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 NYCMentors.org

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

Join Now

Other articles

  • img

    NYC High School Preparation Guide for Sixth Grade 2021

    • March 04, 2021
    • NYC Mentors.org Staff

    The transition from fifth grade to sixth grade is significant. For most students, this is the first time that they will be adjusting to a new school environment with new expectations regarding their work and learning. Though the start of middle school can be daunting for most families, this guide will show that there is nothing to be afraid of! By following these steps, families can make the most of the start to their child’s middle school career and begin preparing for the high school admissions process.

    Read More

  • img

    Public Schools With Sports Programs Around NYC

    • February 26, 2021
    • Maybelle Keyser-Butson

    Finding public high schools for athletes in New York City -- a city filled with academic high schools, performing arts high schools, and technical high schools, but very few athletic high schools -- is not as easy as it sounds. Finding an athletic public high school that also offers the academics that match your athletic child’s abilities can be even more difficult. Parents can spend hours clicking on slow-to-load high school ranking sites, only to find that the schools are not easily accessible from their home, or not academically rigorous enough, or not a public high school.

    Read More

  • img

    Virtual Auditions - New Guidelines for Applying to NYC Arts High Schools in 2021

    • February 10, 2021
    • Oliwia Caes

    Global pandemic or not, the time to apply to high schools has come. There is no need, however, to become intimidated by an online audition process. Truth be told, the fact that it is virtual allows you to present your best work from the comfort of your own home and hopefully gives you all the more reason to apply.

    Read More

  • img

    How to Write High School Admissions Essays

    • February 08, 2021
    • Jacob Brucker

    A key part of the high school admissions process is writing essays. For me, these essays were the chief part of the application and the thing I placed the most emphasis on. These essays would vary in length, question type, and style, but through my time applying to high school, I found there were three universal steps that helped my writing. I continue to use these three criteria in my normal essays and know they can help you write your high school essays for applications. Here are the three criteria I use for my essays.

    Read More