Large high schools with enrollment of at least 1000 continue to be in demand as they comprise more than half of this year’s list of the 20 high schools with the most number of applications, according to Department of Education (DOE) data provided to InsideSchools. The list does not include the specialized high schools, which students apply to separately.

This year Midwood High School took the top spot with 9913 applicants edging out Francis Lewis, which topped the list for several years. Both schools are massive—each serving over 4000 students. Townsend Harris, a selective program that only admits students with top grades came in third with 8123 applicants (up from 7410 in 2019). Forest Hills and Bayside round out the top five.

Small, highly selective schools such as the Millenniums (Brooklyn and Manhattan), Central Park East and Manhattan/Hunter Science continue to draw thousands of applications for a relatively few number of seats. As has been the case for many years, students from across the city continue to apply to Baruch and Eleanor Roosevelt even though these schools rarely admit students from outside District 2 in Manhattan.

Maspeth High School, which serves roughly 1200 students mainly from District 24 in Queens, is the only unscreened school on the list. It admits students via lottery. All other schools in the top 20, including the large neighborhood ones, have some screened programs that admit students based on a review of their academic records, auditions or both.

Thomas A. Edison is the only CTE (Career and Technical Education) school to make the list, in part because it’s large and therefore draws more applications. But also, unlike small CTE schools (we like plenty of those too) Thomas A. Edison is a popular choice because students enjoy a more well-rounded high school experience that includes a large selection of activities and sports teams.

How students rank their choices

This is the second year that the DOE shared how many students ranked these schools among their top three choices in addition to how many offers were extended by each of the 20 schools.

Take Beacon, which is open to students citywide and had 6901 applicants, more than half of whom (57%) ranked the school among their top three choices on the high school application. To fill around 360 seats (including seats for students with disabilities), Beacon accepted 605 students to accommodate the likelihood that half of them would choose another option, such as a seat at a specialized, religious or private high school.

Check out our visual snapshot of the rate of offers to overall applications for these high demand schools.

And here’s a full rundown of the numbers from the DOE.

Viz credit: Nicole Mader