Lots of High School Choices in the New York City Schools
Written by Patricia Hawke for Schools K-12
Looking for a high school for your child that concentrates on preparing for higher academics? The New York City schools have five such high schools.
If you have a child now in elementary or middle school, live or plan to live in New York City, and you would like to see your child excel in high school and college, begin planning now for his or her enrollment in one of five specialized New York City schools.
Three of these New York City schools have been around for the better part of the last century. They are Peter Stuyvesant High School, Bronx High School of Science, and Brooklyn Technical. They also are the most sought-after schools within the New York City schools system.
To enroll your child, a New York City schools exam is given in December of the school year prior to attending. The special exam concentrates on mathematics and reading comprehension. Exam results are received the following February. If you wish your child to take the rigorous New York City schools exam for one of these specialized schools, begin preparing him or her in the early grades, ensuring that math, reading and science are learning priorities. Then, the child should take a test prep course, such as the Kaplan, before taking the exam, as well as checking out test review books from the New York City schools. Thousands of students take the exam each year, but there are only a few spots open at each of the schools.
In order to take the New York City schools exam, your child needs a permission slip from a guidance counselor or have the child’s current school administration register him or her at the special test centers in either Manhattan or Queens.
Each specialized school has its own score requirements. Stuyvesant has the highest score requirements and is the hardest to gain acceptance, followed by Bronx Science and then Brooklyn Technical.
All three New York City schools want only the best and the brightest students; however, they offer much in return academically and socially, including a wide range of sports teams, such as basketball, soccer, fencing, tennis and more. All facilities for these New York City schools are the best, receiving a lot of private funding. The workload for students is very demanding with heavy homework given every night. Students are expected to arrive early and leave late.
A fourth top academic school is Townsend Harris, located on the Queens College campus. Townsend is very challenging academically with no required entrance exam. School officials factor your child’s grade point average (must be at least 95 or above) with a required writing sample submitted by the child. Once accepted, your child can expect long school hours and rigorous coursework.
Any New York City schools student is eligible for these four top academic schools, but one other such school exists with restricted eligibility — Staten Island Tech. Students already in a New York City schools on Staten Island are eligible to attend. Though the school does not carry the same prestige as the other schools, it is still a very excellent academic school and acceptance is difficult.
Staten Island Tech focuses on mathematics and science, as well as architecture and drawing. Class sizes are smaller than in other New York City schools, and most students already know each other, having come from the same neighborhoods.