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Best STEM High Schools in New York [Review 2024]

Best STEM High Schools in New York [Review 2024]

For those thinking about a career in science, technology, engineering, or mathematics, a STEM-focused school can set them on the path to success in higher education and a career.

Lisa Speransky
Lisa Speransky
High School Admissions
SHSAT
Advanced Placement
Academic
Photo by Jeswin Thomas on Unsplash

Choosing the right high school can be a stressful decision for middle school students (and their parents!). As the most diverse school system in the country, however, New York City also offers the most choices to students. For those thinking about a career in science, technology, engineering, or mathematics, a STEM-focused school can set them on the path to success in higher education and a career.

What is a STEM high school?

A STEM high school in New York is a public school that has chosen to offer a more robust set of math and science courses compared to its interdisciplinary counterparts. STEM high schools do not offer just math and science courses, however; they offer well-rounded curriculums that are in line with the regents requirements for graduation. There are several private schools that have strong STEM programs but the STEM designation is tied to public high schools in New York. This means that all of the schools listed below have no tuition fees for accepted students.

Best STEM High Schools in Manhattan

High School Math Science and Engineering at The City College of New York (CCNY)

Baskerville Hall, where HSMSE is located
By Ajay Suresh from New York, NY, USA - City College of New York - High School for Math, Science and Engineering at City College, CC BY 2.0, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=80081760

Location: 240 Convent Avenue, New York, NY

Website: https://www.hsmse.org/

Admissions: Requires the SHSAT. Students must typically score 89% or higher on the exam to earn a spot at the school.

The High School for Math, Science and Engineering (HSMSE) is one of eight highly selective specialized high schools established and run by the New York City Department of Education to serve the needs of academically gifted students. It was established in 2002 and has received recognition from The New York Times as one of the most diverse schools in New York. The school has partnerships with Mount Sinai Medical School and CCNY’s Grove School of Engineering, and is located in Baskerville Hall on the campus of City College of New York (CCNY).

Stuyvesant High School

A southward view of Stuyvesant High School from Hudson River Park, with the new World Trade Center in the distance
By PointsofNoReturn - Own work, CC BY-SA 3.0, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=33120578

Location: 345 Chambers Street, New York, NY

Website: https://stuy.enschool.org/

Admissions: Requires the SSHAT. Students must typically score 91% or higher on the exam to earn a spot at the school.

Stuyvesant High School is one of eight highly selective specialized high schools run by the New York City Department of Education to serve the needs of academically gifted students, though the school has a long history of academic excellence. It was founded in 1904 as an all-boys training school and became co-ed in 1969. It has a long history of serving the immigrant population of New York and remains one of the most diverse schools in NYC. The school offers a wide range of electives in addition to an impressive STEM curriculum.

Eleanor Roosevelt High School

Location: 411 East 76th Street, New York, NY

Website: https://www.erhsnyc.org/index.jsp

Admissions: The school uses a screened admissions process. No formal testing is required but students who want to earn a spot should have strong core course grades.

Eleanor Roosevelt High School is a highly sought-after, well-respected, college-preparatory NYC high school. It opened in September 2002 and was the product of a grass-roots effort of parents and community leaders to establish a comprehensive, rigorous high school for students on the Upper East Side of Manhattan. The school has a strong Advanced Placement (AP) Program and graduates about 135 students each year.

Best STEM High Schools in Brooklyn

Brooklyn Technical High School

Brooklyn Tech as seen from Ashland Place in Fort Greene
By Jim.henderson - Own work, CC0, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=18715334

Location: 29 Fort Greene Place, Brooklyn, NY

Website: https://www.bths.edu/

Admissions: Requires the SSHAT. Students must typically score 86% or higher on the exam to earn a spot at the school.

Brooklyn Technical High School is one of eight highly selective specialized high schools established and run by the New York City Department of Education to serve the needs of academically gifted students. Like many of its specialized peers, Brooklyn Technical has a long history of education in technical fields, first opening its doors in 1922. The school offers an impressive “Majors” program which allows students to select a specialization and take a set of selective courses during their junior and senior years.

Midwood High School at Brooklyn College

Part of Midwood's building and the new Bridge
By Alex Chung - Own work, CC BY-SA 3.0, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=17470923

Location: 839 Bedford Ave, Brooklyn, NY

Website: https://www.midwoodhighschool.org/

Admissions: There are no special requirements for admission to Midwood. General enrollment information on NYC Public Schools can be found here.


