I was walking home from a consult the other day and I had a small epiphany. Those of you that go through this process may have a hard time agreeing with me. The process isn't for the faint of heart, but I had a moment of clarity when I just felt wildly excited by the variety of opportunity we have in the high schools in the city. For a moment, it felt like a treasure trove of wonders. I wish that I could hold on to that vision and share it - seeing the opportunity and not the fear and the hassle. The high school process is all of that- complicated, frustrating, scary, difficult - and astonishing.
Here's a good thing: the City's new High School Admissions Workshops over the summer and the workbook that came with it. I generally find the 'activities' in the Directory and other privately produced workbooks fairly useless and a little dumb, but this workshop was geared to what we REALLY need to understand - how to make a solid list of schools that you can actually get into - how to determine a reach and a target and maximize your list. You may still feel like there is a dearth of 'likely matches' but it is all still very useful.
Here is another good thing: Hail to Millennium Brooklyn!! Let all other screened schools see your beautiful transparency and follow your lead! Shame on any school that doesn't immediately draw back the curtain to shine a light on their shadowy admissions criteria. Look at the bottom of their admissions page to a tiny little link. All is revealed.
Here is your call to action: Print out the admission criteria. Carry it with you to all Fairs and Tours. Put it in the face of the high schools that are not transparent and DEMAND their rubric. Write to HSEnrollment@schools.nyc.gov and demand that all programs publish their admissions criteria.