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New App Helps with NYC High School Admissions

New App Helps with NYC High School Admissions

NYC High School Application Guide is a free mobile app that helps students with their search for a high school.

Last year, around this time, my husband and I geared up for our son's kindergarten admissions process here in New York City. It was overwhelming, as the list of options seemed to be endless. But we were so relieved when he received an acceptance letter to his first choice kindergarten. That feeling was fleeting, however, when I realized middle school and high school were not too far on the horizon.

Here in New York City children must apply to public school as early as pre-K and it bears repeating that the process can be quite overwhelming. Just under 80,000 students in NYC apply to high school each year. They list 12 schools, in order of preference on their application, of which 72 percent of applicants will receive admissions to a top three pick.

With that in mind, the Heckscher Foundation for Children developed a free app to make navigating the high school admissions process much easier.

According to a recent press release, the new app "helps students and families simplify their search by focusing the choice process on a personalized list of 20 best-fit schools."

In order to get to that list of 20, students answer six questions that include their address and personal interests in sports, academic subjects, and extracurriculars. The search algorithm then considers the likelihood of admission, factoring in priority given to zoned students and the number of applicants.

"The trouble with high school admissions in New York City is not a lack of information about school options or the process itself, but its complexity and scale. With more than 750 programs in 440 schools citywide, the number and variety of choices is overwhelming. The NYC High School Application Guide aims to give families an easy entry point by providing them with a small number of carefully selected school recommendations," says Sean Corcoran, associate professor of education and economics, New York University's Steinhardt School, who was an advisor during the app's development.

"We designed the [NYC High School Application] Guide specifically for students to use on their own so that even if they don't have support from well-informed adults in their high school search, they can still identify best-fit schools with strong graduation rates," says Peter Sloane, chairman and CEO of the Heckscher Foundation for Children.

The free app is available on iOS and Android and will be available in Spanish. For more information, visit

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