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A Guide to Various Public High School Admissions Processes

November 19, 2022 Sereia Sarumida

8th graders across the city will be applying to some of the city’s 700+ public high school programs by the December 1st application deadline this year. But with all the different types of high schools using various admissions methods, it can be overwhelming to keep track of all the requirements and deadlines. Here’s an overview of the different application processes for public high schools this year:

Specialized (excluding LaGuardia High School)

Deadline to apply: December 1st, 2022

Admissions Criteria : SHSAT Exam Score

Dates of SHSAT Exam 2022: 

  • November 17th, 2022 (public school students) 

  • November 19th, 2022 (private school students)

Registration for the SHSAT for this year has already closed.

There are eight specialized public high schools in NYC that admit students solely based on their SHSAT Exam score. Students rank the schools according to their preferences, and each student, ordered in high to low scores, will. Be given an offer from their first choice school until seats at the school fill up, at which point admissions officers will place a student in their second choice school, etc. 

LaGuardia High School and ALL Other Schools Offering Audition Programs

Deadline to apply: December 1st, 2022

Admissions Criteria: Audition

Deadline to Submit Audition Materials: December 9th, 2022

All schools offering audition programs this year are offering virtual auditions, with some schools also offering the alternative option of an in-person audition. Virtual auditions may be submitted through the “Additional Materials” section of a student’s MySchools account. All schools are using the same audition components this, which means that, for example, a student only needs to submit one dance audition to apply to multiple public audition schools. 

LaGuardia High School is NYC’s only specialized high school not to use the SHSAT Exam to admit students. Instead, students can apply to any number of LaGuardia’s six programs - Dance, Vocal Music, Instrumental Music, Visual Arts, Drama, and Theater Technology - using the aforementioned audition process. If students apply to multiple programs within LaGuardia, they may be given offers from more than one program.   

Schools using an Open Admissions Process

Deadline to apply: December 1st, 2022

Admissions Criteria: None

Schools with an Open Admissions Method do not see students’ academic records, and students can apply simply by listing the school on their high school application. Offers are given out based on a lottery system, where each student is assigned a random number, and these numbers are used to admit students if there are more applicants than available seats. 

Schools using a Screened Admissions Process

Deadline to apply: December 1st, 2022

Admissions Criteria: Seventh Grade averages (and additional assessments)

Screened programs admit the top-performing students from every middle school and citywide. Students are placed into groups based on the average of their seventh grade course grades in the subjects ELA, Math, Science, and Social Studies. See the DOE’s Selected Criteria for Screened Auditions page to know the minimum average grades needed to fall into each group, as well as some additional conditions to be placed in each group. Please note, some screened schools require students to complete an additional assessment, for example an essay. For a list of schools requiring assessments, check the DOE’s Assessments for Screened Schools page. 

Schools using an Ed. Opt. Admissions Process 

Deadline to apply: December 1st, 2022

Admissions Criteria: Seventh Grade Course Grades

Educational Option (Ed. Opt.) programs admit students of all academic levels. In this admissions process, students are placed into three equal sized groups “low”, “middle”, and “high”, based on the average of their seventh grade course grades in the subjects ELA, Math, Science, and Social Studies. Each group will then be given priority to ⅓ of the available seats. For information on the grade average ranges for each category, check the Educational Option Webpage on the DOE website. 

A Note on Schools Using Priority Groups

Some schools  use priority groups in their admissions process, generally based on factors such as the location where a student lives. This means that all offers will be given out to the first priority group before any student in the second priority group, etc. Students can check whether or not a program uses priority groups on its MySchools page. Programs that do not use priority groups will only list one one priority group as “1. Priority to all New York City residents.

Additional School-Specific Information

These are all the general admissions processes used in the NYC public school system. To check the specific admissions process and requirements for any high school, be sure to check the school’s MySchools page! 

Sereia Sarumida is a Junior at LaGuardia High School. She enjoys playing piano, traveling, and going to classical concerts. 

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