Top-performing students go to selective colleges
Very popular, many applicants
University Heights Secondary School, in the South Bronx, has the best of both worlds: It offers the comfort of a small school and the variety of academic options usually found at a large school. Students have a dizzying range of choices both during and after school: High achievers can earn as many as 18 college credits and have off-campus internships; students can grow vegetables in the school farm, join the robotics team or play in the school salsa band after school.
Students can apply to up to two screened programs, STEM and Humanities, and high achievers can test into an honors track starting in 10th grade. Top graduates have been admitted to highly selective colleges such as New York University, University of Wisconsin, Spelman, Bard, Vassar, Trinity, Sarah Lawrence, Brown and Columbia.
The school is warm and collegial. Students call teachers by their first names, but teachers expect a certain level of academic maturity. For example, 10th-graders are instructed to use MLA style to format research logs for big projects in science class.
University Heights belongs to a consortium of 30 schools whose students are exempt from taking most state Regents exams. Instead, they present portfolios of their work. Everyone must also log community service hours and complete at least one college course to graduate. Seven college courses are offered at the school, taught by professors from Bronx Community College; topics include business, psychology, painting and sociology.
The school is particularly strong in science and math, offering many advanced courses to challenge students at every level, including AP Calculus, Statistics, AP biology, AP Physics and AP Science and Genetics. In a popular 9th grade course, teens face engineering design challenges such as making battery-operated cars, trebuchets, bridges and other machines. Principal Hazel Joseph Roseboro says that both male and female students have gone on to study engineering in college, for example, at Purdue and Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute.
Roseboro has been at University Heights for decades, first as a student, then as a teacher and administrator. “I tell my students, ‘If I can do it, you can do it,’” she says. Staff members are happy and tend to stay for years. Every Friday, the entire staff gets together before the first bell for a school-sponsored breakfast, a tradition as old as the school.
University Heights offers a long list of electives including theater, creative writing, band, robotics, genetics and neuroscience to name a few. The many extracurriculars include Bronx Lacrosse, DreamYard Dance and Theater, gaming, mock trial, cooking, web design, yoga and more.
In 2010, University Heights lost its space on the Bronx Community College campus and moved into its current home, a former elementary school building shared with Mott Haven Village Preparatory School. The space is old and the hallways are narrow, but the school is tidy. Some classes are large.
Technology is updated, accessible to all and used in many ways from digital portfolios to instruction. Every classroom has its own laptop cart, students have access to a computer lab and a library with a media center.
The school's athletic facilities were recently renovated. The many sports teams are shared with Mott Haven Village Prep, as is a LYFE center, which offers free childcare to young mothers at both schools. A psychologist, nurse and doctor are on-site five days a week in the Montefiore operated school-based clinic available to all students free of charge.
Students can earn up to 18 college credits in partnership with CUNY. The high school produces five to ten POSSE scholarship recipients per year, as well as Gates Millennium scholarship winners, whose education is fully funded through graduate school.
ADMISSIONS: University Heights looks at grades and attendance records. It requires a writing sample and group interview. Roseboro says good character sometimes trumps good grades. (Lydie Raschka, phone interview, January 2018; updated August 2020)
Safety & Vibe
Faculty & Staff
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
Our Humanities program takes an interdisciplinary approach to the studies of literature, the arts and social sciences. Students are exposed to common threads found in different cultures and human history. They will develop critical thinking skills, communicate efficiency and make cross curricular connections. Their academic experience will foster curiosity and gain a deeper understanding of themselves and their relation to the world.
STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics)
Our STEM program is based on preparing students for college and careers in the fields of science, technology, engineering and math. We provide rigorous and hands-on courses in science, technology and math, including robotics, media, history of engineering and inquiry, technology, calculus, computer science, statistics, and more. Qualified students can do an executive apprenticeship in the STEM fields (including medicine and/or science research).
OfferingsFrom the 2021 High School Directory
Advanced Placement (AP) courses
AP English Language and Composition, AP English Literature and Composition, AP Calculus AB, AP Biology, AP Computer Science Principles, AP Computer Science A
Boys PSAL teams
Baseball, Basketball, Bowling, Cross Country, Indoor Track, Outdoor Track, Rugby, Soccer, Tennis, Volleyball
Girls PSAL teams
Badminton, Basketball, Flag Football, Soccer, Softball, Volleyball
Coed PSAL teams
Contact & Location
701 St. Anns Avenue
Bronx NY 10455
Trains: , to Jackson Ave
Buses: Bx13, Bx15, Bx17, Bx19, Bx2, Bx21, Bx4, Bx41, Bx41-SBS, Bx46, Bx4A, Bx6, Bx6-SBS
This school shares the South Bronx Educational Campus with one other school