Because New York City is the country’s greatest intellectual center, it stands to reason that many of the city’s high schools are world-class academic institutions of the highest standard. So, if you’re searching for the best public high schools in NYC, we’ve done the legwork for you and compiled a list of the best high schools in NYC.
- Bronx High School of Science
- Trinity School
- Stuyvesant High School
- Riverdale Country School
- The Brearley School
The Bronx High School of Science is a public specialized high school in New York City’s Bronx. The New York City Department of Education runs it. Bronx Science, founded in 1938 in the Bronx, New York City, is presently located in the Educational Mile in Bedford Park, a neighborhood in the Bronx’s northwest corner.
Although it was founded with a concentration on mathematics and science, Bronx Science today emphasizes the humanities and social sciences. It continues to attract students with diverse interests outside of math and science.
Students at Bronx Science follow a college preparatory curriculum that includes four years of lab science, math, English, social studies, two or three years of foreign language, and a year of fine arts, as well as required courses and a diverse range of electives, including honors and advanced placement (AP) classes that allow students to bypass introductory college science courses.
There are around 160 distinct courses available. Students may do independent research, and many participate in the annual Intel Science Talent Search (formerly sponsored by Westinghouse). It has produced the most Nobel laureates in the science of any secondary school in the world, with eight Nobel Prize-winning graduates, seven in physics and one in chemistry.
Bronx Science graduates have also received two Turing Awards, popularly known as the Nobel Prize in computer science; six National Medals of Science, the country’s highest scientific distinction; and eight Pulitzer Prizes.
Passing the Specialized High Schools Admissions Test is required for admission to Bronx Science. Around 30,000 eighth and ninth students take the three-hour exam for admission to eight of the nine specialized high schools each November. The exam is exceedingly challenging, with only 800 of the 30,000 candidates admitted each year to Bronx Science.
Trinity School is a highly selective independent, preparatory, co-educational day school for grades K-12 situated in the Upper West Side district of New York City’s Manhattan borough, New York, USA, and a member of the New York Interschool and the Ivy Preparatory School League. It is considered one of the best high schools in NYC, with over 40% of graduating students attending Ivy League and other prestigious institutions.
Trinity School considers it morally obligated to create and promote a diverse, egalitarian, and inclusive community. Lower and Middle School courseloads are organized, and ninth and tenth students have minimal course freedom. On the other hand, juniors and seniors have much more leeway in choosing electives and other courses.
English is the only subject required for all four years of Upper School. Math is required for three, while lab sciences are needed for two. Religion and Physical Education are required subjects. Trinity also has a comprehensive Classics department, which is generally regarded as one of the best in the country. Nearly 40% of the student population studies Latin or Greek, with more than 60% studying both.
Trinity School offers a variety of musical organizations, including jazz bands, orchestras, chamber ensembles, and choirs, accompanied and a cappella. Musical performances are included in all three levels, with concerts, assemblies, and chapel performances taking place throughout the school day and evening. The school also provides dynamic dramatic art showings with productions ranging from plays to musicals, both as classrooms and as extra-curricular activities.
Stuyvesant High School is a public college preparatory, specialized high school located in New York City, New York. These specialized schools, run by the New York City Department of Education, provide city residents with tuition-free accelerated academics. Stuyvesant High School has been a hallmark of educational success for nearly a century.
The objective is to sustain and strengthen that dedication by creating an atmosphere that nurtures and develops the unique academic abilities of the students accepted to Stuyvesant. Passing the Specialized High Schools Admissions Test is required for admission to Stuyvesant. Every March, Stuyvesant agrees with the 800 to 850 students with the highest SHSAT scores among the approximately 30,000 eighth- and ninth-graders who apply.
Extracurricular activities at the school include a drama competition called SING! and two student newspapers. Stuyvesant has frequently ranked among the best high schools in NYC. According to a Niche survey, Stuyvesant High School is one of the best public high schools in New York State and ranks sixth nationwide among public high schools.
Former US Attorney General Eric Holder, physicists Brian Greene and Lisa Randall, economist Thomas Sowell, chemist Roald Hoffmann, genome researcher Eric Lander, and comedian Billy Eichner are notable graduates. Stuyvesant is one of just six secondary schools in the world that have produced four or more Nobel laureates.
There are additional options for Latin, Greek, French, Spanish, Chinese, and Japanese. Lower, Middle, and Upper Schools students are encouraged to make links across disciplines via interdisciplinary courses. The History and English departments collaborate to provide Constructing America, a mandatory course for juniors.
Seniors must take Integrated Liberal Studies, which covers four important topics: virtue, self, social justice, and the environment. Students may get in-depth knowledge in areas of their choice via independent study. The Global Studies program arranges international visits. Hiking, camping, and rock-climbing expeditions in the Hudson Valley, trekking in Patagonia, and kayaking in Alaska are all organized by an outdoor instructor.
Riverdale is an independent school established by the New York State Board of Regents and recognized by the New York State Association of Independent Schools. Riverdale offers classes for Pre-K through Grade 12 in New York City. The independent school is dedicated to enabling lifelong learners by developing brains, character, and community to impact the world positively.
It presently has 1,140 students enrolled. Riverdale is the second-best high school in NYC and the second-top private K-12 school in the United States by Niche’s 2023 Private School Rankings. Riverdale provides “maker” programs that mix science, technology, engineering, arts, and mathematics, as well as robotics and coding classes, in addition to college-preparatory math, science, and humanities courses.
The Brearley School is an all-girls private school in New York City’s Upper East Side area of the Manhattan borough. The school is organized into three sections: lower (kindergarten – grade 4), middle (grades 5-8), and upper (grades 9-12), with 50 to 60 pupils in each grade.
Brearley is a sister school to the all-boys Collegiate School, the all-girls Spence School, and the adjacent all-girls Chapin School, with whom it shares an after-school program and several programs. The Brearley School encourages girls of various backgrounds and adventurous minds to think critically and creatively, preparing them for moral participation in the world.
Students gain knowledge of several subjects, a love of learning, and a resilient and giving attitude while guided by a devoted community of adults. The link between students and professors is founded on a passionate exchange of ideas and respect for each individual’s distinctive and dynamic contributions.
The curriculum of the school is liberal arts-based. There is a 6:1 student-to-faculty ratio. Language classes are available in Ancient Greek, Latin, French, Spanish, and Mandarin Chinese. Students have access to two computer labs, one for the Lower School and one for the Middle and Upper Schools.
There are also three smaller computer workrooms, one for middle schools and two for upper schoolers, a science-projects area, and laptops for use in the library and classrooms. Students in grades 7 and 8 are given iPads for the school year to help with classwork and homework. High school students must bring their own technology, such as a laptop or iPad.
Lower School females wear the tried-and-true Brearley tunic with four red buttons, two pockets, and side pleats. Middle school females may choose between an A-line skirt and trousers.
The SHSAT is a timed, pencil-and-paper exam with two portions of 57 questions: English Language Arts (ELA) and Math. Students have three hours to finish the exam and may use their discretion in deciding how much time to devote to each component. Each question has four multiple-choice answers.
A non-selective, independent Anglican school for males from Pre-Kindergarten to Year 12.
Its admissions procedure is quite tough. The New York Times reported in 2011 that the kindergarten admission rate at Trinity was 2.4%, and the high school acceptance rate was similar.
Bronx Science admissions are quite difficult. In a normal year, around 28,000 students take the SHSAT, and only 800 are admitted to Bronx Science, representing an admission rate of less than 3%.