There is a unique group of advanced public schools in NYC called specialized public schools that each have a different focus. There are nine specialized high schools but only eight of them require eighth-graders to take the Specialized High School Admissions Test or SHSAT for short.
The following are the eight schools students can rank on this test:
DISCLAIMER: The following calculator provides an ESTIMATE for your SHSAT scaled score and may NOT be completely accurate.
Each school has a different cutoff score, which is the lowest score that a student who was admitted into a school received. These cutoff scores are not publicly available, but some online forums such as theschoolboards contain posts with estimates of these scores.
According to the most recent post on theschoolboards (which can be found here), these were the cutoff scores for each of the specialized public schools:
The test is 180 minutes (for students with regular time) and broken up into two sections: one English Language Arts (ELA) and one Math. There are 57 questions on the exam but only 47 are scored because there are 10 field or experimental questions. The raw scores on the ELA section and the Math section are used by the Department of Education to determine your scaled score.
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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.
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!
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.
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