Strong academics with a new approach to college prep
Manhattan/Hunter Science High School has become one of the most sought-after schools in the city, with strong teaching, demanding academics and an innovative approach to preparing students for college. Students are prepared not only for college-level academics, but also for the freedom and responsibility of college life.
Students come from all five boroughs and represent the city’s racial and ethnic diversity. No one group predominates. Many qualify for free or reduced lunch and there’s a higher proportion of students with disabilities than at most other selective schools.
“You have kids whose parents are doctors and lawyers and you have kids whose parents are new immigrants driving taxicabs,” said Hazel Branch, the school social worker.
Students spend their first three years in classes on the top floor the Martin Luther King (MLK) Educational Complex. Seniors spend their entire fourth year of high school on the Hunter College campus on the Upper East Side, taking a mix of high school and college-level courses. When the students graduate from high school, they may attend Hunter College full-time--for free.
While lots of New York City high schools offer students the chance to take college courses, what makes Manhattan/Hunter different is the level of support the students receive. Their high school English and social studies teachers travel with them to the college and offer regular classes there. While the students take college courses in math and science, the high school English and social studies teachers offer hand-holding and advice for all the subjects. This mix of high school and college courses serves as a transition year and increases the chances that students are successful once they begin college full-time.
Manhattan/Hunter shares the MLK Educational Complex with five other schools. The building is oddly constructed: corridors on the exterior of the building have windows with stunning views of the skyline, but the classrooms on the building interior have no windows. Still the physical plant has improved significantly in recent years. A sunny new library on the ground floor, shared by all the schools in the building, is noteworthy for its large windows, and the corridors have a spiffy paint job.
The building has metal detectors, and kids grumble that they have to leave their cellphones in plastic pouches, collected by school staff and returned to them at the end of the day. But at least the security guards seem friendly and there aren’t long lines, as there are at many schools with metal detectors.
Class size is about 27, considerably smaller than typical New York City high schools. Students wear Manhattan/Hunter t-shirts and black trousers or skirts. The schools in the building share facilities such as the gym and as well as campus-wide sports teams. (Boys and girls soccer teams are particularly strong.)
Many graduates take advantage of free tuition at Hunter College, but the college counselor also encourages students to consider other colleges and universities. Graduates have been admitted to extremely selective schools such as Massachusetts Institute of Technology and Sophie Davis Biomedical Education program at CUNY School of Medicine, both extremely selective schools.
SPECIAL EDUCATION: On our visit, we were impressed by teachers’ flexibility in accommodating special needs. For example, a student with autism was allowed to listen to music with headphones because that helped him concentrate. Other students received one-on-one help writing their essays. The school offers ICT (integrated collaborative teaching) classes, with two teachers in a class, one of whom is certified in special education as well as the subject area, such as math or English.
ADMISSIONS: The school no longer offers tours, but it has produced an excellent video describing its program.
In addition to the regular citywide high school application, students must submit an essay. Most successful candidates score Level 3 or 4 on standardized tests and above 85 in their core academic subjects. The school gets over 6,000 applicants for 108 seats. There are occasionally seats available for students who move to New York City over the summer after the ordinary high school application season is over. (Clara Hemphill, May 2018)
Safety & Vibe
Faculty & Staff
Computer ScienceNot offered in 2019-20
Advanced Foreign LanguageNot offered in 2019-20
AP/IB Arts, English, History or Social Science
AP/IB Math or Science
Programs & AdmissionsFrom the 2021 High School Directory
Manhattan/Hunter Science High School
Early College program in which students complete college coursework at Hunter College prior to graduation. Students spend 12th grade on the Hunter campus. Strong accelerated academic programs, four years of rigorous math and science credit. Ability to earn additional college credits while at the high school.
OfferingsFrom the 2021 High School Directory
Advanced Placement (AP) courses
AP English Literature and Composition, AP English Language and Composition, AP United States History, AP Biology, AP World History: Modern
Boys PSAL teams
Badminton, Baseball, Basketball, Bowling, Cross Country, Handball, Outdoor Track, Soccer, Volleyball, Wrestling
Girls PSAL teams
Badminton, Basketball, Bowling, Flag Football, Handball, Indoor Track, Soccer, Softball, Volleyball, Wrestling
Coed PSAL teams
Contact & Location
122 Amsterdam Avenue
Manhattan NY 10023
Trains: to 66th St-Lincoln Center; , to 72nd St; , , , to 59th St-Columbus Circle
Buses: BxM2, M10, M104, M11, M12, M20, M31, M5, M57, M66, M7, M72, X12, X14, X30, X42
This school shares the Martin Luther King, Jr. Educational Campus with four other schools
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Manhattan, NY 10023
Manhattan, NY 10023