Midwood High School is a comprehensive high school located in the center of Brooklyn. They provide rigorous college preparatory instruction and offer a Medical Science Program requiring 5 years of math and science as well as opportunities in science research.The school is located on the Brooklyn College campus and has three main programs, Medical Science, Humanities, and Liberal Arts, all of which are academically challenging. They enroll roughly 4000 students and have extensive extracurricular and afterschool programming.

Benjamin Banneker Academy

Benjamin Banneker Academy (high school in Brooklyn, New York City)
By Jim.henderson - Own work, CC BY-SA 4.0, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=111083027

Location: 77 Clinton Ave, Brooklyn, NY

Website: https://benjaminbanneker.nyc/

Admissions: There are no special requirements for admission.

Benjamin Banneker Academy is a college-preparatory high school focused on rigorous critical thinking-based education. They offer 22 Advanced Placement courses and over 26 Dual Credit College Level Courses (students receive both college and high school credit). They have seen rapid gains in college readiness among their student body in recent years and have established partnerships with many local universities.

Best STEM High Schools in Bronx

The Bronx High School of Science (Bronx Science)

Bronx High School of Science, Bronx, NYC, USA
By Bxsstudent - Own work, Public Domain, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=4107045

Location: 75 Bronx Science Blvd, Bronx, NY

Website: https://bxscience.edu/

Admissions: Requires the SSHAT. Students must typically score 88% or higher on the exam to earn a spot at the school.

Bronx Science is one of eight highly selective specialized high schools established and run by the New York City Department of Education to serve the needs of academically gifted students. Founded in 1938, the school boasts nine Nobel prize winners among its alumni. The school is one of the most well known NYC high schools and prioritizes an impressive STEM curriculum while also providing an expertly staffed humanities program.

High School of American Studies at Lehman College (HSAS)

Location: 2925 Goulden Avenue, Bronx, NY

Website: https://hsas-lehman.org/

Admissions: Requires the SSHAT. Students must typically score 87% or higher on the exam to earn a spot at the school.

HSAS is one of eight highly selective specialized high schools established and run by the New York City Department of Education to serve the needs of academically gifted students. It was initially established in 2002 to serve a small student population (about 400 students). HSAS puts a strong emphasis on history, particularly U.S. History, requiring all students to take the AP US History exam. Their strong academic environment also hosts a wide variety of STEM courses, including AP offerings. Their partnership with Lehman College offers students the opportunity to take a range of elective courses.

Bronx Center for Science and Mathematics

Location: 1363 Fulton Ave, Bronx, NY 10456

Website: https://www.bronxcenter.nyc/

Admissions: There are no special requirements for admission.

The Bronx Center for Science & Mathematics is committed to providing a superior educational experience to public school children. BCSM’s academic success is built on a foundation of core virtues which prepare students for global citizenship and guide the school’s culture. Their curriculum is based around four career-focused ideals: activism, arts, business, and STEM. They offer a wide range of STEM based afterschool programs.

Best STEM High Schools in Queens

Queens High School for the Sciences at York College

Location: 94-50 159th Street, Jamaica, NY

Website: https://qhss.org/

Admissions: Requires the SSHAT. Students must typically score 88% or higher on the exam to earn a spot at the school.

Queens High School for the Sciences at York College (QHSSYC) is one of eight highly selective specialized high schools established and run by the New York City Department of Education to serve the needs of academically gifted students. They have a rigorous college preparatory curriculum with focus on math and science. It has a smaller student population (about 400 students), and collaborates with York College/City University of New York (CUNY). They have a very diverse student body.

Townsend Harris High School

Entrance to the High School on 149th Street
By Jellybean100 - Own work, CC BY-SA 3.0, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=27370755

Location: 149-11 Melbourne Ave., Flushing, Ny

Website: https://www.thhs.qc.edu/

Admissions: The school uses a screened admissions process. The current year’s requirements can be found here.

Townsend Harris provides a rigorous curriculum with an emphasis on the humanities and classics, bolstered by mathematics, science, and the integration of current technology. It encourages students to strive for excellence, to make sensible decisions, and to develop an enduring commitment to serving the community. They boast one of the best Science departments in the city and have a strong record in preparing students to succeed on their Advanced Placement tests.

