High School Admissions

Learn about options & how to apply

Teenage students in school library

NYC has over 400 public high schools and 700+ available programs. Every 8th grade NYC student must apply to high school, and first-time 9th graders can apply as well. Learn more about completing the application process below.


Choosing a School

When you’re checking out schools and programs, it’s important to consider what will help you learn and grow. Think about your interests, learning needs, and how you’ll get to school.

  • NYC MySchools
    MySchools is the best way to explore high schools and programs. You can find schools based on your interests, where you live, and more—all on your mobile device or computer!
  • NYC High School Admissions Guide
    Find high schools and programs by borough. Learn how programs make offers and what makes a balanced application. Pick up a copy of the guide at your current middle school or a Family Welcome Center.

Applying to Schools

High school applications are given out to 8th graders each fall. Here are a few strategies for submitting a strong application.

  • Start exploring schools and programs the summer between 7th and 8th grade. Find places where you think you might be happy. Looking at 20 – 30 programs is a good starting point.
  • Consider your chances of getting an offer. Balance your application between schools that are a “reach” for you and target schools or programs that seem like a strong match.
  • List 12 programs on your Round 1 Application—in order of preference.
  • Submit your completed application by the due date, usually early December of each year.

Visit before you apply

  • High school fairs: You can meet with staff and students from different high schools.
  • Open houses: Most high schools run open houses and information sessions where you can learn more about the school, meet the staff, and see if it’s a school you’d like to attend for the next four years.
Attend a high school fair or an open house

Specialized High Schools

NYC has nine specialized high schools for students who academically and artistically excel.

The admissions process for these schools is separate from the general High School Admissions application. Eight specialized high schools accept students based on their Specialized High School Admissions Test (SHSAT) score. These schools are:

LaGuardia High School of Music & Art and Performing Arts requires auditioning in a talent area and looks at how well you’ve done in school.

Apply to specialized high schools

All NYC 8th grade students and first-time 9th graders can apply to specialized high schools, including English language learners (ELL) and students with an Individualized Education Program (IEP) or 504 Plan. To apply:

  • contact your school counselor in September to register for your SHSAT test and/or audition
  • get your SHSAT test ticket and/or audition ticket
  • take your test and/or go to your audition
Learn more about applying