Research and compile a list of high schools that may be a good fit. Start by reading up on how to apply to and explore your options for high school. Watch our video guides. Use our High School Guided Search to find options that appeal to you among the city’s 400+ high schools. Make sure to read our school profiles. Each one includes a written review, school contact information, reader comments, details on sports, activities and admissions policies, and a compilation of useful data about the school’s performance and environment.

Mind your calendar. We recommend setting up your own high school admissions calendar. Start by entering key dates such as the high school fairs, SHSAT (Specialized High School Admissions Test) and the high school application deadline. In addition, as soon as you sign up for an open house or tour (in-person or online), 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 child 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.

Sign up for tours and open houses. Schools will list their open houses and tours on their independent websites. If the school does not have a website call the school directly to request more information. You can find a school’s contact information, including a link to its independent website, in the "Contact & Location" section of its InsideSchools profile. If you see that all the tours and open houses are full, keep checking back or call the parent coordinator. Sometimes schools add more tours and open houses in response to high demand. Also make sure to browse schools' websites for prerecorded virtual tours and open houses.

Keep track of admissions criteria. You have a lot to remember, so write it all down. Some schools require an interview, an essay, exam, audition or the submission of school work. Confirm each school's admissions requirements by checking its website, and if you can't find it posted there, contact the school's parent coordinator. Once you have your admissions list set up, keep it handy and check off the requirements as you fulfill them.

Gather your child’s best work from 7th and early 8th grade Some schools ask to look at samples of student work that were graded by their teacher. Our advice: Save files of any digital work your child produced and search through closets, drawers and old backpacks to find any paper-based work your child completed in 7th grade. Also ask your child to give you all completed 8th grade assignments as soon as the teacher hands them back (paper or digital versions).