The Beacon High School (“Beacon”) is a well-regarded prep school with plenty of student activities and a strong reputation in New York City. Beacon ranks in the top third of New York City high schools and has one of the highest English proficiency scores in the city. Read on to learn more about Beacon High School admissions, and whether Beacon High School is the right school for you.
Beacon High School | School Overview
Beacon was founded in the 1990s as an alternative to the usual Regents exam-based high school curriculum. Instead, the school focused on portfolio-based assessments and projects to measure students’ achievement, which can be a great strategy for some learners. Today, there are some required tests for every NY high school student, but Beacon’s portfolio-based assessment roots remain apparent. Group and individual projects are key in student assessment, and teens must present a portfolio of their best work to a panel of teachers to fulfill graduation requirements.
The school has over a thousand students, but it still retains a strong focus on technology and the arts, as well as student leadership and activities. There are clubs for all kinds of interests, including the stock market, debate, model UN, film making, and more – the student literary magazine, Beacon Ink, publishes exception student work and is a great way for budding artists and writers to share their projects with a wider audience.
For more information, go to the Beacon website.
Beacon High School| Admissions Information
Unlike some of the other NYC high schools, Beacon requires a student portfolio in addition to the typical grade and test score requirements. For all applicants, Beacon will consider only prospective students who achieve a grade of at least 85 or higher in English, history, science, and math for the year-end seventh grade report card. In addition to this cutoff score, students need to show at least a 3 on their seventh grade standardized ELA and math exams. For applicants in private schools, Beacon accepts equivalent ERB scores.
The last part of a Beacon application is the student portfolio, which includes the final 7th grade report card, 7th grade exam scores, and two essays or projects. The first paper or project must be a sample of previous work in English, social studies, humanities, science, or math class in 7th or 8th grade. The goal of this sample paper is to show the student’s best work in analytical thinking, as well as teacher comments and grading. Some potential items for inclusion would be a critical essay on a text for English class, a science lab report testing a hypothesis, and similar papers or projects.
Beacon also requires an admission essay as part of the portfolio of no more than 500 words. Students must either discuss a person or experience that had significant influence, or show how they demonstrate learning outside of the classroom through extracurricular activities.
Beacon High School | The Interview Process
Once Beacon reviews all the student portfolios, the school invites strong students to interview in October and November of their 8th grade year. While this may sound stressful to students, it is a good step forward in the admissions process.
Generally, students will arrive at the school and write a short essay of a few paragraphs in response to a prompt – this is so interviewers can gauge each student’s writing strengths in a timed environment. The focus is not as much on completing a perfect essay as it is on conveying ideas and showing a thoughtful approach to the prompt.
In addition to reviewing the short essay, the interviewers may focus on work in the student’s portfolio and the admission essay, and there may be questions about the student’s previous work or attendance. It is also important for students to explain why they plan to choose Beacon in the first place, and why they believe the school is a good fit.
We highly recommended to practice interviews regularly with your child before the on-site visit. Click the box below to access 17 interview questions that will help your child do his or her best at the Beacon High School interview.
This article has provided you with an overview of the Beacon High School admissions process – more details can be found at the Beacon High School website.