Middle School

In New York City, most students apply to middle school during their fifth grade year. Watch our video series and read this page to learn all about middle school admissions this year.

Happening Now

Get your middle school offer! 

  • You can view your child's offer letter now in MySchools.
  • Offer letters have also been mailed to families who opted for paper notifications or who do not have MySchools accounts.
  • Don't have a MySchools account or need help accessing your offer? Talk to your school counselor or contact a Family Welcome Center.

Your offer letter includes your child's offer to a middle school program, information about where your child is automatically waitlisted (if applicable), and any next steps. Please note: There is nothing you need to do to accept your middle school offer.

Learn about waitlists

Waitlists are a way for programs to fill any open seats after offers are released and before school starts in the fall. Being on a waitlist means your child does not have an offer to that program, and not all students on waitlists will receive a waitlist offer.

  • You are automatically on the waitlist for any program that you listed higher on your child's application than the program where you received an offer, or to all programs on your application if your offer is to a program not listed there. 
  • Middle school waitlists will open later this week. When waitlists are open, you can use MySchools to do all of the following:
    • See where you are waitlisted
    • Add yourself to additional programs' waitlists (optional)
    • Check your position on any program's waitlist
    • Accept or decline a waitlist offer, if you receive one
  • If a school can make your child a waitlist offer, they will contact you directly.
  • Learn more on our Waitlists page.

Need a middle school for your child right now? 

Learn what to do on our New Students page.

Who Can Apply?

All New York City children are guaranteed a seat at a public middle school. Apply to middle school when your child is in their last year of elementary school. Your child must be both of the following to apply:

  • A NYC resident (this includes students who have temporarily moved out of New York City during the COVID-19 pandemic)
  • A current fifth grade student, or a current sixth grade student if their elementary school ends in sixth grade*

Our middle schools welcome and serve all of the following:

*Additionally: Current fourth grade students who live or go to school in District 3 can apply to the Center School (03xM243); current fourth grade students who live or go to school in Queens can apply to Louis Armstrong Middle School (30Q227); and all current sixth grade students can apply to Baccalaureate School for Global Education (30Q580).

Understand Your Child's Middle School Options

Before you begin exploring middle schools, it's helpful to learn about the options your child has and is eligible for. You can look up or search for middle school programs in the searchable online directory at MySchools.nyc

  • During the application period, when you're logged in to your MySchools account, you will have a directory experience personalized to your child. This means that your search will include as options only the middle school programs that they’re eligible to attend. If a program is one that your child can't apply to, it will not show up in your account as an option.
  • When the application period is closed, or when you are not logged in to your account, all middle schools in the city will appear as search options. If you are using this public view, be sure to check any program's Eligibility Information (see below) to see if your child can apply.

Eligibility Information

A program's eligibility tells you who can apply to it. For instance, if a program’s eligibility is “Open to students and residents of District 27,” this means that only students who live or attend public elementary schools in District 27 can apply. Students who live and attend schools in other districts are not eligible to apply to that program, and will not see or have it as an option on their application.

Middle school programs have different eligibility criteria:

  • District programs are open to students in the district where your family is zoned for middle school and, when different, in the district where your child goes to public elementary school. 
    • Some district programs are open only to students who live or go to school in that district.
    • Other district programs may be open to a smaller group of applicants. If a program’s eligibility is “Open to students who live in the zone,” this means it’s only open to applicants who live in the smaller geographic zone around a particular school (rather than the larger middle school district).
  • Boroughwide programs are open to all students in a particular borough.
    • Staten Island has only one district (District 31), therefore all students in Staten Island have boroughwide eligibility to all Staten Island middle schools.
    • All students in the Bronx have boroughwide eligibility to all Bronx middle schools, in all Bronx districts. This means:
      • All Bronx middle schools will appear as options for your child's middle school application.
      • All students who live or go to school in a Bronx district will have an admissions priority to attend middle schools in that district or districts.
      • If seats remain, applicants who live and go to school in other Bronx districts will then be considered for admission.
  • Citywide programs are open to all NYC students.

Schools and Programs

When you apply to middle schools, you’re really applying to middle school programs. Think of programs as doorways into a school. Some middle schools have more than one program, such as a general education program and a Dual Language Spanish program. If you’re interested in applying to more than one program at the same school, each program counts as a separate choice on your child’s application.

Explore Middle Schools and Programs

There are a few different ways you can use MySchools to find programs for your child's application:
  • Search for specific schools. Type any school's name in the search box to learn more about it.
  • Search for schools based on your own criteria. Consider what matters most to your child and family. You can search for schools by features or offerings: try typing "debate" or "band" in the search box.
  • Filter to narrow your search. Use the filter buttons below the search box to narrow your search results based on what is important to you, such as accessibility, location near a specific subway line, sports offered, and more.
  • Learn about your zoned school, if you have one. Many middle school students in New York City attend their zoned school. If you have any zoned schools, your child has a priority to attend them.
    • During the application period, log in to MySchools to learn if your child has a zoned school or schools. Your account will also show the district(s) where your child can attend district middle school programs (their middle school district and, if different, the district where they attend elementary school).
    • Any time of year, learn about your child's zoned middle school(s) and middle school district by entering your address here or calling 311.
  • Read on to better understand how students get middle school offers and what this means when you choose programs for your child's application.

