Summer is the ideal time for rising 8th graders and their parents in New York City to embark on the high school search. Whether you’re exploring public or non-public options—such as independent, private, or parochial schools—finding the right fit for your child is paramount. Dedicate just one hour a week to this process, and you’ll navigate it effectively. Here’s how to make the most of your time and discover the best-fit high schools in the city.

Week 1: Explore School Websites and Profiles

Begin by visiting the NYC Department of Education website for public school information. For non-public schools, check out resources like NYSAIS (New York State Association of Independent Schools) or individual school websites. Look beyond rankings to understand each school’s unique offerings, including academic programs, extracurricular activities, and community values.

Week 2: Attend Virtual Tours and Open Houses

Some schools, both public and non-public, may host virtual tours and open houses during the summer. Check school websites or the DOE’s calendar for upcoming events. These sessions provide valuable insights into the school’s culture, facilities, and educational approach. Take notes on what resonates with your child’s interests and aspirations.

Week 3: Engage in Online Communities

Join online forums and social media groups dedicated to NYC high school admissions. Platforms like Facebook and Reddit offer discussions where parents and students share their experiences and advice. Seek insights on school environments, teaching styles, and community engagement to gauge compatibility.

Week 4: Review Performance and Culture

Explore school performance data on the DOE website for public schools and on platforms like InsideSchools and Private School Review for non-public options. Look beyond numbers to understand the school’s educational philosophy, student support services, and extracurricular opportunities that align with your child’s strengths and interests.

Week 5: Listen to Expert Insights

Listen to podcasts and attend webinars focused on NYC high school admissions. These resources often feature expert advice on navigating the application process and identifying schools that match your child’s academic and personal needs. Seek guidance on prioritizing factors like school size, teaching philosophy, and community values.

Week 6: Consider Commute and Location

Use online maps to visualize school locations and commute times from your home. Factor in transportation options, neighborhood safety, and the surrounding amenities that contribute to your child’s daily routine and overall well-being.

Week 7: Read Reviews and Testimonials

Read reviews and testimonials from current and former parents and students. Websites like InsideSchools, GreatSchools and Niche provide firsthand perspectives on school culture, academic rigor, and community involvement. Look for consistency in feedback that reflects the school’s ability to support and challenge your child.

Week 8: Compile Your Insights

Compile all gathered information into a comprehensive list. Discuss findings with your child, considering their preferences, strengths, and aspirations. Prioritize schools that offer a supportive environment where your child can thrive academically, socially, and emotionally.

Seeking Personalized Guidance

As you navigate this important decision, consider consulting with an experienced admissions consultant. They can provide personalized insights and strategies tailored to your child’s needs and goals. Starting early ensures you have ample time to explore options and make informed decisions without feeling rushed.

Contact us at to set up a complimentary phone consultation with an admissions expert on our team.

By investing just one hour per week this summer, you can methodically explore and evaluate NYC high schools, finding the best-fit environment where your child can excel and grow. Happy exploring!