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  1. #1
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    Advice sought by parent of student entering the SHS Admissions Process. Help appreciated!!!

    Hello!

    I have a child (hah hah...definitely not how my 13 year old describes himself any more ) who is preparing for the SHSAT and will endure the Admissions Process for the class of 2021 this year . I'd appreciate any advice that parents or students who are familiar with the Process might have to share with us!

    My son is a student at a very competitive Public Middle School in Manhattan. I know that grades are not part of the SHS Admissions' process, but he has always done very well in his classwork and, FWIW, scored well on the much debated State Math and ELA tests. He enjoys Math and loves Science. He aspires to attending either Bronx Sci or Stuy, but is open to a range of options.

    He's been doing SHSAT Test Prep with one of the "Tutoring Factories" as well as with a private tutor who has been working with him on a weekly basis since May.

    Both the teacher at the Test Prep place and his private tutor say that his scores on the practice tests are consistent with the scores of kids who eventually get into "EBS" (Everywhere But Stuyvesant) and about 75% of the time would get him into Stuy as well. Here are my questions:

    1) How predictive of the eventual SHSAT score did those of you who have been through the process find a student's performance on Practice Tests? I'm pretty familiar with the math that estimates the conversion of Raw Scores with DOE Scores (and, yes, I do know that the algorithm changes every year and that the DOE has never released an equivalency code breaker).

    2) What are the relative merits of BX Sci and Stuy?

    3) Is Stuyvesant really the "pressure cooker" that it is made out to be or is that just put out by disgruntled students/parents or disappointed applicants/parents?

    4) What is your impression of Lehman...or any school I haven't mentioned with which you are familiar. I'm intrigued by Brooklyn Latin, but it doesn't seem to be my son's cup of tea.

    5) If you don't mind sharing the information, where do you or your "child" go to HS? Are you happy there? If you could have gone anywhere in the DOE's SHS universe, where do you wish you (or your child) had gone?

    Thanks so much! I appreciate any advice or help or information any of you can give.

  2. #2
    Hello, Well it is kind of late now after the test but my boy hopes for Stuy or Science or Tech. What did you chose? and did you ever find out if the practice tests bare any connection to the actual tests? What did your son think? I never heard the EBS comment. Thanks!

  3. #3
    My son is a sophomore at HSAS (American Studies at Lehman). He really loves it. Freshman year was very homework-heavy, sophomore year has been lighter so far. It's a pretty tight-knit group of like-minded kids. It's also a really small and personable school--each class is under 90 kids, so they all get to know each other. From what we've seen, each class pretty much sticks to itself socially. I imagine things loosen up a bit for juniors and seniors when they have a little more freedom to choose classes. 9th & 10th are the same schedule for everyone. Sports are not a focus, although the teams hold their own in competition, and it seems that any kid who is willing to dress out and come to practice is welcome on a team. Traditional high school activities like dances and homecoming and football games are not a factor here (although I suspect that's the case in many NYC high schools.)

    The only drawback for us is the commute. From our part of Queens, it's a little over an hour via two trains. We did the private bus the first year, but it's expensive and my son didn't use it enough to make it worthwhile.

    Stuy is not necessarily the best school, and it may or may not be the best school for your son. I think it's more important to really look at where your child excels and what they love to learn about and choose a school with some degree of focus there. My son loves history and culture, so HSAS was the right choice for him. They're all amazing schools, and never forget the benefit of being in a school full of likeminded kids who do actually want to be there. It's probably not at all like where you went to high school (it's not like where I went to high school). There are zero discipline issues, for instance, and kids tend to be attentive in class. (Just checked with my son to confirm.) They are motivated and engaged, and having your child in an environment like that is a huge benefit and a positive influence.

    Good luck with the search! It's a journey.

