When I was going into eighth grade, high school admissions immediately entered my mind. I was very nervous about where I would end up going to high school, especially because I had the decision to move to a new state for high school or stay in Colorado. Growing up in suburban Denver, Colorado, my mother received a pharmaceutical job offer to move to New York City, and I wanted to go with her. I applied to Regis High School on the Upper East Side, but unfortunately, was not offered admission. I felt as if this decision was telling me that I was meant to stay in Colorado with my father. I decided to stay originally in November, but after careful consideration, my gut told me I need to actualize a great opportunity to come to NYC. So, in January, my mom contacted Xavier High School on a whim, two months after the regular admissions deadline.
After telling an admissions counselor my situation, he offered me a special accommodation to apply a week before the team was starting to review applications. I immediately applied, and throughout the process, he greatly advised me, relieved any of my concerns, and overall guided me through the process. Without him, my process would have been a great deal more difficult and strenuous. Additionally, my aunt offered me counsel during this time, editing my essays, gathering all my documents and test scores, and making sure I met my deadlines. I cannot emphasize enough how great of a help both of these people were to me. This process is difficult, but with enough assistance, it can become practical and more manageable.
Though my admissions journey was not a typical one for NYC middle schoolers, the lessons I learned from it still apply greatly to anyone applying to high schools. Going to the school directly and asking for help greatly reduced my stress and ability to handle the task of applying. They offered me great guidance on how to navigate the admissions process, and because of this guidance, I was more successful in my application. Furthermore, having someone help me directly with my application proved to be very beneficial. Everyone needs a mentor during the application process, and because I had such great mentors during mine, I chose to join this organization and be a mentor. You too can offer guidance to those middle schoolers who need help during this complex process and be the person who helps them advance into the next chapter of their lives. Any way helps. Spreading information in our blog, becoming a mentor, or even offering aid to friend’s children who you know is applying to high school makes such a difference. With this help, we can make the process of applying to high schools easier and more accessible to every NYC middle schooler.
Jacob Brucker is a senior at Xavier High School in NYC. He is an editor of the school newspaper Xavier Review, loves to spend time outdoors, and enjoys journalistic writing.
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The highschool admission process is very stressful. With all of its different required parts, the essay section of the application can be really overlooked. The essays are a chance for the admission officer’s to get an insight into who the applicant really is. Numerous people can have very similar transcripts, but a creative and charismatic essay will make an application stand out.
Recommendation letters are a key aspect of high school applications and are a great way to demonstrate your character and abilities from another perspective. While not mandatory in some schools, it’s highly encouraged and should be seen as a requirement. But, who do you ask for a recommendation letter? Choosing who to ask is very important and should be someone that has seen your growth as a student. Most schools usually require at least one recommendation letter from a core teacher (Math, Science, Social Studies, etc) and one letter from either another teacher, mentor, coach, or counselor. So after making a list of potential candidates take some time to consider a very important question. “Who knows you the most?”. If you choose a candidate that barely knows you, their letter may sound disingenuous and phony. So when selecting a recommender, you should consider someone who has had a significant impact on your life and should be someone who knows you both academically and personally and can attest to your abilities, interests, achievements, and growth.
Oftentimes, one of the most difficult aspects of the high school admissions process is choosing the school you would like to attend. This makes sense, as picking a school requires a lot of critical thought and careful decision making. After all, you will have to attend the high school you end up choosing for the next four years of your life. This is why it is incredibly important to make sure that you have a fundamental understanding of what your high school offers.
As the new year begins, 7th graders may want to start thinking about high school admissions. Many students apply to Specialized High Schools, NYC’s nine public high schools for “students who excel academically/artistically” (DOE Website). You can learn more about them here. Eight of these schools admit students based solely on the SHSAT Exam, an 180 minute competitive standardized test administered in the fall.
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