Admissions » Admissions Criteria

Admissions Criteria

Welcome to High School Admissions

COVID-19 has had a profound impact across every aspect of our school system, including the admissions process. As a result, NYC is updating our pre-pandemic admissions timeline to ensure ample time for families to explore schools and apply once the application launches. Please note:

  • The high school application is not yet open, and no longer closes on December 4, 2020. You will have additional time to apply.


We appreciate your patience and will update this page with more detailed information and timelines as soon as we can.


Our Selection Criteria

Townsend Harris students are life-long achievers. Their dedication to personal development and academic discipline begins long before they reach our school and continues long after.

Students from all five boroughs of New York City are eligible to apply to Townsend Harris and are selected through a competitive screening process rather than by a single entrance exam. Admission for entering ninth-grade students is based on 7th-grade standardized-test scores, final report card grades, and attendance. Admission for entering tenth-grade students is based on 8th-grade standardized-test scores, final report card grades, and attendance.

To be considered for admission, students must have:

Have a minimum overall average of 90%.

(Students who have higher scores are more likely to be selected.)

Excellent standardized test scores.

(Students who have higher scores are more likely to be selected. ELA and Math test results will not be the sole, primary or major factor in admissions decisions, consistent with applicable law. Instead, multiple measures, which may include State test results, will be used to make admissions decisions for screened/audition programs)

All students need excellent attendance and punctuality.

We use a combination of the criteria above to select the strongest candidates. Students with higher averages and scores are much more likely to be selected.




A little more about our screening process:

Our Screened program evaluates applicants for admission based on the selection criteria above (attendance, standardized test scores, and grades), and we assign a ranking number to applicants based on that evaluation. Our ranking process is done in rounds, first we select the top students in each Queens High School Zone, then the top students in the other boroughs, then students in private school. With the goal of having a diversified student body.

Students apply to Townsend Harris through their home school, whether it is public or private. For more information on the admission process, see your current counselor and/or use this link:


NYCDOE Tip: For a more detailed look at how offers are made to screened and audition programs, watch the video "How Students Get Offers to Screened Schools and the Specialized High Schools" on our website.


Check out our Virtual Open House Page!


For more information, please see attached rubric.