MARCH 2015: High school acceptance letters went out last week and the good news is that 92 percent of 8th graders who applied got one of their choices. Of those, 76 percent got one of their top three picks. The bad news? Once again, thousands of kids were disappointed: eight percent of the more than 75,000 applicants didn't get accepted anywhere. That is still better than last year, when 10 percent of applicants received no match.
If you were one of the 5,800 8th graders who wasn't matched to a high school (or if you're unhappy with your match) it's time to look at the list of the schools that still have space (pdf). There is a wide range of large and small schools with available seats, including several good arts programs, but for the first time in more than a decade there are no new schools opening.
Most of the top performing selective schools have a handful of seats only for students with special needs. This year those seats are reserved for students who receive "special education services for more than 20 percent of the instructional school day," according to the Department of Education. If you don't know whether you qualify, ask your guidance counselor to check in the online student enrollment system (SEMS).
School representatives will be at the second-round high school fair from 11 am to 2 pm on March 14 and 15 at the Martin Luther King Educational Campus at 66th and Amsterdam in Manhattan. You can also meet with guidance counselors at the fair to help consider your options.
You must submit a new application—with up to 12 choices—by Friday, March 20 and you'll hear in May where you've been assigned. If you are not matched with a school that you list on your Round 2 application, the DOE will assign you to a school close to where you live. If you were matched to a school in Round 1, submit a new application and then are matched to a different school in Round 2, you forfeit the seat offered to you in Round 1.
All 8th and 9th graders can apply in the second round, even those who didn't apply in the fall. That may be especially relevant to 9th graders who are hoping to transfer to a new school for 10th grade, but missed applying in the fall.
If you still are unhappy with your assignment after the second round, you may file an appeal. Don't despair: there will be some movement over the summer. An appeal probably won't do you any good at the most popular schools (or at the specialized schools), but occasionally a few seats open up at other good schools. Persistence often pays off. (See what we wrote about your chances for an appeal last year. It may not have changed too much.)
Some 75,801 8th graders applied to high school this year and 70,006 got one of their choices, according to the DOE.
In addition, about 27,000 students took the Specialized High School Admissions Test for entrance into one of eight specialized exam schools and 5,103 students were offered seats. That's slightly up from the 5,096 who were offered a slot in 2014. LaGuardia High School of Music and Art and Performing Arts made offers to 1,179 students based on their auditions and academic record. Some of those students got accepted by more than one program; 359 of them also tested into a specialized exam school.
Watch for our list of recommendations for high schools that still have room for rising 9th and 10th graders coming soon.