Hunter College High School | Curriculum and Electives

Some families may have heard about Hunter College High School and its high-stakes entrance exam, but not everyone knows a lot about the school itself. Sure, it only admits about 6% of applicants, has a top graduation rate, and places students at the best colleges in the country, but that doesn’t say a lot about what happens during the school day. We’ve gathered some helpful information to help families and interested students understand what happens during six years at Hunter.

Hunter College High School | Curriculum Overview

Because students start at Hunter in 7th grade (or in kindergarten, for 50 Manhattan students), the high school curriculum gets implemented on a staggered scale. From 7th to 11th grade, students complete all the New York State high school requirements, which leaves all of senior year open for electives, independent studies, and college classes.

When students begin at Hunter in 7th grade, teachers know that they aren’t used to a full high school workload. Two different math tracks (honors and extended honors) help place children at the appropriate math level for their year, though these tracks can be switched if needed. A skills class functions like a study hall and time management seminar, and it helps students transition to Hunter during their first semester.

Once students get adjusted, their high school curriculum can begin. As is typical for New York City high schools, students take full years of math, English, social studies/history, science, and a foreign language. There are also semester requirements for physical education, art, music, and health. In 11th grade, the schedule opens up more: there’s room for two electives each semester. By senior year, the schedule is completely open.

Hunter College High School | What’s Unique About Hunter?

Once students reach 12th grade, they've completed the New York State high school requirements and have the freedom to design their own schedules. With the exception of a PE class each semester, students are free to fill the remaining five slots in any way they see fit, and teens can even elect to take a sixth course, internship, or college class if they have the free time. Many teens fill their senior year with additional AP classes to supplement the AP courses they took during 11th grade, while other students who completed math studies early may choose to take college math courses.

If students want to pursue foreign languages, they have the option to continue their chosen language in an independent study, or they can choose to begin a new language. Many courses at CUNY schools are open to Hunter students who want to earn college credit. Additionally, internships for non-profit organizations count toward class credit, so students can work at local hospitals, schools, or any number of businesses in lieu of an additional class.

All of these options provide plenty of freedom during senior year, which is a great way for teens to begin getting used to the responsibilities they’ll have in college. Choosing classes and creating schedules is good practice for freshman year, which is just one way that Hunter helps prepare teens for success.

Hunter College High School | Are You Considering Test Prep for Hunter?

Preparation for the [Hunter College High School Admissions Exam] ( does not have to be daunting and exasperating; instead, it can represent an important opportunity along a student’s path to learning mastery. Indeed, the perspectives and abilities acquired during preparation can be transformative and last a lifetime.

Our two-track approach to mastering content and improving test-taking skills means that students will not only thoroughly understand the fundamental concepts and skills tested by the Hunter Exam, but they will also excel in using essential techniques to improve attitude, endurance and focus. Our students hone their independent thinking skills while developing a resilient mindset so they can perform on test day in a powerful, resourceful, creative and calm manner. Each student in our program receives the undivided attention and expertise of a dynamic and experienced coach who provides the framework to support each student on his unique path to becoming a master learner.

All students who work with Origins Tutoring undergo a diagnostic evaluation and are provided with full-length 'sample' Hunter practice tests. You can also access for free one of our sample tests here:

Please call 917.287.7927 now for a complimentary consultation to discuss how we can help your child achieve his or her personal best on the Hunter High School Admissions Exam.


Origins Tutoring also offers the "Hunter College High School Preparation E-Guide"  The Preparation Guide is the only test prep book on the market devoted to helping students prepare for the HCHS admissions exam. It contains three practice tests and much more. You can learn about the Guide here.