  4. #4

    reply to momin astoria

    Hello

    Mom in Astoria,

    Thank you so much for your honet and open letter. My son is taking SHSAT in 9 days (with the 9th graders) and we are so happy to read your post. I hear good/great things about HS Leman yet my son did not like it for him as he does not like very small schools and in fact, wishes for a very large school. So for that reason only, it is out. Also, he hates ss do we commutes. He also wants football teams 9like stuy has) and all that. I think a child who loves history and culture could not do better than the school your son chose. My son does not have the focus yours does.. that is, he is not sure what he "loves" and so wants a school that has a broad focus. This knocks out most of the NYC schools. He likes Beacon but there is a humanities focus that they do not seem want to admit. Stuy is what he wants mainly because it is a very short commute. End of story. He does not look forward to the homeworkload (if, that is , he would have the luck to get in). May I ask if the practice tests from handbooks resemble the real test? My other son attends High School for drafting but that is what he has always wanted. My daughter attends catholic but that is another story.
    Thank you so so so very much.


    many NYC high schools.)

    The only drawback for us is the commute. From our part of Queens, it's a little over an hour via two trains. We did the private bus the first year, but it's expensive and my son didn't use it enough to make it worthwhile.

    Stuy is not necessarily the best school, and it may or may not be the best school for your son. I think it's more important to really look at where your child excels and what they love to learn about and choose a school with some degree of focus there. My son loves history and culture, so HSAS was the right choice for him. They're all amazing schools, and never forget the benefit of being in a school full of likeminded kids who do actually want to be there. It's probably not at all like where you went to high school (it's not like where I went to high school). There are zero discipline issues, for instance, and kids tend to be attentive in class. (Just checked with my son to confirm.) They are motivated and engaged, and having your child in an environment like that is a huge benefit and a positive influence.

    Good luck with the search! It's a journey.[/QUOTE]

  5. #5
    Hi UWS Boy- you can't beat a short commute. But the homework load at Stuy will be big, no question. And I believe that even though the school has a reputation for being a strong STEM school, there are kids who go there and structure a program that's more generalized. With a school that big, there's more flexibility in the curriculum that we're getting at HSAS.

    As far as I know, the practice tests are a good analogue for the real test. I haven't heard otherwise.

    Good luck to your son next weekend! I am bracing myself for next year when I'll have to go through the process again with my now-7th grader. Yikes.

  6. #6
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    I hadn't returned to this Board for a while and was happy to see a few responses to my August post. Thank you. I'd given up!

    FWIW, here's what I have learned about the Practice Tests.

    The Kaplan tests seem to be viewed as a little harder than the "real" test. There are books of practice tests from Argo and Bespoke that are supposed to be harder than the Kaplan tests. One can also take the "real" test from the last few years at at least one of the tutoring places. If one can afford a Private Tutor, it is a very good investment. So, putting aside the unknown impact of the anxieties associated with "Test Day" itself, it's possible to get a pretty good idea where your own kid stands. My son scored consistently over 600 on the Practice Tests after the first one or two, but one never knows...

    The feedback that I've heard from this year's test has been mixed. I know at least one Manhattan public Middle School with a very strong reputation and that is considered a "feeder school" for Hunter and Stuyvesant where students have reported that they were unable to finish the test on time. Others have said that the test was "easier" than they expected and that they finished with 10 or 15 minutes to spare (I always wonder when I hear that...). There were also apparently different versions of the test.

    Yes, I've heard great things about Lehman. I actually think that it's going to be a "hot" school this year, so the cutoff score might well be very high, given the relatively small number accepted..

    My impression of Stuyvesant is that it's a school to which one should go with one's eyes completely open. It is a tough environment, but for those who fit with the environment, it is a great place.

    I have heard very good things about Bronx Sci and generally think that people should take the unfortunate media stories with a big grain of salt. It is as academically rigorous as Stuyvesant and it is apparently also a supportive environment focused on the success of individual students.

    So, thanks to the parents who answered my request for information...albeit a little later than I had hoped. Thanks again for the wonderful description of Stuyvesant above by a current student!

