I’m thinking about how the high school fairs (dates below) are going to play out this year, now that they’ve ditched the big citywide fair—up until this year there was a mega, 2 day, 5 borough fair hosted at Brooklyn Tech that was sort of a one stop shop for checking out schools in the city including the test in specialized. There were also borough specific fairs on a second weekend. While that citywide event was pretty comprehensive (note: not all schools show up), it was chaotic and at times a fire hazard as hallways were impassable in certain places. But, it provided a terrific opportunity to talk to people from a variety of places all under one roof.
This year there are 2 weekends of just borough specific fairs. So, if you’re interested in schools in more than one borough, that means you’ll be checking out more than one fair. And no one’s mentioned if the specialized high schools will be showing up at these fairs, either en masse or in the boroughs in which they reside or perhaps not at all.
If you’re planning on going on individual school tours, the high school fairs aren’t as important. On the other hand, the fairs can be a great time to talk one on one with administrators—tours often have less of an opportunity to do that. You might discover schools you hadn’t known about. And, it might be the only opportunity to talk to some places. There are schools I’m now tracking (my list grows every year), who don’t have websites and I’m out to get basic info about the school, as well as find out if touring is even an option.
Last thought for now: not everything you hear at high school fairs or even at schools themselves is actually factual. I’ve heard schools say if you don’t rank them first you don’t have a shot—not true. I’ve heard schools tell families that sports coaches could guarantee an offer—not true. And I’m pretty sure this year there will still be people telling you that if you sign in at a table or attend a tour it will give you priority in ranking—not true either as that system was ditched for this year. This is a big, unwieldy system and the DOE doesn’t excel at communicating. Again, if you hear anything strange or have questions about what’s going on, let me know.,