You can also enter a school's name at schools.nyc.gov/Find-a-School to read its School Quality Snapshot, School Quality Guide, and other reports.

More Middle School Options

Find Out About Virtual Events and Resources

Most years, visiting a school can help you learn if it may be the right place for your child. It’s also a great way to see how long the trip is from home. This year, schools are encouraged to create virtual resources for applicants to learn about their schools. Check schools' MySchools pages for links to their websites, where you can find information about any virtual events, as well as resources like video tours. We recommend contacting schools directly for the most recent information, such as whether they will hold virtual open houses or information sessions.

Past Events: Middle School Admissions Information Sessions

In late January, we hosted virtual admissions information sessions for families applying to middle school. Watch our video below of the recorded presentation. 

Learn How Students Get Offers

2021 Admissions Update: Screening Paused

This year, DOE public middle schools that used to screen applicants will not use academic records, auditions, or other screens or assessments to evaluate or admit students.

  • Screening will be paused for 2021 admissions, meaning for students applying to middle schools this winter and entering middle school in fall 2021.
  • If any middle school program has more applicants than available seats, offers will be made to that program using admissions priorities and randomly assigned numbers (as in a lottery). This is how most middle school programs in New York City already admitted students.
  • We will initiate further talks with school communities to help inform the use of screens for future years.

Admissions Factors

How can you know your child's chances of getting an offer to a specific program?And how do you increase your chances of getting an offer to a program on your application? It helps to start by learning how offers are made. Students get offers to programs based on four key factors:

  1. Your application choices. The number of program choices you add to your child’s application AND the order in which you place them matter! This is a factor you can control. Add 12 choices to your child’s application in your true order of preference. Then submit the application.
  2. Each program's available seats.  The number of available seats varies from program to program.
  3. Your priority group for each program. Some programs give an admissions priority to specific groups of applicants before others, such as to students who live in a specific zone or district. If there are more applicants to one of these programs than seats available, applicants are admitted in priority-group order: all students in a program’s priority group 1 will be considered first. Then if seats are still available, students in that program’s priority group 2 will be considered next, and so on. Learn which priority group your child is in for each program. They will be in different priority groups for different programs.
  4. Your randomly assigned number.  Each middle school applicant is assigned a random number by a computer, as in a lottery. When there are more applicants than seats, these random numbers are used (within priority groups, when applicable) to determine who gets offers to a program first, and in what order. 

To learn more about how each of these factors works, read on and watch the following videos—learn why your middle school application choices matter and find out about other factors, such as admissions priorities and seat availability.

Factor: Your Application Choices

The most important factor in determining where your child goes to middle school is how you complete their middle school application. When you are logged in to MySchools, you will see as options all the middle school programs that your child is eligible to add to their application.

  • Save programs of interest by clicking the stars next to their names. This will add them to your list of Favorites.
  • Choose up to 12 programs that your child would like to attend. You can add programs directly from the directory or from your Favorites list to your child’s application.
    • Adding more choices increases your chances of getting an offer to one of those choices; it does NOT lower your chance of getting an offer to any of your top choice programs.
    • You have the same chance of getting an offer from your top choice whether you include only that choice or eleven additional choices below it.
  • Be sure to place these programs on the application in your true order of preference, with your child’s first-choice program at the top as #1, their second-choice program as #2, and so on.
    • This order matters! Your child will be considered for their first-choice program first. If they don’t get an offer to their first choice, then they will be considered for their second-choice program as though it were their first choice, and so on.
    • Middle schools will not see this order, so they will not know if they are your first or twelfth choice.
    • Your child will get an offer from their highest possible choice considering the other factors discussed in this section.

Remember: Submitting a middle school application is your best opportunity for your child to get an offer to a school you prefer, so be sure to make thoughtful choices!

Factor: Seats and Demand

Each middle school has a specific number of seats for sixth grade students.

Seat Groups

Each program admits general education students and students with disabilities.

For Your Application: Your middle school application will show your designation. This is not something you are able to choose or edit.

Students with Disabilities General Education Students
  • For students who are recommended for special education instructional programming for more than 20% of their academic program as indicated on their current IEP
  • For students who do not have IEPs
  • For students with IEPs recommending related services only
  • For students with IEPs recommending special education instructional programming for 20% or less of their academic program as indicated on their current IEP

Special education instructional programming includes Integrated Co-Teaching (ICT) classes, Special Class (SC), and Special Education Teacher Support Services (SETSS). Adapted Physical Education (APE) and Related services, such as speech, occupational therapy (OT), and physical therapy (PT), are not considered special education instructional programming for the purposes of middle school admissions.