  7. #7
    You're welcome--curious, why do you feel HSAS will be in higher demand this year? Buzz from other parents in your cohort? The only drawback in my opinion is the frankly brutal commute from most of the city.

    I would not pay much attention to the recent bad press around Bronx Sci. I think the press is just making a lot of the fact that the "nerd" school is up to something so unexpected. I find the Bx Sci/HSAS rivalry endlessly amusing. HSAS kids trash-talk the Bx Sci kids all the time--and I imagine the reverse is true.

  8. #8
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    Quote Originally Posted by MomInAstoria View Post
    You're welcome--curious, why do you feel HSAS will be in higher demand this year? Buzz from other parents in your cohort? The only drawback in my opinion is the frankly brutal commute from most of the city.

    I would not pay much attention to the recent bad press around Bronx Sci. I think the press is just making a lot of the fact that the "nerd" school is up to something so unexpected. I find the Bx Sci/HSAS rivalry endlessly amusing. HSAS kids trash-talk the Bx Sci kids all the time--and I imagine the reverse is true.
    Well, the Lehman and Bx Sci commutes are identical, so both schools would be ruled out, I guess, for parents who find it inconvenient.

    I don't have any "data based" evidence to back up my Lehman comment other than just what I hear from my son and other parents. So, just take that for what its worth...

    I don't understand the Bx Sci brouhaha. But, all you need is one parent who is disgruntled for whatever reason (legitimate or not) to make noise and point a reporter in a desired direction. I have no basis for saying that that is the case in this regard, but it's one possible explanation. The child of a friend of mine goes there and my friend speaks very highly of the school and is very involved in the school.

  9. #9
    My son took the SHSAT last month. He says the test was easier than he expected and that he finished with 10-15 minutes to spare. I have no reason not to believe him. He ranked HSAS first.
    Quote Originally Posted by NYParent View Post
    I hadn't returned to this Board for a while and was happy to see a few responses to my August post. Thank you. I'd given up!

    FWIW, here's what I have learned about the Practice Tests.

    The Kaplan tests seem to be viewed as a little harder than the "real" test. There are books of practice tests from Argo and Bespoke that are supposed to be harder than the Kaplan tests. One can also take the "real" test from the last few years at at least one of the tutoring places. If one can afford a Private Tutor, it is a very good investment. So, putting aside the unknown impact of the anxieties associated with "Test Day" itself, it's possible to get a pretty good idea where your own kid stands. My son scored consistently over 600 on the Practice Tests after the first one or two, but one never knows...

    The feedback that I've heard from this year's test has been mixed. I know at least one Manhattan public Middle School with a very strong reputation and that is considered a "feeder school" for Hunter and Stuyvesant where students have reported that they were unable to finish the test on time. Others have said that the test was "easier" than they expected and that they finished with 10 or 15 minutes to spare (I always wonder when I hear that...). There were also apparently different versions of the test.

    Yes, I've heard great things about Lehman. I actually think that it's going to be a "hot" school this year, so the cutoff score might well be very high, given the relatively small number accepted..

    My impression of Stuyvesant is that it's a school to which one should go with one's eyes completely open. It is a tough environment, but for those who fit with the environment, it is a great place.

    I have heard very good things about Bronx Sci and generally think that people should take the unfortunate media stories with a big grain of salt. It is as academically rigorous as Stuyvesant and it is apparently also a supportive environment focused on the success of individual students.

    So, thanks to the parents who answered my request for information...albeit a little later than I had hoped. Thanks again for the wonderful description of Stuyvesant above by a current student!

  10. #10
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    Quote Originally Posted by bigapplemama View Post
    My son took the SHSAT last month. He says the test was easier than he expected and that he finished with 10-15 minutes to spare. I have no reason not to believe him. He ranked HSAS first.
    thanks for the response.
    yes, that was exactly what my son said including the 10--15 minutes...makes me a little nervous that he thought it was easier...makes me worry that he missed something

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