Staten Island Technical High School (SITHS) is a top-ranked school in NYC (#4) and in the country (#28) in 2016 according to US News. This high school is the only Staten Island specialized high school, and the only way to be accepted is to achieve a high score on the Specialized High School Admissions Test (SHSAT). Read on for more info about SITHS and about the SHSAT.
Staten Island Tech | School Overview
Staten Island Tech was founded recently in 1988, and the school has ranked consistently in the top NYC high schools ever since. Students at SITHS tend to be strong performers in STEM (science, technology, engineering, and math) courses, though there are also desirable liberal arts classes including Russian, creative writing, film, sociology, and others.
As one might expect, the technology programs at Staten Island Tech are strong – students can participate in robotics labs, the Intel science fair, and other exciting opportunities. One key draw of the school is its Science Engineering Research Program (SERP). This special opportunity is for high performing science students at SITHS – these top performers join the program early in their high school careers and stay involved through graduation. Under the program, these students participate in science competitions across NYC and gain exposure to many different fields early on in their careers. For more information, check out the Staten Island Tech website.
Staten Island Tech | Admissions Information
Because Staten Island Tech is a specialized high schools, the only way to be accepted is to get a high score on the SHSAT. Transcripts from middle school and portfolios of work are not needed in the admittance decision, so studying for the exam is the only top priority.
Staten Island Tech | What is the SHSAT?
The SHSAT covers a wide variety of topics, from math questions to scrambled paragraphs and reading comprehension to logical reasoning. The two general topics, math and verbal, are broken down into fifty math questions (all multiple-choice) and roughly forty-five reading comprehension and verbal questions. While the math section is relatively straightforward, the verbal section has plenty of different question types: logic questions, scrambled paragraphs, and more typical reading comprehension questions on selected passage. There is no required essay on the SHSAT.
Staten Island Tech | How is the SHSAT Scored? What is the Format?
The SHSAT is entirely multiple-choice. Unlike some other standardized exams, there is no guessing penalty, and students may select answers for every question. The entire test takes roughly two and a half hours to complete. The SHSAT is also self-timed, so students need to track their own time carefully.
Scoring on the SHSAT is a little tricky, because the Department of Education provides final scores. Based on the initial performance of all the test-takers, the Department of Education comes up with a curve and allocates scaled scores from 200 to 800 to all the test takers. Every specialized high school has certain cutoff scores for new students.
Cutoff scores for SITHS over the last three years were:
Staten Island Tech | How to Register and Prepare for the SHSAT
To gain admittance at any specialized high school, students need to speak with their middle school guidance counselors and get an admissions ticket. During registration for the SHSAT, students will receive their assigned test date in late October. Note that there are Sunday accommodations available for Sabbath observers.
Staten Island Tech | Retaking the SHSAT
Sometimes students may not do well on the SHSAT and fail to gain acceptance at their preferred specialized high school. Unfortunately, there is no way to retake the SHSAT for acceptance that same school year. Instead, students who do not get accepted for 9th grade can sit for the exam a year later for 10th grade admission. The scores for these students are expected to be higher, because they have an extra year of high school completed, but retaking the exam is a good option for people who dislike their schools or want to be challenged.
The SHSAT is a tough exam, and students must achieve high scores to start at a specialized high school in the fall. More information on the SHSAT is available on our earlier blog post, and students will see lots of helpful info on studying and how to prep for the exam.
This article has given you an overview of the admissions process at Staten Island Technical High School -- more details can be found at the official website of Staten Island Tech.