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 grade students applying to high school for the 2017-2018 school year!

Tickets for the Specialized High Schools Admissions Test (SHSAT) and LaGuardia High School auditions are now available through schools. Students who are registered for the SHSAT and/or LaGuardia High School auditions should see their school counselor for their tickets. Families may also visit a Family Welcome Center for a copy of the ticket.

Read the tips below to prepare for your test or audition.  

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

    Note: All Specialized High Schools Open Houses have passed.

    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 early September until mid-October each year to tell your school counselor you want to register for the test and/or audition.

    Review the 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.

    Plan your time accordingly: Map your commute to the test/audition site to arrive at the time listed on your ticket. 

    Bring a snack and water: They can help you stay alert during the test or audition.  

    Read 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.

    Specialized High Schools Admissions Test Dates Audition Dates

    For test locations, see page 11 of the
    2017 Specialized High Schools Student Handbook

     For audition details, see page 12 of the 2017 Specialized High Schools Student Handbook

    Saturday, October 22
    Sunday, October 23

    • For all current eighth grade students          


    Sunday, October 30
    Saturday, November 5

    • For all current ninth grade students
    • For eighth and ninth grade students who are English Language Learners or students with disabilities who have Individualized Education Programs (IEPs) or approved 504 plans
    • For make-up test requests


     LaGuardia High School Auditions
     Auditions are held at LaGuardia High School 
     100 Amsterdam Avenue, New York, NY 10023
    • First Day of Auditions – Saturday, October 29
    • Last Day of Auditions – Saturday, December 3

    Dates are scheduled according to the borough in which your school is located, not your current home address, and by the first letter of your last name.            


     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

    • What schools are participating in the SHSAT Day initiative?

      SHSAT Day schools were selected by looking for higher-needs schools with relatively large numbers of high-performing students who did not take the SHSAT last year. These seven schools will host  their SHSAT Day on October 25.

      • Tompkins Square Middle School
      • P.S. 071 Rose E. Scala
      • Conselyea Preparatory School
      • J.H.S. 278 Marine Park
      • I.S. 73 - The Frank Sansivieri Intermediate School
      • J.H.S. 157 Stephen A. Halsey
      • I.S. 051 Edwin Markham

    • 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.