I know there are schools telling you if you don’t rank them first, your child won’t have a chance of getting in. I heard that myself. I heard schools tell parents the same at the high school fair.
That’s not true. At least not in my personal experience and for that of other families I know.
Jack got his first choice specialized and third main round - he listed Beacon, then Millennium, and got an offer from Baruch. Baruch is a highly sought after district 2 school, with thousands of applicants for less than 100 spots. He wasn’t the only kid we knew who was offered a seat and didn’t rank them first. The only school I can think of that I haven’t personally heard kids getting an offer when not ranking them first is Beacon. But, that could be because they have additional criteria in their admissions system - they take more than grades and test scores into account. Having said that, so does Baruch. Someone told me (a middle school person) that Jack must have written a terrific essay for Baruch and that’s how he ended up with an offer. Who knows. I will say that both my kids said they appreciated the specialized seats they were offered because they knew it was directly a result of how they did on a test.