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 had the experience of applying to both public and private high schools as an eighth-grader, and because of the vastness of my application process, I had unique exposure to interviews. Over the course of two months, I sat down with representatives from six different schools and was evaluated for my performance. What both intrigued and perplexed me was that I could utter the same phrase at Trinity and have it be received entirely differently than at Beacon. Different schools expected different attire and levels of formality, and some schools had unspoken interview rules, like that you must write a thank you letter to your interviewer to get accepted.
The advantages that come with involvement in extracurricular activities for middle school students are numerous. While one motivation for joining a club may be for high school applications, there are other reasons to consider joining one too. Academic clubs such as math teams, science teams, and Model UN can be a fun way to learn outside of the classroom and to learn important life skills.
Chancellor Richard R. Carranza put out a letter on December 18th, 2020, outlining the changes that will be put into effect and continuities for the admissions process for New York City public high schools, that have been made largely due to the Covid-19 pandemic. Carranza is also focusing on lessening inequities that were thrown into light by the pandemic, specifically the worse impact that Covid-19 had on students of color and low-income students, as well as keeping the process as normal as it can be, keeping in mind social distancing guidelines.
When looking into high schools, it is vital to stay updated on the current admissions process. In years past, most schools' admissions environments would not change dramatically. However, with middle schools using alternative grading methods, and tests being delayed due to the pandemic, high schools have had to update their acceptance criteria. With so much uncertainty and rapid changes during this time, it is important to remain up to date on high school admissions environments. Here is some information on how to keep yourself updated during these harrowing times.
It's understandable to want to get a feel of the high schools you're thinking about applying to, which usually you can do by going to tours, walking around the school, listening to students and faculty about the school, and asking questions. Unfortunately due to the Covid-19 pandemic, this aspect of the high school application process is being converted to online video meetings and video format, but you can still get the same amount out of a virtual tour, with a little more effort.
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