All 5th-graders (including those who plan to stay at their k-8 school) must apply to middle school. Applications are distributed to 5th-graders in November and are due on Dec. 1. Placements are announced in the spring. For a quick overview, take a look at our Middle School: How to Apply Video
Some (but not all) of the city’s 32 districts have zoned schools and your child is guaranteed a seat if you apply and live in the zone. To find out if your child has a zoned school, enter your address in our Find a School section or call 311.
Even if you have a zoned school, you may want to explore other options. The Department of Education publishes a Middle School Directory for each of the city’s 32 school districts. Almost every district has gifted programs and special arts programs. There are also middle schools that are open to all students in the borough or the city.
Some middle schools select students at random, some use 4th-grade report cards, attendance and behavior records, and others require additional auditions or exams. Be sure to sign up for auditions or tests before submitting the application.
Plan on spending the fall of the 5th-grade year visiting schools. For some very popular schools, open house and tour slots book rapidly, so sign up early.
Most middle schools serve children in grades 6 to 8, but a few start in 5th or 7th grade. Charter schools (many of which begin in 5th grade) admit children by lotteries held in April, and applications are due April 1. Hunter College High School, which serves children in grades 7 to 12, admits children according to the results of a competitive exam given in January. The Baccalaureate School for Global Education also starts in 7th grade.
If you move to the city after the application process is finished, and you don’t have a zoned school, a Family Welcome Center will place your child somewhere in your district. See our section on New to New York City.