Laura Zingmond

Laura Zingmond

If you’re an 8th-grader who wasn’t matched with a high school, you’re not alone. This year roughly 4,800 (out of nearly 77,000) students did not receive a match and will need to apply to high schools with open seats during Round 2 of admissions. Applications are due March 28.

The Round 2 high school fairs are scheduled for March 18 and 19, 11 am–2 pm at the Martin Luther King Jr. Educational Campus. Try to arrive early so you have plenty of time to meet with representatives from each school you’re interested in and with Department of Education enrollment personnel who can answer your questions.

Eighth-graders who are unhappy with their high school match may reapply during Round 2, but be aware that if you are accepted to another school, you forfeit your Round 1 match.

Current 9th-graders who are offered a 10th-grade seat, in the first or second round, will have the option of remaining at their current school. Ninth-graders who didn't submit an application last December may apply now to schools with open seats.

UPDATE 3/10/17: High school decisions are out! We're impressed by all the supportive words and advice our readers are sharing with each other. Join the discussion in the comments section below and also check out and comment on our annual post of Round 2 picks.

The wait is almost over. High school decision letters will be distributed by Friday, March 10. Schools got the letters Wednesday, but don't expect to receive yours before Friday when many schools choose to hand them out at the end of the day. If your school mails the letters, you may not get yours until Saturday.

Non–public school students should contact the person handling high school admissions at their school to find out their placement. If you're having trouble getting your letter you can always go to your nearest Family Welcome Center to find out your high school match.

All schools—public and private—will have access to students' high school placements via the Department of Education's enrollment system.

Details about this year’s main round decisions have yet to be released, but if last year’s results prove to be a trend, then the majority of students will be admitted to one of their top five choices and close to half will be matched to their top pick. Students who took the SHSAT (Specialized High School Admissions Test) or auditioned for LaGuardia will also find out if they got into a specialized school.

If you are not matched with a high school during the main round then you will have to apply to schools with open spots during Round 2 of high school admissions. Eighth and first-time 9th-graders who are unhappy with their high school placement may also participate in Round 2.

Round 2 high school fairs, where students can meet with representatives from schools with open seats, will be held Saturday, March 18 and Sunday, March 19 from 11 am to 2 pm at the Martin Luther King Jr. Educational Campus in Manhattan.

Stay tuned for more information including our annual best bets list of Round 2 high schools.

Hang in there and good luck!

Updated on 3/6/17 to reflect that high school letters will by handed out at school by March 10 and schools' access to high school decisions via the enrollment system.

Have you finalized your your list for the high school application yet? The Dec. 1 deadline is almost here.

If you still are undecided about where to apply, or how to rank your 12 choices, we've got last minute tips for you. 

First, read our latest high school admissions guide, which includes tips for completing the application and advice for 8th-graders.

Then, make sure to read our school profiles and InsideStats for every high school you’re still considering. Click on the comments and browse what current and former students have to say about the school.

Some schools are still holding open houses. Check the Department of Education’s (DOE) high school admissions calendar for dates and times. If you don’t see any dates listed for a school you’re interested in, then check that school’s own website or call them directly.

A word of caution about limited unscreened schools, which admit students by lottery, but give priority to those who sign in at an open house or high school fair. Chalkbeat reported that some limited unscreened schools may be inappropriately looking at more than a student’s attendance at an open house or fair when deciding who gets priority. Bottom line: If you visited some limited unscreened schools or met with their staff at a school fair, we recommend that you reach out to each of them to confirm that your 8th-grader has priority in the lottery.

If you're a rising 9th- or 10-grader who wasn’t matched with a high school this week, here's what to do: You need to apply to schools with open seats during Round 2 of admissions. Applications are due March 18.

Get to the Round 2 fairs scheduled for next weekend, March 12 and 13, 11 am–2 pm at the Martin Luther King Jr. Educational Campus. Try to arrive early so you have plenty of time to meet with representatives from each school on your list.

Eighth-graders who are unhappy with their high school match may reapply during Round 2, but be aware that if you are accepted to another school you give up your first round match. Current 9th-graders who are offered a 10th-grade seat during Round 2 will have the option of remaining at their current school.

Where to start? Hundreds of schools have openings, but not all are worth considering. As you go through the Round 2 list, focus on the same factors that mattered to you when you applied last fall: How long is the commute? Do I prefer big or small? Are there any special programs or activities that I may enjoy? Will I be challenged?

Still not sure which schools you should consider? Let us help. We've combed through the list to identify our picks—schools that are proven best bets or seem promising. 

Deep breath, the wait is almost over. High school decision letters will be distributed in middle schools starting this Friday, March 4 according to the Department of Education.

“I cannot sleep, eat, or think,” wrote one anxious student who is hoping to get into Bard High School Manhattan or Queens.

Details about this year’s main round decisions have yet to be released, but if last year’s results prove to be a trend, then the majority of students will be admitted to one of their top three choices and at least 90 percent of students will be matched with a school during this round. Students who took the SHSAT (Specialized High School Admissions Test) or auditioned for LaGuardia will also find out if they got into a specialized school.

Wednesday, 17 February 2016 13:32

Apply now for new middle school programs

Fifth-graders unhappy with their middle school choices now have a few more options. The Department of Education announced several new middle school programs slated to open in September 2016.

