how many schools to rank

I’ve been getting questions about how many schools to rank. That’s a question with more than one part and I thought I’d share thoughts with everyone.

MAIN ROUND: RANK 12! No joke, rank 12. Now that the DOE is assigning kids to random schools not on your application if they don’t get an offer from one on your list, it’s smarter than ever to make sure you are ranking 12 schools. You may not love every single one, but there are definitely way more than 12 terrific, viable schools out there. A quick note (no doubt I’ll be saying this a lot), don’t hold your breath about those new waitlists. At super popular schools there will mostly likely not be many seats opening up. Another quick note (I’ve mentioned this before): EVERY SCHOOL over offers knowing that not everyone will say yes. So, if a kid chooses a specialized school that’s not automatically opening up a spot at their main round offer.

SPECIALIZED: rank only those you’re interested in, in order of preference. You DO NOT HAVE TO RANK ALL 8. In fact, if you’re not interested in some of them, DON’T RANK THEM. I know many families who didn’t get an offer from the specialized school they were hoping for (mostly Stuy) and got an offer from a specialized school that wasn’t the right fit or somewhere their kid would never go to. Example: getting an offer from Staten Island Tech is lovely, but if there’s no way your child would make that trip, the offer is meaningless. And, on the very slight chance you don’t get a main round offer from the DOE, you don’t want to be stuck only with a specialized offer you’re not interested in.

LaGuardia: you can apply to more than one discipline. You can get offers to more than one discipline. I know kids who are applying to 2 or 3 (3 is a lot to prepare for). Keep in mind that your child might get an offer that way at something they’re not all that interested in. Yes, they can transfer once they’re at the school but they have to audition again.

In the end, you can get more than 3 offers, a main round, a specialized, and more than one LaG discipline - that’s a nice choice to have. But, you want to do what you can on your end to hopefully have offers that are viable and make sense for your kid. Last note: pay attention to rubrics and if your child doesn’t fit, don’t waste a spot. Thoughtful ranking is key.


I’ve still got some time if you want to book a phone consult. Be in touch if you do.