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Going inside the black box of high school admissions

Tomorrow, eighth graders will turn in their high school applications to their guidance counselors. In the community section right now, a high school principal explains what happens to applications at her school between now and March, when admissions letters go home.

Mary Moss, co-principal of NYCiSchool, a selective high school that uses technology in unusual ways, writes:

In a few short but intense weeks in February, we will read each and every application (which we expect to exceed 2,000 this year), usually several times, and by different members of the committee. It is at this point that applications end up in one of three piles: Definitely, Maybe, and No. We assign points for each of our admissions criteria: course grades, standardized test scores, attendance, and the online admissions activity, enabling students who might be weaker in one area to make it into our yes pile if they stand out in another. We prefer to have no set cut-offs — after all, we are largely basing our decisions on the actions of 12-year-olds, who deserved to make and learn from their seventh grade mistakes, not be doomed by them.

To read about the iSchool from a student’s point of view, check out Angelica Modabber’s essay from last year about the experience of taking classes online.