After 8th Grade

It seems like I’m getting more and more frantic calls from new clients with rising 9th graders this time of year – after high school placements have been made. Many of these families think all hope is lost.

A common scenario involves families who went through the NYC high school application process but are not happy with the results.

Whether the child ended up being matched to a lower ranked choice school, didn’t get an offer from a specialized high school, or didn’t get an offer from an independent (private) school of choice, there are thousands of students in these situations each year. Many of these students continue on to their assigned school, resigned to stay there for the duration.

It’s important to have a handle on the potential options you may not learn about until it’s too late. These may include:

  1. Applying to other schools for 10th grade. Yes, there are fewer seats, but there are also fewer applicants. In fact, the probability of securing an offer at that coveted, dream school may be higher than it was in 8th grade. But don’t miss the opportunity to complete the application(s) and meet with your 9th grade counselor in the fall. And if you fell just short on that audition last fall, consider some additional preparation sooner rather than later.
  2. Taking the SHSAT again in the fall of 9th grade, especially if your score was respectable in 8th grade. Yes, you can take it twice. It may be worth considering some additional preparation so that you’re not left out in the dust once again come fall. There are many students in this situation every year who do not take advantage of this opportunity.
  3. Staying put. Many 9th grade students apply to other schools for 10th grade; generally speaking, you have nothing to lose. Get a less-than-acceptable result later, stay where you are. And many do. Sometimes the known entity is the best option, so give it a try and try to avoid pre-conceived notions! After all, going to high school is a major transition, so give yourself a break.
  4. If you are desperate: Considering other types of schools that may still have seats this time of year and into the fall, including parochial, charter, and yes, even some independent. Understand your dream school may be filled and cast the widest net possible.

Bottom line:  Keep an open mind, and don’t give up – even if that means staying where you are. Be honest with yourself and consider whether your school search strategy was sound the first time around, and consult with an expert. You may be pleasantly surprised.

Maurice has been involved in education since attending the University of Pennsylvania, where he ran an afterschool program in local schools while earning his bachelor’s degree. After spending several years in the corporate world, he realized his calling was working with students. In his years spent in schools and the NYC DOE, Maurice has taught middle school students, run award-winning afterschool programs, coached baseball, and advised hundreds of families. He has an MBA from New York University’s Leonard N. Stern School of Business, and lives in Brooklyn with his wife, Lisa, and puppy, Arthur Fonzarelli.

For more information, contact Maurice at or 347-709-2258. You can also follow him on Facebook at or on Twitter at @NYCHSAdmissions.


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