Specialized High Schools in New York City

Specialized Public High Schools in New York

Not all specialized education comes from public schools. The New York City Department of Education recognizes academically and artistically gifted children with several high schools that are only available upon the completion of an entrance exam–the Specialized High Schools Admissions Test (SHSAT)–minus LaGuardia, an art school that instead accepts entrance upon review of a portfolio.

What schools are considered Specialized High Schools in New York City?

What makes these schools different?

Every one of the specialized high schools has its own unique advantages and flavor, but most of them emphasize primarily on mathematics and science, the core academic subjects for higher education. They all have their own array of electives and advanced placement courses. Many of them focus more on the humanities than the typical high school.

Originally, Brooklyn Tech, Bronx Science, and Stuyvesant were the only three high schools that were part of this Specialized High School program; the other schools were created as demand increased and more and more gifted students applied for these heightened public schools.

What should my child expect from the Specialized Science High Schools Admissions Test?

All eighth and ninth grade students in New York City are eligible for the SHSAT. It is sometimes also referred to as the Specialized Science High Schools Admissions Test, or SSHSAT. Eight and ninth graders may turn to their school counselors for any information available to aid in this examination process. The New York City Department of Education also offers a handbook and two sample tests to help students prepare for their exam.

When is the exam available?

The SHSAT/SSHSAT is taken early October every year. There is always a set number of freshman and sophomore seats available to fill.

Does the student take the exam for only one school, or for all schools?

Since every high school has slightly different programs, students may select a school of choice. Students that do not get into their school of choice may be given the opportunity to attend a different Specialized High School until all freshman and sophomore seats are occupied.

Thanks to artist CatchMe-22 for the Creative Commons photograph at Deviant Art.

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