NYC's "Gifted and Talented" High School Options

The admissions process for highly selective public high schools in New York City can be as involved and intense as applying to independent schools. Among its 400 high schools, New York City offers some excellent options for accelerated learners that have nationally and in some cases globally competitive college preparation. The most selective of these, the eight specialized high schools listed below, require the Specialized High School Admissions Test (SHSAT) for admission. Since they are considered "citywide" public schools, qualifying children from any borough can attend them tuition free. Ninth grade is the largest point of entry for all of these schools, although there are a small number of seats available for incoming tenth graders. Those starred below have been ranked among the top 100 high schools in the United States by US News and World Report:

A ninth specialized high school, Fiorello H. LaGuardia High School of Music & Art and Performing Arts (now sometimes called LaGuardia Arts), requires an audition and a review of academic records rather than the SHSAT.

The only citywide "gifted and talented" high school noted on the Department of Education's website is New Explorations into Science, Technology and Math (NEST + m), also ranked in the top 100 High Schools. Hunter College High School is also labeled "G & T" but is only open to students entering in the 7th grade. Below are a few other of the NYC's most selective public high schools that do not use the SHSAT. In these cases, school-based qualifying exams, math & writing assessments or portfolios/interviews are required for admission. Visit these schools' websites for their specific requirements.

While this is not an exhaustive list, these 15 schools will likely remain elite for the foreseeable future. There are certainly other highly selective programs in NYC but changes in school designation, performance, and existence occur annually so you must do your research. For the most up-to-date list, you can wade through the somewhat unruly Department of Education's high school search directory. Better yet,'s advanced search feature allows you to choose "selective" and "noteworthy" as search criteria and gives frank concise reviews of each school.


Tags: Entrance Exams, Gifted and Talented, Public School, School Rankings, SHSAT, School Choice
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