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Once you finish taking the SHSAT, you’ll probably feel a mix of relief (it’s over!) and worry (how will you do?).  During the time between finishing the exam and waiting for your results, make sure you keep up the great habits in school that helped you prepare for the SHSAT in the first place!  If you’re in 8th grade—finish strong!  It will help you transition into your specialized high school with ease.  If you’re in 9th grade, it’s even more important for you to keep doing well, because you already know the pace of high school classes and how much work (and how much fun!) doing well in high school is.
In March, you will receive your test results.  You’ll also receive a letter about your admission into one of the specialized high schools you indicated on Test Day.  Your letter could include several different decisions:

  1. You got into your #1 choice of school! This is the decision you are hoping for, and planning for right now.
  2. You did not get into your #1 choice of school during Round 1, but you received admission into one of the other amazing specialized high schools in New York City that you selected as alternate options. This is fantastic news as well—you should feel good about being a competitive applicant.
  3. You were accepted into more than one of your selected schools! There are a number of students who will find themselves in this position.  In this case, you are in the enviable position of getting to choose among which specialized high schools which one you will enter.  Once you accept an offer of admission, you won’t be able to change your mind, so make sure you talk to your family, and feel good about your decision.  Another positive benefit to receiving multiple offers is that, once you make your official choice, you will open spots up for other students at the schools that you decline.
  4. You didn’t yet gain admission into your choice of schools. Although specialized high schools do not keep a “waitlist” of students who are waiting to be admitted, during the period of matching students who took the SHSAT with their schools, if you weren’t selected in Round 1, but it doesn’t mean that you won’t get in later.  If you find yourself in this position, what you’ll do is wait to see if a spot opens up for you at one of the schools of your choice.  There is always a lot of change between schools that offer admission to students in Round 1, and spots that are offered to students in later rounds.

How Do Schools Decide Who Gets In?

Specialized high schools do not look at your grades, and they don’t consider at all how you did on standardized tests for the State.  The only aspect schools consider is the score on the SHSAT—for all students!  So, once all of the test dates are completed (including make-up exam dates), the scores of all of the students are collated.  The scores are then ranked from the highest score to the lowest score. The student who has the highest score will be admitted into the school that they marked as their top choice (their highest prioritized school).  Then, the student with the second highest score is placed in their top choice of school.  Every school has a certain number of seats available for incoming freshmen or sophomores. Once any school has all of their available spots taken by students, the school is closed to admission offers for round one.  Then, students who have taken the test who have chosen a closed school will receive an offer of admission into their second-choice of school.  If all of the seats for their second-choice are full (taken by students who scored higher), they will be offered a spot in their third choice (and on down).  The process of matching students who scored the highest to their choice of school continues until all of the seats in all of the specialized high schools are filled during Round 1.
In subsequent rounds, as students accept or decline admission offers, students who are next in the scoring for the SHSAT are offered spots on their list, until all of the available seats are filled by students who have confirmed admission.
Don’t forget that all offers of admission into a specialized high school are final.  If you decline an offer, you are giving up your seat.  If you accept an offer, and change your mind, your seat will be given to another student and you won’t be able to get it back.
Now that you know all of the logistics behind getting ready for the test, Test Day, and what happens after the test—LET’S PREP!

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