(The following is the fourth in a series of articles examining the events leading up to, and beyond, yesterday’s release of round 1 high school admissions results for New York City middle school families.)
High school results day has finally come for 77,000 eighth grade students in New York City. Middle schools across the city yesterday released round 1 high school admissions letters to eager students. These students submitted applications back in December, selecting up to 12 choices from among the 700-plus high school programs throughout the city.
Here is a breakdown of some key statistics for round 1, according to the Department of Education, unremarkably similar to last year:
• 90% of 8th graders were matched to one of their 12 high school application choices.
• Approximately 12,000 students received a match chosen below their top 5 choices.
• 7,452 students received no match at all (up slightly from last year), and will enter round 2 of the process. In round 2, students will have another chance to choose from among the programs with seats still available.
That means of the 77,000 eighth graders who submitted applications, nearly 20,000 (26%) students either got matched to a choice below their top 5 selections, or got no match at all in round 1.
While one can slice and interpret the statistics in any number of ways, thousands of real stories were unfolding across the city, with students found in various states of emotion ranging from grim to euphoric.
“I’m pretty happy with myself and proud,” said Jason A., an 8th grader from Brooklyn who was accepted to his first choice school. “I was a bit nervous that I wouldn’t get into my favorite school.”
Jason’s mom, Judy, was thrilled and felt tremendous relief. “I felt daunted by the whole process and didn’t know what to expect or what to do. I was surprised that the process is different for different schools, but having a step by step checklist was helpful.”
Unfortunately, for the thousands of students who received a choice selected lower on the application - or even worse, no match at all - the toughest part of the process is arguably just getting started.
Students participating in round 2 – including those who received no round 1 match and those who are taking their chances they may get something better - are required to research round 2 schools and submit a new set of choices by Friday, March 21. That represents only a couple of weeks vs. months or more for the first round and involves its own strategy.
Then another waiting game begins, as round 2 results are not expected until May. Any student may then submit an appeal and take their chances that a change will be considered. For those continuing on with the process, the next steps can be agonizing – all while 6th and 7th grade families witness the drama that may be in store for them.