Most of the options are not new schools, but rather new dual language programs opening in established middle schools. The one exception is the new Dock Street School for S.T.E.A.M. Studies in DUMBO, Brooklyn.

Applying to a new school will not override students' choices entered on the middle school applications they submitted last December. According to the DOE’s website, “students who receive a match from their new schools application will be able to choose between their new schools and main round matches in the spring.”

Students eligible to attend a new middle school program can request an application from their elementary school guidance counselor. Non-public school students can pick up an application at a Family Welcome Center. Applications are due by March 1.

With high school admissions season nearing the halfway mark, now’s a great time for 8th and 9th grade families to take stock of what still needs to get done. Hopefully by now you have gotten organized and signed up for school tours and open houses. Make sure to get to the borough high school fairs this Saturday and Sunday, Oct. 17 and 18th from 11 am to 3 pm. It's a great opportunity to ask questions, meet with staff from schools you haven't already seen and to find out about any upcoming school tours that may not be posted on school websites.  Keep an open mind as you decide which schools to list on the application.

Here are some tips to help you stay on track for the Dec. 1 application deadline.

Check your application form: High school applications were distributed to 8th-graders last week. Each student gets a personalized application listing key information such as 7th grade state ELA and math test scores, final grades in core subjects and their zoned school, if they have one. Read  the application carefully and tell your guidance counselor if any information is incorrect.

Specialized high schools: Thursday, Oct. 15 is the deadline for students to register with their middle school guidance counselor to take the Specialized High School Admissions Test (SHSAT) or audition for LaGuardia High School. Admissions tickets will be distributed on Oct. 21. You need a ticket to take the exam or audition.

Monday, 21 September 2015 15:19

High school admissions: Time to get organized!

The first few months of 8th grade are very hectic, and it’s easy to lose track of all you have to do. If you're not already in the throes of a high school search now’s the time to get focused—and organized. Here’s our advice for managing your high school search.

Research and compile a list of high schools that may be a good fit. Check out our written and video guides on applying to high school. Use our Find a NYC Public School to search among the city’s 400+ high schools for ones that may be good fits for you. Read our high school profiles. Each one includes a written review, school contact information, reader comments, details on sports, activities and admissions policies, and InsideStats—a compilation of useful data we provide for every school in the city.

Mind your calendar. We recommend setting up your own high school admissions calendar. Start by entering key dates such as the citywide and borough fairs, SHSAT (Specialized High School Admissions Test) and the December 1 high school application deadline. In addition, as soon as you sign up for an open house, tour, interview, audition or exam, put the date and time on your calendar. If a school requires applicants to submit a portfolio or project, jot down the due dates for handing them in. Does your 8th-grader have any upcoming projects or activities at her school? Note those too. You don’t want your child to miss out on an important middle school event or end up touring a high school the day of a big exam or presentation in class.

Algebra is a gateway course—the foundation for higher-level math and a critical hurdle that New York students must clear in order to graduate. Eighth- and 9th-graders who do well in it are steered to more advanced courses that prepare them for college and good jobs. Yet in New York City, nearly half of all students fail the Algebra Regents exam on the first try, and thousands end up re-taking the exam multiple times, caught in what educators call the "algebra whirlpool."

A new policy brief, the third in a series on math and science education by Insideschools and the Center for New York City Affairs, examines factors that fuel the algebra whirlpool. It also highlights what some schools are doing to help struggling students who lack the mathematics foundation to master algebra by 9th grade pass the course and move on to higher-level math.

Reporters from Insideschools visited more than 100 middle and high schools and found that with the rollout of the Common Core standards, many educators have been thinking about new ways to teach algebra and to structure class time so students fully understand the material. We also found that there is heightened attention in school to getting algebra instruction right, given the importance that higher–level math plays in college readiness and careers.

The New York City Department of Education (DOE) just wrapped up their summer-time series of high school admissions workshops, including several that focused on the city's nine specialized high schools. Bronx Science, Brooklyn Latin, Brooklyn Tech, High School for American Studies, High School for Math, Science and Engineering, LaGuardia, Queens High School for the Sciences, Staten Island Tech, and Stuyvesant. Didn’t make it to a workshop? Don’t worry. You can find a recap of the July high school information sessions here, and there will be plenty of opportunities to learn about the specialized high schools in the fall at open houses and at the city- and borough-wide high school fairs

Meanwhile here's a heads-up on what you can be doing this summer to prepare.

If you’re interested in attending one of the eight, test-in specialized high schools, you'll need to take the SHSAT (Specialized High School Admissions Test). You’ll also need to study for the SHSAT and if you haven’t done so already, summer is a great time to prep for the exam.

LaGuardia is the only specialized high school that does not require students to take the SHSAT. Instead, students are admitted based on an audition (and portfolio if applying to the art studio) as well as their middle school grades, state test scores and attendance records. Just like taking the SHSAT, students need to prepare for auditions. You can learn more about LaGuardia's audition process on the school's website. This year for the first time a dozen arts schools, including LaGuardia, have common audition components, so you don't have to prepare different auditions for each school. Check page 15 of the high school directory for the participating schools.

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