If your child is in seventh or eighth grade, it may be time to start thinking about high school options for him or her in New York City. Your child will eventually attend a specialized high school, a private high school, an independent school, a public school, or a district school he or she is zoned for, and all of these types of schools have slightly different application processes. The best way to determine which types of schools will be the best fit for your child is to attend high school fairs: you and your child will have the chance to talk to representatives from all kinds of high schools, and you can ask questions about admission at the fairs themselves.
It is generally a wise idea to attend high school fairs that represent each type of school—you and your child can discuss options like specialized high schools, private schools, or independent/public schools. By attending a fair where you can meet representatives from each type of school, you and your child can get a sense of the kind of student that best fits each school. Some private schools have religious affiliations, the specialized high schools tailor study to certain academic areas and require prospective students to excel on the SHSAT (Specialized High Schools Admissions Test), and some high schools are known for excelling in some academic areas over others.
What to Before the High School Fair
High school fairs can be overwhelming if you and your child aren’t prepared. Before the fair, look through the list of schools that will be represented. If you and your child take the time now to mark off which schools you feel are worth visiting, which schools you have questions about, and which schools you and your child are not interested in, you will have a much easier time navigating the fair. Think of the fair as an opportunity to get to know each school in a few minutes’ time: after the fair, you can reflect on what you have learned, but the main point of the fair is to get a general idea of what each school is like. And don't forget to bring a notepad to write down anything that seems important, and a bag to carry the pamphlets and informative brochures each school gives out.
How to Navigate the High School Fair
Upon arriving at the fair, take a moment to orient yourselves. Look over the high school list that you created with your child, and then begin going to the tables representing the schools you are interested in. This is the perfect time to ask any questions that you have, as admissions workers or representatives will be present from every school. In addition, if you or your child see a high school that looks promising, stop by its table and collect whatever information seems relevant.
NYC High School Prep
After each high school fair, your child’s NYC high school prep should get easier! Each conversation you have with your child should help narrow down choices until you find the school that will be a good fit. However, this can be a tough decision. If you and your child are still struggling to find the right school, you may want to purchase some NYC high school information books: these guides will list the top 100 public schools, best private schools, etc., as well as providing a summary of each school, demographic information, and any other important facts that parents should know. Finally, you may have questions about the proper tests for your child to take, based on the schools he or she feels comfortable with. You may also want to consider test prep if your child will be taking standardized tests, in order to boost his or her chances of admission. While applying to high school is a difficult process, relief is around the corner, and hopefully your child will soon be attending the perfect school for him or her!