There are about 400 high schools in New York City and Monday is the deadline to apply to them for incoming ninth graders, and those looking to transfer for tenth grade.
The selection process has been going on all fall, or longer, for many families as they toured schools, took tests, auditioned, and figured out how to rank up their top 12 high schools on their applications.
Clara Hemphill of Inside Schools says not to listen to high schools who say you must put them at the top of the list if you want to get in.
"The high school application process is very confusing and schools are giving parents information that's just not right," she said. "Schools are saying you have to rank us number one if you want to be considered and that's not the case."
Inside Schools reports that student rankings of their choices are private in that high schools do not see them. Applications are submitted to a computerized matching system which then assigns students with their school.
Hemphill's advice is straightforward: "Rank the schools in your true order of preference. Don't try to game the system. Don't try to use a strategy."
That said, Hemphill advises students to look beyond the most popular high schools and consider lesser known or newer schools.
If a student doesn't get in to any school on their list there is a second round of applications in mid-March. And if you are still scrambling at the last minute to find schools, check out the Search + Compare tool right here on SchoolBook.