You’ve done your work. You’ve excelled as a student. You’ve put yourself in position for that next right of passage: getting into the high school of your choice. Now, there’s only one hurdle to climb—one exam that can open new doors for you, and help you specialize before college.
Here, you will gain insight into the questions you have about the New SHSAT, starting with the basics about what the test is, if it’s difficult, and logistics (like how to register for the test and where to take it). Later, we’ll move to looking at each section of the test. We’ll break down how the exam writers put the test together, so you’ll attack the test with confidence.
First, the basics.
What are Specialized High Schools?
New York is unique among cities for many reasons, but for 8th-graders, New York has developed a path to enter specialized high schools that allow students to specialize in certain areas before they enter college. There is a separate admissions process for these schools, and admission is not guaranteed. Although any 8th-grader who lives in New York City (prior to November 1st of their 8th grade year) can apply, each school is looking for students who are—like each school—unique. Students who shine artistically or musically, who set themselves apart from other students academically, or who bring intellectual and cultural diversity to campus are the best candidates to enter these schools.
This is great news for you! New York City wants students at these special schools that reflects the population that lives there—NYC is, after all, one of the most creative, insightful, visionary, cultural, and historical cities in the world! Who should be taking the new SHSAT? YOU! Who is unique, talented, and offers something to these specialized high schools that no one else can? YOU! With ArgoPrep work, dedicated study, and diligence, who is positioned for admission into their dream high school? YOU!
Why would I want to go to a Specialized High School?
There are two main benefits to going to a specialized high school. The first is that you’ll get to take courses in the areas that you love already. Many 8th-graders are already emerging talents academically and artistically, and these schools allow you to train more extensively in those areas. (You’ll still take all of the core high school classes that all high school students take, but your elective credits at specialized high schools are geared towards the schools’ specializations.)
You also can get a college-preparatory experience. Although many high schools now are offering dual credit, IB, and AP credit courses, many of the classes taught at specialized high schools are designed to mimic the college experience. The goal is to intensively prepare students for their next step—some of these high schools are even housed in New York universities!
What specializations are there?
How do I get in?
You’ll have to take the Specialized High Schools Admissions Test (SHSAT), because all of the schools (except for one) base admission entirely on your score on the exam. The only school that does not require the SHSAT is LaGuardia High School, which bases admissions on your academic record and a required audition in a talent area.
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