Bard High School Early College - Queens Campus

Bard High School Early College (HS696) at 525 Houston Street, Manhattan, New York City
By Beyond My Ken - Own work, CC BY-SA 4.0, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=11794458

Location: 30-20 Thomson Avenue, Long Island City, NY

Website: https://bhsec.bard.edu/queens/

Admissions: The school uses a screened admissions process. The current year’s requirements can be found here.

Bard Early College (BEC) states it “fundamentally rethinks the connection between high school and college”. The school replaces the last two years of traditional high school with a tuition-free immersion in college study. In particular the school hopes to bridge the gap between high school and college that many low-income students experience.

How to choose the best STEM high school?

  1. Look at the number and quality of STEM AP classes. The variety of the coursework is important but so is how well students are prepared/typically perform on the AP exams. Check how easily students are able to access them: are certain classes offered infrequently or only offered to a small number of students? You want to ensure your student has access to not only a wide range of classes but that they strongly prepare them for success.
  2. Look at the quality of their lab space. The small footprint of most NYC high schools means many schools have small or inadequate labs. Take a look at what is offered in the lab space and do your best to attend open houses or school tours to allow you and your student to see what's available.
  3. Look at the number and type of clubs offered. The extracurricular activities are one of the most advantageous parts of attending a STEM school. Ensure that what is offered is both of interest and high quality. Most schools should list out their afterschool programs on their website, but you can also call the office for detailed information.
  4. Look at the tenure of the teachers. How long teachers stay at a school can tell you a lot about the environment. Do teachers tend to remain at the school, or is there a lot of turnover? Are all their positions filled, or do they have a glaring hole in a particular subject area? Make sure their STEM program is robust and staffed. An excellent Physics program is great, but it won’t make up for a weak Chemistry department.
  5. Look at their connections. Does the school have connections with hospitals or labs that offer educational experiences to students? Are they connected to a college or university that will provide additional elective opportunities? These connections are of particular importance for students interested in pursuing a career in medicine as the partnerships can give them a strong leg up when it’s time to apply for Medical School.

How to get into STEM high school?

To ensure you get into your top choice for a STEM high school, students should:

  • Achieve and maintain strong academic performance in middle school math and science classes. Since admission takes place before eighth grade is completed, grades in 6th and 7th grade matter most. If a student is struggling in a specific STEM class, consider a tutoring program or getting extra help from the school.
  • Participate in STEM-related activities and clubs that are offered at your middle school. This will not only prepare you to participate in similar activities in high school, t will expose you to ideas and concepts that the middle school curriculum might not.
  • Do your research and apply to the schools that most meet your needs and interests. The list above is just a small fraction of the strong STEM schools available in NYC. Take the time to find which ones work best for you. Which ones offer the classes and activities you’re most interested in? If you’re interested in STEM and the humanities, does the school provide a strong curriculum in both?
  • If you’re hoping to attend one of the specialized schools make sure to register and take the Specialized High School Admissions Test (SHSAT). Like most standardized testing, preparation is key. Begin early to ensure you feel comfortable with both the format and information on the SHSAT: Ivy Tutoring can help you prepare for it!
  • Consider working with an educational consultant, such as Katherine Miller Consulting (Katie is a frequent collaborator with Ivy Tutoring!) to ensure you’re putting your best foot forward on applications and applying to the best fit schools. A consultant is an expert in NYC schools and can make it easier to narrow down your best fit schools, and then help you prepare to gain admittance.

STEM High Schools FAQ

How many STEM high schools are in NYC?

While there isn’t an exact count of STEM schools published by the New York Public Schools, our research found over 40 schools with strong academic programming in STEM.

How much does a STEM school cost in NYC?

STEM high schools in NYC are public schools and thus free to all admitted students. Admissions requirements vary by school.

What are the advantages of the STEM program in high schools?

Strong academic coursework in STEM can prepare students for college education and careers in STEM fields. Students who want access to the broadest array of STEM courses and STEM-related after school programs are best served by attending a STEM high school.

Many of the STEM schools listed above - and many that didn’t make our list - require either the Specialized High School Admissions Test (SHSAT) or additional application screening materials to be admitted. If you’re wondering how best to position yourself, or how to best prepare for the SHSAT, Ivy Tutoring can help!

Special thanks to Katie, founder of Katherine Miller Consulting, for your insights into STEM schools in New York City.

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