The most popular schools in New York City are becoming even more popular, and that helps explain why fewer 8th-graders are getting their first choice. This year, 76,712 eighth-graders filled out high school applications and 44 percent were matched to their first choice, compared to 46 percent the previous year. This percentage has been dropping since 2010, when 52 percent got into their first-choice school.
According to data released by the Department of Education (DOE), large high schools in Queens and Brooklyn and highly selective schools in Manhattan once again are the most popular. (This list does not include the specialized high schools, which students apply to separately. The numbers of 8th-graders taking the specialized high school admissions test is increasing as well, from 27,900 last year to 28,300 this year.)
For the third year in a row, Francis Lewis High School in Queens took the number one spot. Some 10,403 students applied to this huge neighborhood school, compared to 9,890 the year before. The other schools rounding out the top six are also the same as last year. Brooklyn’s Midwood High School, which has a very selective medical science and humanities programs, came in second, with 9,927 applications compared to 9,717 the year before. Forest Hills, Bayside and Benjamin N. Cardozo, three large neighborhood high schools in Queens, were third, fourth and fifth. Edward R. Murrow, a large Brooklyn school that caters to a wide range of students, was in sixth place, with 7,447 applicants.
The Manhattan schools appearing in the top 20—including Beacon, New Explorations into Science, Technology and Math, Eleanor Roosevelt and Manhattan Village Academy—are also consistent with past years. The DOE numbers don’t tell us, however, how many of the total number of applicants to such screened schools and programs met the minimum requirements for admission, and how many of those applicants actually followed through with submitting a portfolio and/or sitting for an interview.
Overall, the DOE’s total applicant numbers for the top 20 schools don’t indicate how high a student ranked a particular school on their application. We would caution against looking at these numbers as a reflection of any student’s odds of getting into one of these schools. More saliently, the top 20 list illustrates that there is tremendous demand for these high-performing, highly regarded schools, but a dearth of opportunity for many students in New York City to attend them.
Read the full top 20 list here.