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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Nearly a fifth of New York City students attend private schools, schools that are neither funded nor run at any government level. Unlike public schools, families are typically required to pay tuition, but many of these schools offer some degree of financial aid. Because private schools do not have to follow the rules and regulations set by the Department of Education, there is a diverse array of options to consider when looking for the right fit. Unlike with public schools, students are allowed to apply to as many private schools as they desire.
Public schools are the largest school type in New York City, and therefore contain a vast range of schools. Due to this range, there is a school for everyone! It is important to note that students apply to programs not schools, and can be admitted into more than one program within a single school. Families can choose a maximum of twelve programs on MySchools for the main list, but the specialized schools are on a separate ranking list that has no max.
As a student whose entire education has been centered around testing and grades, it is hard for me to imagine a school system without these requirements. There are, however, NYC high schools that set different standards for their students which are outside of the typical standards. These schools, like Beacon, the Bronx Lab School, and Saint Ann’s go about a different way of assessing their students.
For most families, eighth grade tends to be the most exciting yet stressful year of middle school. It is the year to fully dive into the high school admissions process and find out where your child will be heading for the next four years. Though this can feel really overwhelming, with the help of this guide and the preparation made already from the sixth and seventh grades, there’s no need to stress!
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