Specialized High Schools

Specialized High Schools


Specialized High Schools News

The Office of Student Enrollment welcomes all rising eighth grade students and first-time ninth graders applying to high school for the 2017-2018 school year!

Get ready to apply to high school this fall by taking these next steps:

Visit High Schools Admissions to learn how to participate in that admissions process. 

Students applying to high school for the 2016-2017 school year—if you became a New York City resident after November 1, 2015, you have the opportunity to test and/or audition for the Specialized High Schools this summer. Read the FAQs below for more information.

Supporting diversity in Specialized High Schools: There are six new initiatives to provide more outreach, tutoring, and opportunities for underrepresented students to enroll in Specialized High Schools. Read the FAQs below to learn more about these diversity initiatives.

    Specialized High Schools Overview

    There are nine Specialized High Schools in New York City that serve the needs of academically and artistically gifted students. These schools have a separate admissions process than the general High School Admissions application. Students can participate in both admissions processes.

    There are also six new initiatives to increase diversity at these schools—learn more about the initiatives in the FAQs.

    Find a Specialized High School

    Eight of the Specialized High Schools base admission solely on your score on the Specialized High Schools Admissions Test (SHSAT):

    •  The Bronx High School of Science 
    •  The Brooklyn Latin School 
    •  Brooklyn Technical High School 
    •  High School for Mathematics, Science and Engineering at the City College of New York 
    •  High School of American Studies at Lehman College 
    •  Queens High School for the Sciences at York College 
    •  Staten Island Technical High School 
    •  Stuyvesant High School

    One school requires an audition in a talent area and also reviews academic achievement:

    •  Fiorello H. LaGuardia High School of Music & Art and Performing Arts

    Prepare for Your Test or Audition

    You will need to take the Specialized High School Admissions Test (SHSAT) and/or audition for LaGuardia High School if you want to apply to any of the Specialized High Schools. You have from September 8-October 13, 2016 to tell your guidance counselor you want to register for the test and/or audition.

    2016-2017 Specialized High Schools Student Handbook: The Handbook helps you learn about the Specialized High Schools and to prepare for your test/audition. You can also pick up a copy from a middle school or Family Welcome Center.

    Admissions Events: Attend a Specialized High Schools Family Workshop in July 2016 to hear from a Specialized High School representatives, parents, and students about the admissions process.

    2017 New York City High School Directory: You may also be interested in high school programs that require submitting the High School Application—learn about those programs and their admissions process.


     Download a PDF of the HS Admissions Timeline.

    Specialized High Schools FAQs

    • Who can take the Specialized High Schools Admissions Test (SHSAT)?

      All eighth graders and first-time ninth graders who are New York City residents are eligible to take the SHSAT. In September of your eighth or ninth grade, you should inform your guidance counselor of your decision so that an admission ticket can be issued for the test. This is true even for students who attend private/parochial schools.

    • Who can audition for the programs/studios at LaGuardia High School?

      All eighth graders and first-time ninth graders who are New York City residents are eligible to audition. In September of your eighth or ninth grade, you should inform your guidance counselor of your decision so that an admission ticket can be issued for the appropriate audition(s). This is true even for students who attend private/parochial schools.

    • What is the content of the Specialized High Schools Admissions Test (SHSAT)?

      The Specialized High Schools Admissions Test (SHSAT) is a written test with Verbal and Math sections including:

      • Scrambled Paragraphs: students are asked to arrange five sentences in logical order to create the best paragraph
      • Logical Reasoning
      • Reading: students analyze and interpret passages by answering questions
      • Mathematical word problems and computational questions
      • Problems in arithmetic, algebra, probability, statistics and geometry

    • How can I prepare for the Specialized High Schools Admissions Test (SHSAT)?

      You should ask your guidance counselor for a copy of the Specialized Schools Handbook which includes two sample tests. In addition, the Handbook describes audition requirements for LaGuardia’s six studios. You may also access the Specialized Handbook online. When you are an 8th or 9th grader, your guidance counselor will provide more specific information about the SHSAT. In the meantime, use the following suggestions to help prepare for the test:

      • Keep up with schoolwork. It is the best possible preparation.
      • Continue reading books and articles because reading helps increase vocabulary, comprehension, and general knowledge.
      • Practice taking the sample tests that are in the Specialized High Schools Student Handbook.
      • Check your answers and read the explanations of the correct answers in the Handbook.
      • Research study guides, test preparation services, and tutoring opportunities.
      • Discuss additional opportunities for test preparation with your school guidance counselor.
      • If you are in sixth grade, consider applying for the DREAM-SHSI preparation program.

    • My SHSAT test date and LaGuardia High School audition are on the same day. What do I do?

      Students taking the SHSAT who have a conflict with the audition schedule are to report for their audition(s) on the weekend assigned to their borough on the Saturday or Sunday for which there is not a conflict with the SHSAT. If you have an approved audition exception, please have your guidance counselor contact the LaGuardia Admissions Office for rescheduling an audition.

