High Schools

Your Options

Consortium (portfolio) schools

More than 30 New York City schools belong to the New York Performance Standards Consortium network. Consortium schools adhere to the philosophy of Theodore Sizer, an educator who believed that small schools that concentrate on teaching a few subjects well are more effective than large schools that teach many subjects. Consortium schools have an exemption from New York State from administering most Regents exams. Instead students demonstrate mastery of their coursework through a portfolio of oral and written presentations known as performance based assessment tasks, or PBATs. English is the only Regents exam that students are required to take.

Career and technical education (CTE)

CTE schools combine traditional high school coursework with professional training in a trade. Unlike the old-fashioned vocational schools that often provided bare minimum academics, CTE schools aim to have students graduate college- and job-ready. Students may take a full load of college preparatory courses while earning professional certifications. Some large CTE schools, like Thomas A. Edison High School, offer multiple programs such as pharmaceuticals, automotive and commercial design. Others, like Williamsburg High School for Architecture and Design, Academy for Software Engineering and Academy for Careers in Television and Film, are small and focus exclusively on one industry.

Check out our brief video overview on CTE Schools

Early College schools

Early College schools combine a high school curriculum with the opportunity to earn up to two years of college credit free of charge at a partner campus of The City University of New York (CUNY). Overseen by the The Early College Initiative (ECI) at CUNY, Early College schools may vary in theme and length of commitment. Most, such as the Bard Early Colleges in Manhattan and Queens, serve grades 9-12. Others such as P-Tech and B-Tech run six years (grades 9-14) with students taking most or all of their classes at a CUNY college during the final two years of school.

International Baccalaureate (IB)

A small but growing number of schools offer the International Baccalaureate, a degree accepted at universities in more than 100 countries. The IB curriculum is highly demanding and many upper grade courses are college level and even more rigorous than Advanced Placement courses. Among the IB schools are the Baccalaureate School of Global Education, the first in the city to offer an IB diploma and Brooklyn Latin, a specialized high school.

Specialized high schools

There are nine specialized high schools that do not participate in the regular high school application process. Eight of these schools require students to take the Specialized High School Admissions Test (SHSAT). The ninth specialized high school is LaGuardia High School for Music and Art and Performing Arts, which admits students based on an audition and middle school record. The schools that require the SHSAT are:
High School for Math Science and Engineering at City College
Bronx Science
Brooklyn Tech
Brooklyn Latin
High School of American Studies at Lehman College
Queens High School of Science at York College
Staten Island Technical School
Watch our video on the specialized high schools.

Arts and audition schools

There are many arts-themed schools and programs in the city and some require students to audition in order be considered for admission. Some of the most selective audition arts schools such as LaGuardia High School of Music and Art and Performing Arts (a specialized high school) and Frank Sinatra School of the Arts consider students’ grades and state test scores as well as auditions. Others, such as the performing arts programs at Forest Hills and Susan E. Wagner high schools, require auditions, but don’t consider grades or scores. For all schools, it’s important to prepare for your audition. Here's our video on auditions.

Transfer schools

Transfer schools are designed to help students who have struggled in traditional schools and may be over-age for their grade and behind in credits. To learn more, read How to Transfer.

For more information on high school admissions read our How to Apply guide.