High school hunting season officially opens with the Citywide High School Fairs this Saturday and Sunday. Local 8th graders will tour schools in all 5 boroughs in addition to a new school emphasizing oceanography on Governor’s Island. Once they’ve picked their top 8 to 12 schools then they tailor applications to those schools with specialized tests, audition, and essays. December 1, applications are due and the long wait to Match Day begins.
8th graders who want to stay close to home have to fabulous options: Midwood and Murrow. These high schools are ranked highly on paper and on the street. Both schools are unique and offer a variety of avenues to acceptance.
Midwood’s “advanced placement program is amongst the largest and most successful in NYC,” explains Mr. David Cohen, Principal of Midwood High School. This, along with the extensive athletic programs and a performing arts program that rivals LaGuradia, draws 8th graders. Students apply to one of the three institutes: Medical Science, Humanities, and Liberal Arts & Sciences.
“The first two,” Cohen explains, “are open for all students throughout NYC to apply and rankings are made based upon the 7th grade academic performance. The third institute is exclusive to students residing in the Midwood ‘zone’.”
Midwood doesn’t offer Open Houses, Cohen explained, “we believe the best way for students and parents to experience Midwood is to see the school in action during the day.” Schedule a guided tour by calling 718-724-8500.
The various ways for 8th graders to be accepted to and succeed in Murrow are as diverse as its students. 8th graders can audition for a seat in Fine and Visual Arts or in Instrumental & Vocal Music and Studio Theater. Or, 8th graders who score in the top 2% of middle school tests can attend Murrow.
“We are proud of our diversity and acceptance of all students,” said Rose Dasch, Parent Coordinator at Murrow High School. One thing all Murrow students have in common, though, is their Brooklyn residency.
8th Grade tips:
- Sign up for tours NOW! If you attend a school day tour, secure a letter confirming your presence and the absence won’t count against you.
- Study for SHSAT. Specialized High School Admission Tests take place the last two weekends in October. Register with your middle school guidance counselor.
- Prepare audition material. Many schools require auditions or essays in addition to the regular city wide application. These occur during October and November, before the application is due.
- Keep up your grades and attendance. High schools look for students with high grades and few absences.
7th Grade tips
- Attendance! Attendance! Attendance! 7th grade attendance is heavily weighted.
- Grades! Grades! Grades! High schools look at 7th grade report cards as an indicator of how well students will do in high school.
- Begin touring high schools. Attending school fairs and open houses in the evenings and weekends will help 7th graders narrow their search. 7th grade is not the year to miss school for any reason.
- Study for tests. Specialized High School Tests, private school admittance tests, parochial school admittance tests all happen during the fall of 8th grade. Students often start studying the spring semester of 7th grade.