Specialized High Schools Admissions Timeline
Your child only has one shot to nail the test and get into a Specialized High School. Use this timeline to get them prepared and stay on track throughout the admissions process.
Begin to research high schools and admissions requirements.
Start the process by checking in with your child and discussing what schools or programs may be a good fit. Then make a list, including schools where your middle schooler is guaranteed entry and reach schools. Not all high schools require an admissions test, but many competitive schools do. The SHSAT is the sole criterion for 8 of the 9 Specialized High Schools in New York City. Other schools in the area may require the SSAT, ISEE, or their own exam. Check websites or reach out to all schools on your list to make sure you understand testing requirements.
Get to know the SHSAT.
If a Specialized High School might be in your child's future, you will want to begin your research early. Be ready to have them start taking practice tests and prepping for the exam. Start by learning about the scoring, content, and the admissions process.
Take a practice test.
Prepping for the SHSAT begins with a practice test. Review the results and begin to think about how best to prepare your child for this exam—books, classes, or tutoring. Many classes start at the end of April to give a break over the summer months and start up again right before the test administration. Our team can help you decide which option is right for your family if you call 1-800-KAP-TEST.
Dive into prep.
It's time to prepare for the big test. Many of our classes and all of our private tutoring packages allow for time away over the summer. With the SHSAT becoming more competitive every year, it’s important to begin prep early. Even really strong students can struggle to adjust to the format and quick pacing of the test. The SHSAT may be the longest and most challenging test that your child has taken thus far, so commit to practicing together.
Use the summer to get ahead.
Set aside time for SHSAT prep over the summer months when your family has more free time. This can include self-study, private tutoring, or a classroom course. Keep your child on track; the test may seem far away, but it will be here before you know it.
Attend open houses.
When searching for the perfect high school, it’s important to visit schools to get a feel for each campus and talk to teachers, counselors, or even students at the school. This is also the time to elicit feedback from your seventh grader on what seems like a good fit.
Get your admissions ticket.
In order to take the SHSAT, students need to receive an admissions ticket from their guidance counselor. Also, students will use this admissions ticket to rank the Specialized High Schools in order. Be sure to do this together in advance of the test. Don’t be afraid to rank all eight on your ticket; your child will be admitted to higher ranked schools first if spots are available.
Take the SHSAT.
Finish up any last-minute prep and encourage confidence on test day.
Submit all high school applications by the deadline.
While the Specialized High Schools only require the SHSAT, others may ask for additional application materials. Be sure to get everything in on time so that your family has options.
Look for SHSAT scores and high school admissions decisions.
Once you receive scores, you will have a few weeks to make a final decision about your child’s top-choice school.
Make your final school decision for September 2020.
Offers in hand, it’s time for your child to accept a place at the high school of your family's choice. If this year’s scores were not high enough for entry into a Specialized High School, consider looking into having your student take the test again as a ninth grader.