost not only a week of classes thanks to Hurricane Sandy, but they also lost a busy week of school visits, open houses, specialized tests and auditions.
The Education Department posted a list of changes for the specialized high school exams and some audition schools, but for individual schools, your best bet is to check the school's website or call.
Specialized high schools and audition schools:
Auditions at LaGuardia High School scheduled for Nov. 3-4, will be held Nov. 10-11
Auditions at Frank Sinatra scheduled for Nov. 3-4, will be held Nov. 10-11
Auditions for Professional Performing Arts School are rescheduled for Nov. 10-11. November 10 (drama and vocal), and November 11 (musical theater and dance) for residents of Manhattan, Staten Island, and the Bronx. Note location change: Dance auditions will be held at PPAS at 328 West 48 Street.
The Specialized High School Admissions Test (SHSAT scheduled for Oct. 28 will now be held on Nov. 18
The SHSAT scheduled for Nov. 3 will be held on Nov. 17.
Edward R. Murrow High School: Edward R. Murrow HS will be having one more open house before applications are due. Their last open house is on Thursday, November 15 at 7:00 pm. This meeting is for all students including those who are interested in our science and math program (Murrow Med, Master Program, MSTAR Science Research, Murrow Math Seminar), Instrumental/Vocal Music, Theater and Art Programs. A
general presentation will also be made. Come to the Avenue L entrance. See the school's website for more information.
High School of Telecommunications Arts and Technology: Wednesday and Thursday 9 am tours will continue through December. Call parent coordinator Barbara Yarshevitz with any questions: 718-759-3427.
IS 228 David Boody, Thursday, Nov. 15, 9-11 am and 5:30-8:30 p.m.
Kingsborough Early College Secondary School, Thursday, Nov. 15, 6:30-8:30 pm
Bayside High School Open House Rescheduled to November 8th. Doors open at 6:30 pm; presentation at 7:00 PM
Forest Hills High School: Tuesday, Nov. 13, 2012 at 6 pm in the auditorium for prospective parents and students.
Information sessions about the admissions process for elementary school Gifted and Talented programs originally scheduled for this week will be held next week, the Education Department announced this afternoon.
In Queens, the information session will be held on Wednesday, Nov. 7 at Francis Lewis High School.
In the Bronx, the info session will be held on Thursday, Nov. 8 at PS 121.
Both sessions will go from 6-8 p.m. Applications for testing are due on Nov. 9. Parents should be reassured that virtually all of the information covered in the sessions by DOE officials is in the G&T handbook (pdf).
One of the few bits of information not covered in the handbook, that we heard mentioned at the Brooklyn and Manhattan sessions, was that 4-year-olds will not be expected to "bubble in" their responses. In fact, they are strongly encouraged not to do so. Parents who expressed concern that their children might be shy, or reluctant to go in to a room with a stranger, were reassured that all teachers administering the assessments are well-trained and accustomed to working with small children.
For more information, see the DOE's G&T page.
Saturday's specialized high school admissions test, scheduled to be taken by all 9th graders and 8th graders needing special accommodations, has been postponed until Nov. 17, the Education Department announced this afternoon.
One of the sites, Brooklyn Technical High School, is still housing evacuees, and another, Stuyvesant, is virtually impossible to reach by subway.
The DOE announced other changes for anxious 8th and 9th graders applying to specialized and other high school:
- All weekend auditions, interviews and exams have been cancelled and will be rescheduled
- Auditions at LaGuardia High School scheduled for Nov. 3-4, will be held the following weekend, Nov. 10-11
- Auditions at Frank Sinatra scheduled for Nov. 3-4, will be held the following weekend, Nov. 10-11
- The SHSAT scheduled for Oct. 28 will now be held on Nov. 18
Check the DOE's website for more information. So far the DOE has not changed the Dec. 3 due date for high school applications.
(And, if you, and your children have extra time on your hands, check out some of the volunteer opportunities at one of the 60 schools housing evacuees. Evacuees are still very much in residence. Here's a link: https://www.facebook.com/OccupySandyReliefNyc)
Late Friday afternoon, Chancellor Dennis Walcott cancelled the specialized high school admissions test for Sunday, Oct. 28, citing weather concerns with Hurricane Sandy and "uncertainty over travel conditions." Eighth-graders scheduled to take the test on Sunday now have an extra few weeks to wait before taking the exam, which determines entrance into one of eight highly competitive high schools.The new date for them is Nov. 18.
Saturday test-takers are not affected.
Here's the notice we got at 4:20 p.m.
CHANCELLOR WALCOTT ANNOUNCES THE
CANCELLATION OF THE SPECIALIZED HIGH SCHOOL EXAM SCHEDULED FOR SUNDAY, OCTOBER 28, 2012
The test will be rescheduled for November 18
Due to the anticipated inclement weather brought on by Hurricane Sandy, we are cancelling the Specialized High School Admissions Test (SHSAT) scheduled to take place on Sunday, October 28. The test is rescheduled for Sunday, November 18. The exam scheduled for tomorrow, Saturday, October 27, will take place as planned.
Can you advise as to how a public school (MS 51 in Brooklyn) can decide to have a French Dual Language program for two 6th grade classes at the expense of the rest of the district kids? What is the approval process? How does this happen? What is FLAM and how did it get involved.
District 15 parent
Dear District 15 parent
Establishing a dual language program takes lots of hard work and commitment by principals, teachers and parents. First, you have to develop a constituency for the program. This is where a group like FLAM comes in. FLAM, which stands for Français Langue Maternelle, is an association to promote the teaching of French in city public schools. It sponsors after school French programs in some districts, and a few elementary school programs. The group includes current parents of public school kids. Like other not-for-profit groups, it cooperates with the school and the district to create and support programs.
Close to 200 parents and neighborhood residents heard Carrie Marlin, director of planning for the Education Department, present proposed zoning changes for popular Park Slope schools on Wednesday night at a meeting of the District 15 Community Education Council. Joyce Szuflita of nyc school help was at the meeting. Here's her rundown.
District 15 Community Education Council President Jim Devor said rezoning discussions began two years ago around the collaboration between District 13 and District 15 to build a new and larger building in the Gowanus neighborhood to house PS 133. PS 133 was re-located to a small Catholic school building, St. Thomas Aquinas, while construction is underway on the new building which will open in fall of 2013 and will serve students from both districts.
Q: I am working on my college applications and I need two teacher recommendations. I don’t know what major I want to be, so how do I pick which subject teachers to ask? My best grades are in math, but I’m not really friendly with any of my math teachers. I really get along well with my junior year history teacher, but I only got an 88 in that class. What should I do?
A: The first thing you want to do is not wait too long to ask your teachers for letters! It is never a good idea to ask at the last minute. You must realize that your teachers are going to be very busy near application deadlines – most applications are due January 1, although early deadlines will come on Nov. 1 and Nov. 15. They may be able to write only a certain number, so ask soon.
Unless students are applying to engineering school, which require a letter from a math teacher, they can ask teachers from ANY academic subject. It is best to ask teachers from two different subjects, so the admissions readers will gain two different perspectives about you. And it’s best to ask teachers with whom you have a solid relationship. Therefore, it is preferable for you to have a letter from the history who likes you, than from a math teacher who barely knows you, even if you earned a 97 in that class.