    Specialized High Schools FAQs: Diversity Initiatives   

    • What is the goal of these initiatives?

      Chancellor Fariña has announced six new initiatives aimed at increasing access and boosting diversity at New York City’s Specialized High Schools. These efforts are beginning this summer and will be in place before students take the Specialized High Schools Admissions Test (SHSAT) in October. Our goal is for the population of students enrolled in the Specialized High Schools to be more reflective of our city as a whole. To that end, we anticipate the Specialized High School Diversity Initiatives will accomplish the following:

      • Increase the offer rate to Specialized High Schools among underrepresented student populations, including Black and Latino students, economically disadvantaged students, and students from geographically underrepresented areas of NYC;
      • Increase the acceptance rate of offers among these populations of students;
      • Increase retention among this population of students

    • What are the details of the six initiatives?

      1. Assemble an Outreach Team to increase testing rates among high-potential students in underrepresented communities.
      2. Implement a SHSAT Day at targeted schools in the fall to ease the burden of testing on the weekend. Automatically sign up high-potential students for the SHSAT at these schools.
      3. Increase the availability of SHSAT test prep through partnerships between afterschool programs and test prep organizations.
      4. Expand DREAM, a 22-month preparatory program for disadvantaged students. Develop a new, shorter Intensive test prep program for the highest-performing rising 8th graders from underrepresented communities.
      5. Expand the Discovery program, an alternate pathway for disadvantaged students with SHSAT scores that are slightly lower than the cut score.
      6. Promote a school climate at all Specialized High Schools that welcomes diverse learners. Convene a working group of DOE stakeholders and external organizations to help each Specialized High School design and implement a plan for their specific school community.

    • How much will this cost?

      About 15 million dollars through fiscal year 2020 across the initiatives.

    • Why is this a priority?

      The Specialized High Schools should better reflect the diversity of our neighborhoods and our city. These schools have historically had a low percentage of Black and Latino students enrolled compared to citywide averages. Over the past few years we have seen a decrease in the number of Black and Latino eighth graders who take the SHSAT, receive an offer to a Specialized High School, and enroll in one of the Specialized High Schools in the fall of their ninth grade year. This school year, 11 percent of students enrolled in the eight testing Specialized High Schools are Black or Latino, compared to 68 percent citywide.

    • Are there any plans for partnerships with external organizations?

      We welcome the opportunity to partner with community-based organizations (CBOs) in our ongoing effort to introduce more diversity to the Specialized High Schools. Two initiatives in particular include external partnerships as part of our plans:

      • We plan to provide grants for SHSAT test preparation programs to partner with existing middle school afterschool programs, which will provide socio-emotional support to students in addition to test preparation
      • We plan to engage alumni associations and CBOs with relevant experience to work with the Specialized High Schools to develop more welcoming school cultures

    • How can families learn more?

      Families are encouraged to visit this webpage for continued updates or call 311 to learn more about Specialized High School Admissions and the new diversity efforts at these schools.

    Specialized High Schools FAQs: Summer SHSAT/Audition 

    • When does the summer SHSAT and LaGuardia auditions take place?

      The Summer SHSAT takes place Monday, August 29, 2016 at Stuyvesant High School. The Summer LaGuardia High School Auditions takes place Tuesday, August 30, 2016 at LaGuardia High School. Additional location and time information will be provided on the test/audition ticket for eligible and registered students.

    • Who is eligible to take the summer SHSAT?

      Students must meet all three of the following criteria to be eligible to take the Summer SHSAT and/or LaGuardia High School Audition:

      1. Students entered eighth or ninth grade for the first time in September 2015, AND
      2. Students became NYC residents after November 1, 2015, AND
      3. Students did NOT participate in the fall 2015 SHSAT and/or LaGuardia High School Auditions

    • How do I prepare for the summer SHSAT?

    • How do I register for the summer SHSAT?

      Registration will be conducted at each Family Welcome Center between Monday, July 11, 2016 and Wednesday, August 24, 2016. Family Welcome Center staff will issue tickets to students who register for the SHSAT and LaGuardia High School Auditions. Students must present these tickets at each school site (one copy of ticket per site).

    • What documents do I bring when I register for the summer SHSAT?

      Please note: The student(s) must be present at the Family Welcome Center when you register. Families must bring:

      1. Child’s birth certificate, passport, or record of baptism which includes the date of birth, or other official document of age (See Chancellor’s Regulation A-101 for documents accepted for proof of age)

      2. Child’s final June 2016 report card, or other educational record establishing grade level for September 2016

      3. Proof of residence (as indicated on our website)

      4. Proof that child moved to NYC after November 1, 2015. Examples of acceptable forms of documentation:

      • NYC DOE or Charter School student: ATS admission date (where available)
      • NYC Non-Public School student: A signed letter from sending school on their letterhead confirming date of admission.
      • Out of City student: Discharge letter from prior out of city/country school
      • Out of Country student:

        • Stamped passport, OR
        • Dated letter from Office of Refugee Resettlement, AND
        • Discharge letter or educational record from prior out of country school <>