This weekend, Sept. 20 and 21, is the Department of Education'sgigantic citywide high school fair from 10 am to 3 pm at Brooklyn Technical High School. Prepare for a hectic day, where you will meet teachers, students and administrators and find out about their schools.

You can attend information sessions several times during the day, led by staff from the Education Department's enrollment office. This will be helpful especially if you're a newbie to the process (and it will give you a place to sit down and take a breather.)

Here's the schedule provided by the DOE:

High school admissions basics at 10:30 am and 12:30 pm 

Auditioning for arts schools and programs at 2 pm 

Most schools will have a table staffed by students, teachers, parent cordinators, guidance counselors and, sometimes the principal. Each borough has a dedicated space between the 2nd and 7th floors. The nine specialized high schools are set up in the first floor gymnasium. That's always very crowded so be prepared!

Before you go, make sure to make a list of your "must see" schools. Read the reviews on Insideschools and watch the slideshows and videos. Look at our "Insidestats" section. It'll give you a thumbnail description on a school's safety and vibe, how well it prepares kids for college, the graduation rate and much more. Read the comments on each school profile page to see what parents and students think about the school. Lots of questions are answered there by current students.

We have a new high school search feature which allows you to search for schools by subway lines, interest areas or even grade point average.

If you prefer to do your research on the go, check out Insideschools' mobile high school search on your phone.

Here are some questions you might want to ask school representatives:

Academic questions :

How much homework is typical? Is homework assigned over school vacations?

Are students allowed outside the building for lunch?

Does the school offer four years of math and four years of science? (Important for college prep)

Are Advanced Placement classes offered? What subjects? What are the requirement to take an AP class?

Besides passing required Regents exams, are there are requirements for graduation? Some schools require you to present a portfolio of your work, or perform community service.

If the school has a graduating class, which colleges did graduates attend? What percentage of grads went to college? (Check out our Insidestats for that info as well)

How does the school help students who are struggling?

How does it challenge the strongest students?

Lifestyle questions :

How does the administration handle discipline?

Are there metal detectors?

Is there a uniform?

What are the after school activities? What teams do they have? (Note that this can change from year to year and the directory might not be accurate!)

Are students allowed outside the building for lunch?

Admissions questions :

What are my chances for admission if I don't meet the specific requirements? Say if I live in Brooklyn and the school gives priority to Manhattan students? Should I apply to the school anyway?

For screened schools, now that schools can no longer admit students based on state test scores alone, what will they consider?

What are my chances for acceptance as a 10th grader?

What specific programs are available if I have an IEP?

Here are a few more pointers for the day of the fair :

Rather than carry around a hefty, heavy directory, consider ripping out the pages of schools that most interest you beforehand.

Bring a notebook and pen to write down your impressions and take notes

Collect fliers, or write down, the dates and times of school info sessions and tours - bring a tote bag or backpack to hold them. Also note that the DOE events calendar does list some school info sessions here.

If there's a sign-in sheet for a school that interests you -- sign in! That gives you a leg-up in admissions for some schools. The DOE says to sign up with your student ID number too.

Dress for summer. It gets hot and steamy inside the huge building and there is no place to stash a jacket.

Cell phones may not work so make any logistics arrangements to meet family or friends beforehand.

Wear comfortable shoes and bring water. You'll be climbing up and down stairs. There will be food and drink for sale, but still, nice to have your own supply.

Don't drive! Brooklyn Tech is close to virtually all subway lines and many bus routes. Traffic in the surrounding residential streets can be horrendous, so do yourself a favor and take public transportation.

Insideschools will be at the fair. Stop by our first floor table too and sign up for our regular email alerts.

Before you go, be sure to watch our video: Making the most of the high school fair.  We have lots of other videos as well so check out our YouTube channel.

If you don't make the big fair this weekend, there will be fairs in every borough on Oct. 18 and 19.

Insideschools is hosting our own High school choice: Busting the myths event on Sept. 23.  If you haven't RSVP'ed already, you can watch it via livestream.