Now is the time for rising 8th-graders to start focusing on their high school search. The Department of Education is kicking off high school admissions season with a series of information sessions this month in all boroughs.

DOE officials will talk families through the application process and answer questions. There will be one session per evening in the Bronx, Brooklyn and Staten Island and two sessions per evening in Manhattan and Queens, where there are bigger crowds. Make sure to RSVP to ensure a space. Last year some sessions were so crowded that some families were denied access. InsideSchools will be there too, so look for us.

Specialized high school workshops & key dates
The DOE is offering three specialized high school workshops per night, in Queens on Wednesday, July 26 and Manhattan on Thursday, July 27. In a change from previous years, there will be a mini-fair, with representatives from all specialized high schools at those sessions. Remember to RSVP to avoid being shut out.

Check out our SHSAT page for more information about changes in the exam, how to prepare and where you might find some free and low cost exam prep.

Summer test & audition for newcomers
Incoming 9th- and 10th-graders who moved to New York City after Nov. 1, 2016 may sign up for the August SHSAT and audition for LaGuardia High School between July 10 and Aug. 18 at a Family Welcome Center. See more information here.

Start your research now
The first few months of 8th grade can be a hectic time for kids and parents. It’s easy to lose track of all you have to do for high school admissions. Our advice: Don’t wait until September to focus on your high school search. Start by reading and printing out a copy of our Action Plan to help you get and stay on track throughout the application process.

You should already have your copy of the 2018 high school directory—if not you’ll be able to pick one up at the information sessions—but where to start with this 618 page tome? Read the opening pages to get a general overview of the process.

Then, take a look at our handy resources such as our high school guides on how to apply, what to consider and your options.

Check out our new INSIDETOOLS, where you can read up on specific topics such as getting organized for high admissions and how to navigate the high school fair.

Use our Find a New York City Public School to search by location or interest area among the city’s 400+ high schools for ones that may be a good fit for you. Enter your address to find schools close to home or to see if you’ve got a zoned high school. Type in a particular interest, such as animal science, computer technology or television production, for example, and you’ll get a list of schools that offer those subjects.

Looking ahead: High school fairs
Mark your calendar: The gigantic citywide high school fair will be held on Saturday and Sunday, Sept. 16 and 17, from 10 am to 3 pm at Brooklyn Tech. There will be representatives from most city high schools, so plan to attend. To make the most of your day at this crowded event, go with a list of schools you want to meet.

If that event proves overwhelming, consider attending a borough fair, held on Oct. 14 and 15 in all five boroughs.