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Seeking admission to any of New York City’s Specialized High Schools?

From now through Monday, November 15, 2021, any NYC eighth grade or first-time ninth grade student can register to take the Specialized High Schools Admissions Test (SHSAT) to qualify for admission to eight of the City’s nine Specialized High Schools, including Stuyvesant, Bronx High School of Science, and Brooklyn Technical High School.

Together, the City’s nine Specialized High Schools are one way that the DOE supports the educational needs of students who excel academically and/or artistically, including Multilingual Learners and students with Individualized Education Programs (IEP) or 504 Plans. While these schools have a separate admissions process from other City high schools, every student who is eligible to participate in high school admissions this school year can also apply to each of the Specialized High Schools.

Earlier this month, the NYC Department of Education mailed welcome letters to City families of eighth grade students who are enrolled in NYC public schools. This letter includes an overview of the City’s high school and Specialized High School admissions processes as well as information regarding how to access your MySchools account, which you will need to register for the SHSAT.

If needed, any NYC eighth grade or first-time ninth grade student can get a copy of their welcome letter from their current school or a Family Welcome Center.

Applying to NYC’s Testing Specialized High Schools

NYC students who are currently in eighth grade or in ninth grade for the first time are eligible to apply to the eight testing Specialized High Schools. You’ll need to take the SHSAT to apply to any or all of the following schools:

Register to take the SHSAT by November 15, 2021

You can register for the SHSAT online through your MySchools account. Once logged in, you will then be able to list any or all of the eight testing schools in your order of preference, starting with your first choice at #1. You may also register for the SHSAT through your current school counselor.

Registered students will receive a personalized test ticket by early December 2021 confirming when and where they will take the test.

Need to create a MySchools account? Get started by watching our “How to Create a MySchools Account” video!

Taking the SHSAT

The SHSAT is a 180-minute exam divided into two major sections, English Language Arts and Mathematics. Use our SHSAT Preparation Guide to help you plan how you will answer questions on this test. We also suggest you check out our official Specialized High Schools web page for practice tests to help you know what to expect, as well as tips for testing day.

Testing accommodations are available for eligible students—please speak with your school counselor for more information.

All registered students will take the SHSAT in December 2021 as follows:

    • Grade 8 students in DOE middle schools will test at their current school during the school day on Thursday, December 2
    • Homeschooled students and grade 8 students attending charter, private, parochial, or independent schools will test at a central DOE location on Sunday, December 5, or Saturday, December 11.
    • All registered students in grade 9 will test at a central DOE location on Saturday, December 11, or Sunday, December 12.

After the SHSAT

After taking the exam, students are ranked according to their score on the SHSAT. Each student is then assigned to a school based on:

    • Their individual SHSAT score ranking;
    • School placement preferences, as ranked on their initial SHSAT registration in MySchools; and
    • The number of seats available at each school.

Placement results will be distributed to participating students in spring 2022.

Young girl looking through a microscope inside of a lab classroom

The DOE’s official Specialized High Schools web page includes two practice SHSATs that students can take to familiarize themselves with the test. (Photo by MART PRODUCTION. Used under Creative Commons license. Original can be found on Pexels.)

Applying to LaGuardia High School

Fiorello H. LaGuardia High School of Music & Art and Performing Arts is the City’s ninth Specialized High School, and it does not use the SHSAT for admissions. Instead, applicants to LaGuardia H.S. are asked to participate in the school’s audition process.

As of this posting, this year’s audition process for LaGuardia H.S. has not been finalized—please stay tuned.  For future updates, sign up for the DOE’s High School Admissions Email List, and keep checking our official Specialized High Schools webpage.

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For the latest information regarding the City’s Specialized High Schools, visit our official webpage. We also suggest that you take a look at last year’s High School and Specialized High Schools Admissions Guide—just note, however, that some information and policies listed in this guide may have changed this year. And for specific, up-to-date information about any of our nine Specialized High Schools, check out the high school directory at MySchools.

Interested in learning more about admissions for the rest of the City’s 400+ high schools? Check out our previous “Get Ready for High School Admissions” post right here on The Morning Bell!


Banner photo by Anthony Shkraba. Used under Creative Commons license. Original can be found on Pexels.

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NYC Department of Education, 2019