Research all NYC schools

Research Now

My Admissions Story: Oliwia Caes

February 01, 2021 Oliwia Caes

When I moved to New York City in sixth grade, I was already beginning to hear stories about “the dreaded” high school admissions process. I had no clue what it all entailed but already felt afraid. I rushed to do more research on the topic to catch up to the many students around me that had already been exposed to some aspects of it, by the sheer fact that they had grown up in New York City. I was quickly overwhelmed by the hundreds and hundreds of schools - specialized, performing arts, private - what did it all mean?

I was told by my family to not dwell on it and pushed the worrying thoughts aside. However, throughout my sixth and seventh-grade year, it was something that still remained in the back of my mind. I remember sitting down to tests, receiving report cards, and picking out my extracurriculars, thinking about how they could impact my high school application. 

By eighth grade, I was able to turn this worry into confidence. I began assembling my applications, writing essays, and preparing for the SHSAT. I applied to a number of schools that were not specialized by ordering them on my high school list on the admissions online website. It was at this point that I also made the decision to combine my passion for dance with my school career and try out for a performing arts high school. LaGuardia was at the top of my list. 

I proceeded to put the majority of my time in the application process into preparing for the audition. Thankfully, I had already had the opportunity to form a good basis of ballet at my dance studio and felt ready for this segment. The audition was conducted over the course of two days and consisted of a three-hour class, half in ballet and half in modern, and then on the second day, I was asked to write a short essay and perform a prepared solo. I did not have a teacher or anyone to help me put it together, so I created my own segment of choreography and rehearsed it over and over in my bedroom. Though nervous and intimidated by the number of teachers watching and assessing my work, the audition went well and I felt like the hard work I had done to prepare had paid off. I was proud of what I displayed in the audition, on my applications, and on the SHSAT. There was nothing left for me to do but await the results. 

It was all the more gratifying when I received my admission to LaGuardia. I looked forward to my future and the opportunities that the school would offer. Looking back at the process as a whole, I realized that it actually helped me learn a lot about myself. I also think that I had even stressed myself out too much over it. Ultimately, it was not something to dread but something that would transition me into an exciting new time in my life.   

Oliwia Caes is a sophomore at Fiorello H. LaGuardia High School for Music, Art, and Performing Arts. She is a dance major, an editor of the school magazine, and spends her time reading mystery and science fiction. 

Join to

Join today and have a high school mentor guide your child through their middle school years

Join Now

Other articles

  • img

    How Volunteering and Extracurriculars Can Affect Applications and Where to Go?

    • April 11, 2023
    • Dean Domingo

    Volunteering and extracurriculars are activities that can benefit both the community and yourself. For middle school students, volunteering and doing extracurriculars provide opportunities to develop new skills and interests and demonstrate to high schools that you are well-rounded and hardworking. High Schools are always looking for capable students willing to do more than what is required. So if you’re not doing extracurriculars and/or volunteering, getting the headstart and being a part of a club or helping out your community is the best way to demonstrate to schools that you are a hardworking and all-around person.

    Read More

  • img

    Tips for Attending High School Information Sessions

    • March 28, 2023
    • Sereia Sarumida

    Public high school admissions decisions came out on March 9th, and families have until April 5th to accept an offer. Many high schools are now offering information sessions, open houses, and virtual events for accepted students. These events are the perfect opportunity to ask students and teachers detailed questions about the schools, so you can decide which one is the best fit for you. If you have trouble getting started thinking of questions to ask, asking these sample questions (divided by topic) can help you to consider a broad range of factors to decide on a school to attend!

    Read More

  • img

    How to Write an Outstanding Essay for your High School admission process

    • February 21, 2023
    • David Romero

    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.

    Read More

  • img

    How to Ask for a Recommendation Letter and How to Pick the Right Candidate for the Job

    • February 12, 2023
    • Dean Domingo

    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.

    Read More