The High School for Mathematics, Science, and Engineering at City College of New York (HSMSE) awards admission to New York City students who obtain the highest scores on the Specialized High School Admissions Test (SHSAT). HSMSE is one of the city’s specialized high schools, which do not consider attendance records, state test scores, or grades. Acceptance to these elite group of schools is only based on the SHSAT score.
All students in the eighth and ninth grade residing within the five boroughs of New York City can take the SHSAT. The same test is given for all specialized high schools in the city. It is graded and arranged according to rank, from the highest score down to the lowest score. Each school year, the qualifying score changes. It always depends on the number of spots available and the scores garnered by the candidates. All seats are filled starting with the students who have the highest test scores.
If a student misses the cutoff of their first choice, they may still be assigned to their second choice if the score goes above the cutoff for that specific school. This process goes on until all seats in the eight specialized high schools have been occupied.
Students take the SHSAT at the assigned school in their borough. Tickets for the exam are requested through the middle school guidance counselor while the student is still in eighth grade. The Department of Education sets the SHSAT date, which is often administered in late October. Students are notified about their acceptance the same time they receive their main round school notification. Test schedules and further information about the SHSAT is available on the NYC Department of Education official website.
Overview of the School
The High School for Math, Science, and Engineering at City College belongs to the prestigious group of specialized high schools in New York City. The school, often called HSMSE or HSMSE @ CCNY, caters to highly-gifted students from across NYC. It is located within the City College of New York (CCNY) campus and has a student-teacher ratio of 16 to 1.
Founded in 2002 with High School of American Studies at Lehman College and Queens High School for the Sciences at York College, HSMSE was envisioned as a small organization with roughly 400 students. The school mainly focuses on design and engineering. Due to its relatively small population, the school enables teachers and students to foster a strong relationship. HSMSE utilizes its status as a specialized high school not only to draw students in but also to create a more diverse student body.
With instructional support from the City College of New York, the school puts more emphasis on a rigorous STEM curriculum. It also highlights the value of knowledge and civic responsibility.
Specialized High Schools Admissions Test (SHSAT) Cutoff Scores
2019 SHSAT cutoff score: 519 (lowest) and 620 (highest)
2018 SHSAT cutoff score: 516 (lowest) and 616 (highest)
Niche.com and US News Best Public School Ranking
Niche.com 2019 Best Public Schools in New York Rank: 7th
US News 2019 Best Public Schools in New York Rank: 4th
Niche.com 2019 Best Public Schools in USA Rank: 2nd
US News 2019 Best Public Schools in USA Rank: 48th
Student population: 492
Total number of teachers: 29
AP classes offered:
HSMSE students can take Advanced Placement (AP) courses including AP Calculus AB, AP Calculus BC, AP Statistics, AP Chemistry, AP Computer Science A, AP Environmental Science, AP English Literature & Composition, AP German Language & Culture, and AP World History.
Students are required to take up at least two Advanced Placement courses. The standard 11th grade English course is AP English Literature and Composition, while AP World History is the standard social studies course for the 9th and 10th grade.
Students who belong in the Mount Sinai Biomedical Research Program and Advanced Engineering Program usually take AP Calculus or AP Statistics during their senior year. Those who are in the Math Concentration, on the other hand, take up and complete both of the mentioned courses by the time they graduate.
Graduation rate: 99%
Other Academic Programs/Extracurricular Activities
HSMSE has one of the largest high school German programs in the nation. German is the main language taught at the school as its founders once believed that it is the language of engineering. This resulted in 75% of HSMSE students studying the language, which is offered by the school through the Advanced Placement level. Most of the graduates then continue studying German when they reach college.
Through the “Schools: Partners for the Future” program, HSMSE has been made one of nine US-based partner schools of the PASCH program of the Goethe Institut.
Through this program, a few students of HSMSE are sent on funded to study trips to Germany every summer. This is made possible with the joint participation of the Goethe Institute and the American Association of Teachers of German.
Middle school students who pass the Second Language Proficiency (SLP) exam in Spanish can take advanced Spanish classes. Those students start Spanish at the second-year level.
Medical Research Program
The school’s medical research program only accepts a small group of students. In this program, HSME students get lab experience and opportunities for research that exceeds anything offered in the usual high school science class. Administered with Mount Sinai Hospital, this program gives students a chance to take courses like anatomy, physiology, and bioethics. They can also travel to the medical center on a regular basis where they can join in the laboratory and clinical internships.
HSMSE has many extracurricular activities for students to try including Dr. Dragon school magazine, Harlem Is, The National Society of Black Engineers, Film, Robotics, Photography Club, Gay-Straight Alliance, Ping Pong Club, Model UN, Euro Challenge, Fed Challenge, Dance Team, Key Club, MSA (Muslim Student Association), Eat NYC, Spades Club, Junior Statesmen of America (JSA), and Cheerleading.
Some of the competitions HSMSE students regularly compete in are the NYC Math Competition, American Mathematics Competitions, and American Invitational Mathematics Examination. Aside from joining national scientific research contests, the school also submits research to the New York City Science and Engineering Fair.
HSMSE’s track and cross-country programs are the largest team s in the school–including a substantial fraction of the entire student body. Other sports teams include softball and soccer, boys’ basketball, soccer, baseball, volleyball, and girls’ basketball.
Events are organized in the school all throughout the year. The most significant events at HSMSE include Multicultural Night, Talent Show, Spring Fair, Student Leadership Conference, and Club Fair. An annual election for Student Government is also held each year, with students choosing two representatives from every grade level, along with a Treasurer and Secretary.
Electives and Student Life
HSMSE takes pride in its versatile teaching staff that offers electives such as poetry, astronomy, and gastronomy, which allows students to take tasting trips and report their experiences on their own blog called Food Considered. Additionally, they find ways to relate their interests to lessons in other courses. For example, art projects are connected to what students are reading in English.
To determine what elective classes are offered, students are surveyed first. The school makes it a point to offer programs that make students feel happy and invested in academics.
Like some educational institutions in the city, there is an onsite mental health and wellness clinic at HSMSE. Sponsored by New York Foundling Hospital, the clinic offers free resources and counseling to all HSMSE students.