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How to Get into Catholic High Schools

How to Get into Catholic High Schools

Catholic schools come in many shapes and sizes. In this article, we will introduce you to the different types of Catholic schools, how they differ from each other, and what you need to know to apply.

Lisa Speransky
Lisa Speransky
High School Admissions

Catholic schools come in many shapes and sizes. In this article, we will introduce you to the different types of Catholic schools, how they differ from each other, and what you need to know to apply.

Types of Catholic High Schools in NYC

Here is a brief overview of the different types of Catholic schools in NYC:

Parish High Schools

These schools are run by the diocese and follow a different school calendar than either public or private schools. While not free, they are often relatively low cost compared to private schools. Each of them varies in quality, price, and other factors. For example, some may have lay faculty, while others may have Jesuit fathers as teachers. Students don’t need to be Catholic to attend, but there will definitely be religious components to the experience, such as daily prayer and regular attendance of mass.

Independent/Private Catholic Schools

These schools are Catholic, but are not run by the diocese. Some of these schools include Xavier High School, Fordham Preparatory School, Marymount, and Loyola. They are essentially private schools with the addition of Catholic elements, such as chapel, prayer, or religion courses.


Regis is one the Independent Catholic schools, but works a bit differently from the others. For one, it is completely free to attend. In fact, it is the only free, private all-scholarship school in the United States. However, you must be a “baptized Catholic boy” to apply, which makes it inaccessible for many students. Still, if you meet the criteria, Regis provides an excellent education and is definitely one to consider.

Photo by Ajay Suresh

Why Go to Catholic High School?

There are many reasons why a family may choose to send their child to Catholic school. For some families, the Catholic faith may be important, but there are many other potential benefits to attending these schools for catholics and non-catholics alike. Catholic schools that are run by the diocese can provide a more individualized education than public schools but at a lower price point than private schools.

Many Catholic schools also have excellent sports programs and strong relationships with college recruiters, making them a desirable choice for serious athletes. Last not but not least, top rated Catholic high schools simply provide excellent educations for their students - reason enough for any family!

Catholic High Schools Admissions Process

For the parish schools, students must register and sit for the TACHS exam, which is given once a year in November. Prior to the exam, students must choose their 3 top choice schools they would like their scores sent to. These scores are then evaluated, along with their school transcripts and other criteria, to determine acceptances. You can register for the TACHs exam online at Tachsinfo.com or by telephone at 1-866-61TACHS (1-866-618-2247).

Each of the independent Catholic schools has their own admissions processes, but they function more or less like other private schools. Depending on the schools, there may be application essays, interviews, and other requirements. For testing, some schools may accept the TACHS, but like most other private schools, they tend to use the ISEE or SSAT. You should look up the individual admissions requirements for each of the schools you wish to apply to. For more information, check out our article about private school admissions.

Test for Admission into Catholic High Schools

When do Catholic high schools send acceptance letters?

Schools that base admissions on the TACHs will notify students of their acceptance in mid January.

Independent Catholic schools will notify students around the same time as other private schools, which is typically in mid March.

How to get scholarships for Catholic high schools

For parish schools, families can submit a Financial Assistance application once they have submitted their Admissions Application. Learn more about their financial aid programs here.

The independent schools also have their own financial aid and scholarship program, which will vary depending on the school. Many schools use a 3rd party financial aid software to determine who gets tuition assistance, while others have their own in-house calculations. And Regis, of course, is completely free for all students who are accepted!

Work with professionals and get into the Catholic high school of your choice

We hope this overview was useful. Ivy Tutors Network is proud to offer test preparation for the TACHS, ISSE, SSAT exams. Start by booking a diagnostic exam, then match with one of our expert tutors to help your child gain confidence, reach their target score, and get into their top choice schools!

Want to get a head start on the NYC high school admissions process? Check out our FREE NYC High School Admissions Workbook, designed by experts to guide you on your admissions journey!


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