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Admissions Criteria

NYC Public Schools Fall 2024 Admissions

Criteria for Applying to Ninth Grade

Assessment for Townsend Harris High School

Submit the essay and video through Myschools
You can find a video tutorial here.
This school has a Diversity in Admissions Initiative.
  • Applicants eligible for free or reduced price lunch will be considered first for 50% of seats.
  • For the remaining 50% of seats, all students will be considered.

2023-2024 Admissions Assessment Questions for Townsend Harris High School


Please complete all parts of this assessment: Humanities Writing and Video.  You can access a document with all the prompts and resources in one place at


Preface: All students at Townsend Harris High School swear “The Ephebic Oath.” The below assessment asks you to explore and analyze different aspects of it. You can view the full oath here (or at


Part 1: Video

Please submit a 2 minute (maximum time) video that includes ALL of the following:

  1. An introduction to you
  2. An answer to the questions below:

We believe that every student has a special and unique artistic, intellectual and personal talent, interest, ability and/or gift that can enrich our school community. Our Ephebic Oath states that we promise to “leave our city greater than we found it.” Identify two talents, interests, abilities or gifts you possess that would enrich our school community and how you would “leave it greater than you found it.”


Part 2: Humanities Writing

Please respond to the below prompt. Your response should be between 250-500 words (approximately 1200-2500 characters).


The Prompt:

The most famous line from the Ephebic Oath is “I shall not leave my city any less but rather greater than I found it.” However, the Ephebic Oath also states, “I…shall resist anyone who destroys the laws or disobeys them.”


In his “Letter from Birmingham Jail,” Martin Luther King, Jr. wrote the following: “An individual who breaks a law that conscience tells him is unjust, and who willingly accepts the penalty of imprisonment in order to arouse the conscience of the community over its injustice, is in reality expressing the highest respect for the law.”


Considering Dr. King’s statement, should Townsend Harris students swear to “resist anyone who…disobeys [the law]”?


Develop and support a perspective on the above question. Use the two resources below to help you develop your response.


The Resources:

Resource 1: “The Rebellion has begun” by Greta Thunberg (you can also access at


Resource 2: “Rule of Law” a video produced by the Administrative Office of the U.S. Courts (you can also access at


The 9th Grade Admissions Rubric:

Please click here.


Criteria for Applying to Tenth Grade

For Fall 2024 admissions, screened programs admit the top-performing applicants from across each middle school and citywide. Students will be admitted to screened programs in group order, starting with students in group one.


Students fall into a screened admissions groups based on the average of their final seventh-grade core course grades (ELA, Math, Science, Social Studies). This average must fall into the top percentage of students citywide or at a student’s school in order to fall within a certain admissions group.


Ninth grade applicants to tenth grade seats will be grouped based on their final eighth-grade grades.


To fall into the top __% of applicants citywide… An applicant needs average core course grades of at least:
Top 15% (Group 1) 93.25
Top 30% (Group 2) 88.25
Top 50% (Group 3) 81.00
Top 70% (Group 4) 74.00

*Students with an average lower than a 90 will not fall into Group 1, even if they are in the top 15% of their NYC Public School. This will be the case for students with an average lower than an 80 for group 2, lower than a 75 for group 3, and lower than 65 for group 4.


If there are more applicants in group one than available seats at a program, students from group one will be randomly selected for seats using the random number linked to each applicant’s application. If all students in group one can be accommodated at a school, students in group two will be considered next; if there are more applicants in group two than remaining available seats, then students in group two will be randomly selected for available seats. This will continue with subsequent groups until all seats are filled.


Applicants from charter schools are eligible for an admissions group based on the citywide averages and their school averages if their school provides the NYC Public Schools with grades for all students at that charter school. Applicants from non-NYC Public Schools or other charter schools are eligible for an admissions group only by meeting the citywide average.


When the HS application opens, students will be able to see which screened admissions group they are in on their MySchools profile. On the dashboard, click on “Edit profile” just above your child’s name. Scroll down to see the screened admissions group.


This school has a Diversity in Admissions Initiative.
  • Applicants eligible for free or reduced price lunch will be considered first for 50% of seats.
  • For the remaining 50% of seats, all students will be considered.

NYC Public Schools Admissions Timeline*

Below are the application open, close, and offer release dates. These dates are for students who are applying during the 2023-2024 school year for admission in the 2024-2025 school year.


*Please note: These dates are subject to change. Any changes will be announced and communicated directly to families. Sign up for updates here.


High School Admissions

  • Tuesday, October 3, 2023: High School Application & Specialized High Schools Admissions Test (SHSAT) Registration Opens 
  • Friday, October 27, 2023: SHSAT Registration Closes 
  • Friday, December 1, 2023: High School Application Closes 
  • Thursday, March 7, 2024: High School Offer Release

How to Apply

During the application period, you can submit your application one of the following three ways: