open house season and the second round of high school fairs

This is a big week for open houses many people are interested in attending and there are some conflicts. So, if you want to see a school and they host 2 open houses (Stuy, Beacon), go to the night without a conflict. Both schools say their open houses are borough specific, but no one checks and you’re welcome to attend either day. There are lots of tours going on as well - make sure you check your calendar and do some advance planning so you can see everything you want to. As the SHSATs are around the corner, it’s going to be a lot for kids, and grown ups, to process. 

A few specific words about what’s coming up this week. Keep in mind, TONS of people show up to these open houses—they can get overwhelming. I’ve always found going earlier is better if possible. Some open houses (Beacon) cap the number of attendees and if you get on their line late, you might not get in.

Brooklyn Tech has a similar open house to Bronx Science. You wander the building independently and they provide a map of sorts, letting you know who will be in which classrooms so you know where you can drop in and talk to students and teachers. There’s generally a presentation in the auditorium at the beginning—it’s usually packed to capacity. But if you miss that, it’s not the end of the world. The great thing about this open house is that you interact with people all over and get a good sense of what the school has to offer. Also, at a school with 6000 kids, packed is an every day thing.

Beacon and Stuy have the same basic open house set up. You stand on a massive line (people start lining up up to 3 hours before the doors open. I got to both an hour plus early and got in easily. Their open house is more a tour as you’re escorted into a communal area, hear from administrators (and sometimes students), and they you’re assigned student tour guides who escort you through the building, to predetermined locations. At Beacon, you’ll visit several classrooms and hear from teachers and students. At Stuy you visit empty classrooms, relying on your guides for info (my second visit to Stuy was with tour guides who kept correcting each other as they shared info—my group walked out more confused than when we started). You don’t get to wander around yourselves.

Quick notes about Beacon: they did away with interviews this year. That decision was made somewhat recently, as at the beginning of the process they had scheduling info on their website. Now they have 2 essays to submit instead of one, along with portfolio requirements. All that info is on their website, as is their admissions rubric, which has never been shared before. It’s pretty vague - you might ask for more specifics at the open house. They’ve had some other changes as of late. A current parent on their PA told me that both APs, a bunch of teachers, and the person who did all scheduling left over the summer. 


The second round of high school fairs are this coming weekend. I’ve mentioned to a bunch of families I’ve spoken with that now that test scores are out, it could be a terrific time to talk to people at different schools about your child’s specifics. I went to the first fair weekend and at 12 on Sunday just about every school I follow in Manhattan was at the fair. Plus, it wasn’t overwhelming in the least. I had the opportunity to spend a good amount of time with everyone I wanted to talk to. NOTE: while the Manhattan fair is in the same location, other boroughs are switching it up.