Your Journey to High School Starts Here!

Exploring the High School Directory

Head over to the High School Directory to see what schools NYC has to offer to start determining your child's 12 choices. 

Reminders on things to consider when looking at schools and their programs:

  • Use all available filters, especially the borough filter 
  • Where the school is located, its schedule, size, etc.
  • How many programs are offered (ex: if a school offers 3 programs, you can apply to them and it will count for 3 spots on your application)
  • Their "performance" percentages- avg. students who graduate, attendance rate, safety, rigorous instruction, etc.
  • "Screened" admissions- this means that there is a supplemental piece that goes with their application- whether it be an audition, portfolio pieces, a test, writing sample, interview, etc. Check out the school's website for additional information.
  • "Admissions priority"- this is important to look at to see where the students admitted are coming from (ex: if they are only accepting people from the Bronx but you live in Manhattan; a school is only accepting from District 2 but we are in District 4)
  • "Admissions per seat"- take note that the number is different for students in general education vs. students with IEPs- these numbers are how many students were accepted compared to the number of students that applied (ex: 15 means for every 15 students that apply, 1 student get accepted)

Small Groups

High School Application:

·         The high school application for students entering high school in fall 2021 will open during the week of January 31, 2022Families and school staff will be notified when the application opens. Families can use MySchools (myschools.nyc) to explore schools and submit their high school application with up to 12 program choices in preference order

·         The deadline for families to submit their high school application is March 1, 2022. 


Specialized High Schools:

Geographic priorities and eligibility: Over the next two years, geographic priorities and eligibility in high school admissions will be phased out. Different types of geographic priorities will be phased out at different times:

·         Starting now, for fall 2021 admissions, admissions based on geographic districts and catchment areas will be eliminated. This means all high school programs that previously gave admissions priority or eligibility to applicants who live or attend school in the high school’s geographic district or catchment area will no longer do so. In January 2021, updated information will be available in the online directory in MySchools.

·         Beginning with 2022 admissions (for students entering high school in fall 2022), all other geographic priorities and eligibilities will be removed. This means that every high school will be available to any student across our City.


Screened programs: High school programs that use the “screened” admissions method have the option to continue using this admissions method for the current school year, with the following changes:

·         Screened programs will have the option to use the following data to evaluate applicants for admission:

o    Final course grades from the 2019-2020 school year.

o    Marking period course grades from fall 2020 through February 2021.

o    Standardized test scores from spring 2021.

·         Screened programs cannot use any of the following data to evaluate applicants for admission:

o    Attendance and punctuality from any school year.

o    Course grades from spring 2021.

o    Standardized test scores from spring 2021.

·         Internal assessments: by this, we mean interviews, academic portfolios, school-administered exams, and online admissions activities. This does not include auditions, which are covered below in detail. Screened programs that used “internal assessments” in the past have the option to continue using their internal assessment for the current school year. Screened programs that did not use internal assessments in the past cannot begin using internal assessments this year.

Any high school with a program that uses the “screened” admissions method will have the option to change the admissions method to “Open” or “Educational Option (Ed. Opt.)” this year.

Starting in January 2021, each school page in the online directory in MySchools will show each program’s admissions method (updated, if necessary), updated geographic priorities (where applicable), and updated selection criteria (for screened programs).


Audition programs:

·         Virtual auditions: This year, all high school auditions will be held virtually through the Virtual Audition Submission Tool. All high school programs that use the “audition” admissions method, including the programs at LaGuardia High School, will use the centralized Virtual Audition Submission Tool. Families and school staff will be able to use this tool to submit files for students’ auditions. 

·         Simplified audition components: To support the use of the Virtual Audition Submission Tool, high schools worked collaboratively to develop simplified and standardized audition components for the current school year. These audition components were developed specifically for this year’s virtual auditions and are available here. Starting December 19, high schools will begin sharing their own programs’ audition requirements with families on their school websites, at their virtual tours and open houses, and in response to families’ individual questions.

·         Simplified selection criteria: Due to the ongoing public health crisis and the challenges it has created for using test scores, course grades, and attendance data in admissions, high school programs that use the “audition” admissions method will use only the audition to evaluate and rank applicants for admission; audition programs will not use applicants’ academic or attendance data to evaluate and rank applicants this year. In accordance with New York State Law 2590—Section H, LaGuardia High School is the only audition school that will continue to use academic data about applicants to determine admission, in addition to the audition itself. More details about admissions to LaGuardia High School will be shared with families and schools in the coming weeks. Updated selection criteria for audition programs will be available on each high school page in the online MySchools directory starting in January.

·         Virtual Fairs for Audition High Schools: To support families through the virtual audition process described above, the Office of Student Enrollment and the Office of Arts and Special Programs will hold a series of centralized virtual fairs for families to learn about the audition high schools and the virtual audition process. Dates and other details are not yet available, but will be posted on our website in the coming weeks: schools.nyc.gov/High.

Educational Option (Ed. Opt.) programs: Like in previous years, the Ed. Opt. admissions method is intended to create academic diversity among incoming students through admissions. Since students did not take state exams in spring 2020, the Ed. Opt. admissions method will operate differently this year.

·         How Ed. Opt. categories will be determined: In the past, students were assigned a reading category for admissions to Ed. Opt. programs based on their previous year ELA standardized test score. Since state tests were not administered in spring 2020, this year we will use a composite score of students’ prior years’ performance in the four core courses: English, math, science, social studies:

o    Average of each student’s final course grades from the 2018-2019 school year.

o    Average of each student’s marking period course grades from fall 2020 through February 2021.

o    Standardized test scores from spring 2019.

Based on this composite score, students will be assigned an Ed. Opt. category, and a proportional number of offers will be made to applicants from each category for each individual Ed. Opt. program:

·         The top third of students citywide will be in the “High” category. One third of offers to each Ed. Opt. program will be made to applicants in the “High” category.

·         The middle third of students citywide will be in the “Middle” category. One third of offers to each Ed. Opt. program will be made to applicants in the “Middle” category.

·         The bottom third of students citywide will be in the “Low” category. One third of offers to each Ed. Opt. program will be made to applicants in the “Low” category.

·         No rankingIn the past, some Ed. Opt. programs chose to rank applicants; this prioritized those ranked applicants for admission, but had no influence on whether or not the program met its match targets. This year, in an effort to streamline the process, Ed. Opt. programs cannot rank applicants. Instead, all applicants to Ed. Opt. programs will be considered equally and randomly among others in their category (high, middle, or low) for the number of offers available for applicants in each category.