LaGuardia High School Overview
LaGuardia’s High School’s reputation precedes it: not only is it one of NYC’s 9 specialized high schools, it is also THE “Fame School.” Founded in 1936, LaGuardia boasts many notable artists and performers among its alumni, including Nicki Minaj, Ansel Elgort, Timothée Chalamet, and Jennifer Anniston.
LaGuardia is truly unique in offering its students a first-rate high school education along with conservatory-style arts programs, not to mention the fact that it’s completely free to attend! Intrigued? Here’s what you need to know about LaGuardia and its application process.
Where is LaGuardia High School located?
LaGuardia is located on 100 Amsterdam Avenue on the Upper West Side of New York, very close to Lincoln Center. It is accessible via several major subway and bus lines.
Photo By Ajay Suresh from New York, NY, USA - Fiorello H LaGuardia High School, CC BY 2.0, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=80475394
Why is LaGuardia High School famous?
LaGuardia High School is famous primarily on account of its many alumni who have gone on to become famous artists and entertainers. This has earned LaGuardia the moniker, “the fame school.” In fact, there are so many notable alumni, we could take up the whole article listing them! Take a look at the list on LaGuardia’s alumni website and get inspired.
What does LaGuardia High School specialize in?
LaGuardia High School specializes in the creative and performing arts. Students are sorted into one of five majors: vocal music, instrumental music, visual arts, dance, drama, and technical theater. What makes LaGuardia so unique is that in addition to normal high school courses, students spend about 2-3 units per day in classes pertaining to their major. Each year, LaGuardia aslo puts on a musical production as a collaborative effort among students and teachers from multiple departments.
Does LaGuardia have a Middle School?
No, LaGuardia is only for high school.
LaGuardia High School Ranking
According to US News, LaGuardia is ranked #16 in New York Public High Schools and #28 in New York High Schools.
LaGuardia High School Admission Requirements
Although LaGuardia is one of the 9 specialized high schools of New York City, it is the only one that does not require the SHSAT as a requirement for admissions (unlike the other 8, for which admission is based entirely on the SHSAT).
Instead, students must go through an intensive audition process for their program or programs of choice. Each of the majors has its own specific requirements. Although talent is essential, so are strong academics, LaGuardia also requires that students have at least a 65 (it was 80 in previous years) in each of their core academic courses, a Level 2 or higher on standardized ELA and math tests, and good attendance.
How competitive is LaGuardia High School?
Admission to LaGuardia is highly competitive. Thousands of students audition each year for a limited number of seats.
LaGuardia High School Admission Process
Originally, applicants to LaGuardia High School were required to audition or submit a portfolio in person for their program of choice. However, due to the Covid-19 pandemic, all auditions have been virtual for the past few years. This year, some programs offered students the alternative of auditioning in person. At the moment, it is unclear where digital auditions will continue, if they will eventually go back to being in-person, or if there will be a combination of both. Students currently submit all audition materials through their MySchools account.
Each of the five majors has their own requirements, and some can be quite involved. For example, students applying to the visual arts program need to submit a portfolio of 4-8 pieces; students applying to the drama program need to submit two recorded monologues etc.. The audition requirements for each major are outlined here at the NY Department of Education website.
Fortunately, once students have put together their audition material for LaGuardia, they can use those same materials to apply to any of the other audition-based public high schools in NYC, provided these schools have the same arts discipline. In other words, if you submit a drama audition to LaGuardia, you can also submit that same audition to Talent Unlimited High School, Brooklyn High School of the Arts or any of the other theater arts high schools. The NYC Department of Education offers 77 audition (arts) program options across 25 high schools, so having a strong talent can really pay off in getting a student multiple high school offers!
Getting Into LaGuardia High School: Top 5 Tips
- Research LaGuardia High School. You can learn more about LaGuardia and its programs by visiting its website here. It’s alway important to have a good sense of a school and why you want to go there. Imagining yourself at a particular school or program can help motivate you to do your best during the admissions process.
- Consider auditioning for multiple majors. Students are allowed to audition for more than one major, so if you’re multi-talented, you may want to apply to a few in order to increase your chances of admission. Some of the majors are smaller and more competitive than others, so it’s very possible you could get into one and not the other.
- Make sure your grades, attendance, and exam scores meet the requirements. Even if your audition is amazing, you still won’t get into LaGuardia if you don’t meet its minimum academic requirements. Keep this in mind going into 7th grade.
- Prepare your portfolio/audition materials early. The audition requirements for LaGuardia require a lot of work and preparation, so we strongly suggest starting early, either at the end of 7th grade or the summer before 8th. High school admissions season is already hectic and busy; you don’t want to be scrambling to put together your audition materials at the last minute and have to compromise on the quality.
- Have fun! Putting together an audition for LaGuardia is a lot of work, but it can also be a lot of fun. Furthermore, the joy and love you put into your audition materials will almost certainly come across to the admissions committee.
If you have any sort of talent, we always recommend applying to LaGuardia or any of the other audition-based high schools as part of a larger admissions strategy. Due to the unpredictability of the lottery system for general education public schools, and the highly competitive nature of the SHSAT, applying to a few audition based schools is a great way to increase the number of potential offers you may receive.
Ivy Tutors Network also offers Audition Prep for students who would like advice on putting together their portfolio or refining their audition tape. All our tutors are academic rockstars, but many of them are also talented artists, some of whom even attended LaGuardia or practice at the professional level. Whether it's singing, acting, dancing, or painting, Ivy Tutors SHSAT test prep can help you hit that high note, paint that still life, or perfect that pirouette!