Please note that students with 504 Plans are not entitled to seats for students with disabilities if they do not have an IEP recommending the student also receive special education instructional programming for more than 20% of their academic program.

Demand

  • You can find out how many students a program accepted last year (Seats) and how many total students applied for those seats (Applicants) in the Admissions > Seats and Demand section of MySchools.
  • You can learn how high-demand, or popular, a program was by how many people applied for each available seat (Applicants Per Seat)—a higher number of applicants per seat means higher demand. Note that all numbers in MySchools are from last year.

For Your Application: It's a good idea to apply to some average-demand programs rather than all high-demand programs. The higher a program's applicants per seat (demand), the lower chance any applicant has to get an offer to it.

Factor: Priority Groups

A program’s admissions priorities determine the order in which applicants are considered for offers to each program. If a program has multiple admissions priorities, students are considered in groups.

  • All students in priority group 1 will be considered first.
  • Then, if seats are still available, students in priority group 2 will be considered next, and so on.

Admissions priorities are only used if a program has more applicants than available seats.

Here are examples of some admissions priorities you might see in MySchools and what they mean:

Admissions Priority Description
Priority to continuing 5th graders
  • Students who currently attend a school that continues to eighth or twelfth grade are guaranteed an offer to continue attending a program at that school if they add it to their middle school application.
  • Applicants will first be considered for any programs that they placed higher in their applications. You do NOT need to place your child’s continuing school as your first choice program to be guaranteed an offer there, but you do have to add it as one of your choices.
Priority to students and residents of the district Students may have priority based on the district, borough, or geographic area where they live and/or go to public school. If a student lives and goes to public school in different boroughs or districts, that student has priority in both places.
Priority to residents of the zone Students who are zoned to a middle school—or a campus containing multiple middle schools—have priority to attend the zoned program at that school or schools. To get this priority, be sure to add your zoned program(s) to your child’s middle school application. You do NOT need to rank your zoned school’s program as your first choice to get the priority.
Priority to applicants eligible for free and reduced lunch (FRL) for up to 50% of seats

  • This is one example of a Diversity in Admissions (DIA) priority. In this sample priority, applicants whose families meet a specific income requirement have priority to 50% of seats in this program.
  • Middle schools across the city are participating in an initiative to increase diversity within their programs—learn more about specific Diversity in Admissions priorities on our  Diversity in Admissions page and on programs' MySchools pages. 

For Your Application: As you explore your middle school options, check which admissions priority group your child is in for each program of interest.

  • Your child will be in different priority groups for different programs.
  • Consider applying to at least some programs where your child is in priority group 1. Your child will have a better chance of getting an offer to these programs than students in other priority groups.
  • Please note that schools with more than one middle school program may use different admissions priorities for each program.

How to Apply

Most NYC students apply to middle school during their fifth grade year, or if different, their final year of elementary school. Families apply by submitting a middle school application. 

During the application period, you can access your child's personalized online application. When you're logged in to your MySchools account, you can see and explore every middle school program where they are eligible to apply. From these options, you can add up to 12 middle school programs to your child’s application. Add the programs that interest you and your child the most and rank them in your true order of preference in the application.

  • Consider adding the programs where your child has an admissions priority or guarantee, such as their zoned school(s) or continuing school. You do not have to place any of these programs as your first choice to keep your priority.
  • Make an appointment to talk to your child's school counselor. Discuss your child's middle school application choices and how you plan to rank them.
  • Use MySchools to explore your child's middle school options.

During the application period, you can apply one of three ways:

  • Online at MySchools.nyc or
  • Through your current school counselor (for public DOE and charter school students)
  • Through a Family Welcome Center (for private or parochial school students)

You can apply in English, Arabic, Bangla, Chinese, French, Haitian Creole, Korean, Russian, Spanish, or Urdu in MySchools. If you would like to apply using another language, call us and ask for an interpreter.

Questions? We're here to help.

Get Your Middle School Offer Letter

Middle school offers for students entering middle school in fall 2021 are now available! View your offer in MySchools or learn more in the "Happening Now" section of this page.

In the spring, students get their middle school offers. All applicants get a middle school offer; most students get an offer to attend one of the programs ranked on their middle school application, but it is not guaranteed. Your child's offer letter will also include a list of programs where they’ve been waitlisted.

  • Your child is automatically on the waitlist for any program that you listed higher on their application than the program where they received an offer. For example, if your child received an offer to your third-choice program, they are automatically waitlisted at your first-choice and second-choice programs.
  • After initial offers are made and waitlists open, you can add your child to additional waitlists. (However, please note that your child's best chance of getting an offer to any program is to include it as a choice on their original application.)
  • You can also check your child's place on the waitlist for any school, in real time.
  • Waitlist offers are made based on seat availability, as well as the same admissions priorities and admissions methods described on this page and detailed in MySchools.
  • Schools will be in touch directly if a seat opens up and they can make your child a waitlist offer. 

Learn more on our Waitlists page and by watching the tutorial that follows.

Plan for High School

Your child will apply to high school during eighth grade.

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