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The NYC High School Application Process is Getting Simpler and More Transparent

The NYC High School Application Process is Getting Simpler and More Transparent

The second round of applications for students applying to middle and high schools has been eliminated.


For years, students applying to middle and high schools in New York City had to go through a second round of applications if they didn’t get into their preferred schools. But Mayor Bill de Blasio and Schools Chancellor Richard A. Carranza have simplified the process for the 2020-21 school year: there will only be one round of applications, and if a student doesn’t get into their higher-ranked school choices, they will be placed on a waitlist and offered admission as seats become available. Carranza said that this simplification is a result of families and educators asking for a simpler, more accessible process.

The application timeline will remain the same: middle and high school applications will open in October with a December deadline, and students will receive their match offer in March. Families can still appeal for travel, safety, or medical hardships, and they will be able to access in-person support at Family Welcome Centers, rather than wait to participate in a second application process, according to the office of the mayor.

The NYC Department of Education is eliminating second round applications to accomplish three goals:

  • Transparency. Previously, kids didn’t know how likely they were to be admitted to their higher-ranked schools during the second application round. Now, kids can know their waitlist position and have a better understanding of how likely they are to get into a preferred school.
  • Ease. Rather than complete second applications and then wait weeks into May or June to hear back from preferred schools, students will fill out less paperwork and spend less time on applications.
  • Consistency. Families will now have one application system for kids at all grade levels (the middle and high school application process now looks more similar to the elementary school process).

Schools and families will be provided with resources to best understand the changes that are coming. The DOE will engage families once school is back in session and conduct training for school staff on the new process, including in-depth training on waitlist management and systems beginning in February 2020.



“Parents have enough on their platetangling with bureaucracy to get their child into school shouldn’t add to the load,” said Mayor de Blasio in a press release. “We are changing the middle and high school application processes so families don’t have to go through the gauntlet just to get a placement."

RELATED: Keep up with our NYC education news!

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Jacqueline Neber

Author: Jacqueline Neber is an assistant editor and a graduate of The Writing Seminars at Johns Hopkins University. When she's not focused on writing special needs and education features, you can find her petting someone else's dog. See More

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