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Bard High School Early College

Staff Pick
525 East Houston Street
Manhattan NY 10002
Phone: 212-995-8479

Our Insights

What’s Special

High school and two years of college in four years

The Downside

Extremely fast-paced academics are not for everyone

Bard High School Early College (BHSEC) offers small class sizes, excellent teaching, and the promise of two years of college credit for free. The demanding, fast-paced curriculum has attracted some of the city's best students. Students complete their high school requirements in two years and then embark on college work. After four years, they receive both a Regents diploma and an associate's degree.

Most of the teachers have PhDs, and classes are organized as college seminars, with lots of opportunities for give-and-take between the teachers and students. Faculty members are both experts in their field and passionate about sharing their knowledge with their students. Students, too, are passionate about their studies, and may be heard talking about Kant or Machiavelli on the M14 bus that runs near the school (the nearest subway is a 20-minute walk).

Bard College contributes to the high school’s budget, enabling it to offer a wider array of courses than other public high schools its size. Course titles include The Novels of Dostoevsky, Forced Migration in Contemporary Africa, The History of American Education, Engineering, Urban Ecology, Computer Science, and Medicinal Chemistry. Once in the college program, students have the option of creating their own independent study and selecting a faculty advisor. Class size is typically about 20 students. Far more writing is expected of BHSEC students than of typical high schoolers. Students can expect three hours of homework, and some say they regularly work for four or five hours daily.

“The standards for work are really, really high,” a mother of one student told InsideSchools. “There is no way to fake it through this school.”

Faculty members are more than willing to provide students extra help individually or in small groups. In the library, there is a writing center and math center that students can take advantage of as often as they’d like. Still, the fast pace and high expectations are unmanageable for some students.

BHSEC is housed in a pleasant red brick building constructed as an elementary school in 1915. It has high ceilings, huge windows with views of the East River, and sunny, basic classrooms equipped with wood-trimmed blackboards and oak cabinets. School begins at the civilized hour of 9 a.m. Students come from all five boroughs. There is a nice mix of kids from different races and income levels. About two-thirds of the students are girls.

There is no formal gymnasium but the school uses a turf field next to the building or nearby East River Park. Indoor gym classes take place in a multipurpose room or the converted auditorium. Teams include basketball, tennis, cross country, track and field, soccer and volleyball. Students may also participate in ultimate frisbee, the literary magazine, the philosophy club, STEP team and more.

SPECIAL EDUCATION: About 5 percent of students receive special education services. The school added team-teaching classes in the 9th grade for the first time in 2016 and is working to expand the special education services offered in the upper grades, according to the yearly plan.

COLLEGE ADMISSIONS: BHSEC’s college office gives far more individual attention than is typical in larger New York City public schools. Each student is guided by both the head of the College Transfer Office (CTO), Beth Cheikes, and a CTO advisor who serves only about 20 students. "We have the time to write really good letters," said Cheikes. Students enroll in a CTO advising course, and they can consult the writing center for help with supplements and college essays. In the past, students have been admitted to a range of schools including Stanford, Yale, Wesleyan, Swarthmore, Binghamton, Middlebury, Haverford, Brown and Reed College. Students have also been selected as Posse Scholars. CUNY and SUNY accept the full two years of college credit, allowing students to enter as juniors. Some private colleges (including Bard College) accept the full two years; others accept less than one semester.  

ADMISSIONS: Students who have between an 88 and 100 percent average may take BHSEC’s entrance exam, which includes math and writing sections. Based on their performance on this exam, students are called for interviews. Past attendance records are also considered. Most recently, there were 35 applicants per seat. (Clara Hemphill, May 2011; updated by Katharine Safter, June 2018. Note: Safter graduated from the school in 2015)

Read more

School Stats

Citywide Average Key
This school is Better Near Worse than the citywide average

Is this school safe and well-run?

From 2018-19 NYC School Survey

How many teachers say order and discipline are maintained at this school?
75% Citywide Average
How many students say they feel safe in the hallways, bathrooms and locker rooms?
86% Citywide Average
How many students think bullying happens most or all of the time at this school?
37% Citywide Average
How many teachers say the principal is an effective manager?
79% Citywide Average
How many teachers say they would recommend this school to other families?
80% Citywide Average

From 2017-18 NY State Report Card

How many students were suspended?
2% Citywide Average

From this school's most recent Quality Review Report

Are teachers effective?

From 2018-19 School Quality Guide

How many teachers have 3 or more years of experience teaching?
76% Citywide Average
Years of principal experience at this school

How do students perform academically?

From 2018-19 School Quality Guide

How many students graduate in 4 years?
82% Citywide Average
How many students graduate with test scores high enough to enroll at CUNY without remedial help?
48% Citywide Average
How many students take a college-level course or earn a professional certificate?
41% Citywide Average
How many graduates stay enrolled in college for at least 3 semesters?
67% Citywide Average

Who does this school serve?

From 2019-20 Demographic Snapshot

Free or reduced priced lunch
Students with disabilities
English language learners

From 2018-19 School Quality Guide

Average daily attendance
87% Citywide Average
How many students miss 18 or more days of school?
38% Citywide Average

For more information about our data sources, see About Our Data · More DOE statistics for this school

Programs & Admissions

From the 2021 High School Directory

Early College
Admissions Method: Screened
Program Description:

Comprehensive liberal arts early college program. Students earn a high school diploma and a tuition-free Associate Degree from Bard College.


Language Courses

Greek, Japanese, Latin, Mandarin, Spanish


Boys PSAL teams

Basketball, Soccer, Tennis

Girls PSAL teams

Basketball, Cross Country, Outdoor Track, Soccer, Tennis, Volleyball

Read about admissions, academics, and more at this school on NYCDOE’s MySchools
NYC Department of Education: MySchools

Contact & Location


Lower East Side (District 1)
Trains: N/A
Buses: M14A, M14D, M21, M22, M8, M9, X37, X38


Michael Lerner
Parent Coordinator
Carol Ca Turitz

Other Details

Shared campus?
This school is in its own building.
Metal detectors?

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