NEW YORK CITY SPECIALIZED HIGH SCHOOLS
Within New York City there are nine specialized high schools. These schools support students that show academic and artistic excellence.
Specialized High Schools are not included on the MySchools application for NYC high schools, and will not be involved in your ranking of schools and programs. Eight of them require the Specialized High School Admissions Test (SHSAT), and one requires an audition process. All other high schools qualify as non-specialized schools.
In past years, there have been reported problems with diversity when it comes to specialized high schools. The Department of Education has implemented a few diversity initiatives as a result.
What is the SHSAT?
The Specialized High School Admissions Test is used to determine admission into eight of the nine specialized schools within New York City. Admission into these schools is based primarily on this test and your previous academic standing is not taken into consideration. These specialized schools work on a seat based system. This means that there are a certain number of seats available for incoming freshmen and sophomores. Students will be ranked in order by how well they performed on the test, and the highest-scoring students will be offered a place first until all seats are filled. If students miss the cut-off score for their first choice school, or their first choice school becomes full, they may be offered a seat at a different specialized school. If a school offers you a seat and you reject their offer, it is unlikely that you will receive an offer from a different school.
What's on the SHSAT?
The test is made up of two sections (English Language Arts and Math) with 57 questions for each part. Students are given 180 minutes to complete the test.
How do I take the SHSAT?
If you wish to take the SHSAT, please contact your school counselor or use MySchools to receive a test ticket and your testing location. Generally, the cut off for receiving a ticket is early October and testing will occur in late/early November.
Every year, companies like Kaplan, The Princeton Review, and Barron's come out with SHSAT prep books. These 2019 prep books can be borrowed for free at the New York Public Library or purchased online through Amazon.
What is LaGuardia High School?
LaGuardia High School of Music & Art and Performing Arts is a specialized high school in New York City which is best known for its performing arts programs. The programs offered are Dance, Drama, Fine Arts, Instrumental Music, Technical Theatre, and Vocal Music.
How do I apply to LaGuardia?
LaGuardia is different from the other specialized high schools when it comes to admissions. It is not a school that requires the SHSAT, it requires both an academic check and an audition for whichever program you are interested in. To register for an audition, students can speak to their school counselor or have a guardian register for them on MySchools. Audition tickets will be administered in mid-October and will clearly state the date, time, and location of the audition. Make sure to bring your audition ticket to your audition. It is also important that students input their academic record onto MySchools so that they may be considered for LaGuardia High School. You can audition for multiple programs, and dates of auditions are decided by the borough of the school you currently attend. Makeup auditions are available to those who need it.
What if I don't get in?
If you do not get into your desired school or arrive in New York City past the deadlines do not worry! There are re-auditions and retests in ninth grade if you are interested in transferring after your first year.
Who is eligible for SHSAT and LaGuardia Audition accommodations are provided to the following students?
Former or current English Language Learner (ELL) students and students with disabilities who have IEPs or 504 plans.
What testing accommodations are included for the SHSAT and Laguardia Auditions?
Accommodations will vary depending on the student. On the SHSAT, a student may be eligible for testing accommodations such as extra time, a mathematics glossary, oral translation of test directions, etc. Please check the Specialized High Schools Student Handbook discussed above for more information. It is important to note that there are some accommodations that will not be provided to any student.