Students in New York City have many options when it comes to where they can attend high school. For highly-motivated students who are academically or artistically inclined, some of the most prestigious schools in the city are the nine specialized high schools. Each school is different, offering different programs, with different strengths, so we’ll go through each one to give you a better overview of what’s available.
1. Bronx High School of Science: With an enrollment of almost 3,000 students, Bronx High School of Science (or, Bronx Science, as it’s sometimes called) is one of the best known specialized high schools. Located in Bedford Park (just a short walk from the Lehman College campus), Bronx Science specializes in the STEM (science, technology, engineering, and mathematics) fields. For students who excel in these areas, Bronx Science can be a great choice of high school.
2. Brooklyn Latin School: Located in Williamsburg, Brooklyn, the Brooklyn Latin School’s curriculum emphasizes the humanities—like English, history, and foreign languages—although its STEM classes are also highly regarded. With an enrollment of around 700 students, it’s one of the smaller specialized high schools.
3. Brooklyn Technical High School: Brooklyn Tech also focuses on the STEM fields. A central feature of this school is the “major” system, which allows a student to specialize in one subject starting in eleventh grade.
4. High School for Mathematics, Science and Engineering at City College of New York: This school—located on the campus of City College—has an enrollment of just 500 students. HSMSE also has a STEM-focused curriculum. Starting in junior year, students must choose between three concentrations: Higher Mathematics, Mount Sinai School of Medicine Biomedical Research Program, or Advanced Engineering.
5. High School of American Studies at Lehman College: High School of American Studies is based at Lehman College, with a focus on the humanities, although STEM is also emphasized. Starting in eleventh grade, students have the chance to take classes on the Lehman College campus.
6. Laguardia High School: Unlike the other specialized high schools, Laguardia is dedicated to the performing arts. Students complete academic courses while also majoring in a “studio art,” such as dance, drama, technical theater, or music. Students must submit a portfolio of work or complete an audition in order to be accepted.
7. Queens High School for the Sciences at York College: With around 500 students, Queens High School for the Sciences is a STEM-focused high school based at CUNY York College. The school offers AP and honors courses in English Literature, US History, and others, along with its STEM curriculum
8. Staten Island Technical High School: Staten Island Tech is the only specialized high school in Staten Island. It’s STEM-focused, and has a Pre-Engineering Career & Technical Education (CTE) program, which is designed to equip students with job readiness skills.
9. Stuyvesant High School: Stuyvesant’s intensive STEM program is well-known, and it is probably the most selective of all the specialized high schools. With over 3,000 students, Stuyvesant is known for its unique course offerings and exciting extracurriculars. Although Stuyvesant focuses on STEM, it also has an excellent humanities program. Students are required to take four years of history, English, science, and mathematics, as well as three years of a foreign language.