It’s September, your child is going into 8th grade, and you are panicked about the high school admissions process.  You are not alone.  Let’s take a look at what I would consider 5 of the top items you and your child should accomplish this month, in reverse order of importance:


5.  Get the important publications, and get “plugged in.”  If you haven’t already, get your hands on the specialized high schools student handbook, as well as the big High School Directory.  Get familiar with  These will be your guides (although not your only tools) over the next several months).  And by plugged in, I mean be sure to get familiar with the publications, your counselor (see below), and the admissions events coming up.  And sign up for our free weekly video tips so you can follow us along each week with expert advice!


4.  Get organized.   To be successful in this process, you need a system.  At the very least, a calendar and some folders to keep your papers in.  Some have more elaborate systems to stay organized – it doesn’t really matter, as long as it works for you and your child.


3.  Register for the SHSAT and/or LaGuardia High School auditions.  I realize you may be on the fence with this and may be thinking, “why bother?”  But there is no downside to registering with your counselor – even if you decide at the last minute you don’t want to go through with it.  But your child has nothing to lose – no other schools see the results, and you may be surprised with the result.


2.  Attend the Citywide High School Fair.  Yep, it’s a huge, overwhelming event.  But if you plan ahead of time and have a strategy, you CAN get a lot out of it.  Be prepared with a list of at least 20 schools you want to see, have some questions ready (not what you can already find out in the high school directory), and do not miss the workshops on the admissions process.  This is a complicated process, and you will need all the guidance you can get.


1.Meet with your child’s guidance counselor.  This is probably the most important thing you can do during the month of September.  Get to know your counselor, meet with her, and ask questions.  She is one of your best resources throughout this process.


Remember, this is a team sport.  You can’t do it alone, and you will need to get help from people who know what works and what doesn’t work.  Don’t rely on what you are hearing from your friends and family – get accurate information from trusted sources and you will give yourself every chance of success….


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