Queens School Kew Admissions Essay

Al-Ihsan Academy

  • Private School
  • South Ozone Park, NY
  • PK, K-12
  • 29

13 Best Private High Schools in Queens County

Senior: Al-Ihsan Academy is a school I have never and will never again experience in my life. With low teacher salaries, I have sometimes questioned why my teachers would stay while there were more opportunities elsewhere. After observing their actions, I have come to the conclusion that they are not teaching for the money, but to help each of their students for the sheer reward of letting another succeed. This quality is one that I have come to admire. Although having some of the best teachers, Al-Ihsan is small compared to other schools. For example, we have 1 basement that is used as our auditorium, lunchroom, and event hall. It's used to the max. But if you really look at this school, you will see it as a cell. A tiny organism that has many parts that make it a whole and in turn helps the body function. The body represents the community, and this school, this tiny, miniature school has ironically helped me grow.
Read 29 Reviews

  • 508 Students

  • 12:1 Student-Teacher Ratio

How we ranked them: The New York Post’s Top 40 includes all schools that don’t use the SHSAT test for enrollment. We also broke out Arts and Career schools as their own categories. The rankings are based on the latest available state and city data, using these factors:

  • Four-year-graduation rate (weight: 10%)
  • Percent of students scoring over 85 on Regents Integrated Algebra and Regents English Language Arts exams (20%)
  • Number of students taking Advanced Placement exams (7.5%)
  • Percent scoring a passing 3,4, or 5 on AP exams (22.5%)
  • Number taking SAT exams (10%)
  • Average total SAT scores (30%).

Adjustments made for schools that offer International Baccalaureate diplomas or college-level courses instead of AP; and those which assess students by portfolios instead of state Regents exams.

1. Townsend Harris High School

149 -11 Melbourne Ave., Queens

Admission: Grades 90 to 100, State exams: Levels 3 to 4.5, attendance
Enrollment: 1,151
Graduation rate: 100%
College ready: 100%
College enrollment: 99.6%
Taking SAT: 281
Average total SAT score: 1955
Taking AP tests: 773
AP pass rate: 82.8%

Not just for Queens, this highly sought-after Flushing school draws bright, motivated kids — last year 5,540 applied for 306 freshman seats — with its mission to foster a love of learning, and an appreciation of nature and the arts. Illustrious alumni include Jonas Salk, who developed the first polio vaccine. Curriculum instills a mastery in the humanities, with an emphasis on classics, as well as math and science. Kids get career and technical-education courses in robotics, bio-medical technology, law academy and new media. All classes are honors, AP or college level. Scholars conduct research at Queens College, NYU and Rockefeller University. The building has a DNA lab and TV studio. Students take at least three years of world language, including two of Greek or Latin. Music is popular. Students also take 12 tuition-free credits at Queens College, and use the campus gym, library and cafeteria. Last year, the Steel Hawks robotics team won an award at a world championship in St. Louis. Each year Project Spirit adopts a cause, such as collecting winter scarves for the homeless or sending care packages to soldiers. The school buzzes with academic teams, sports and 40 clubs.

2. Baccalaureate School For Global Education

34-12 36th Ave., Queens

Admission: Priority to continuing 8th graders, Grades 90-100, State exams 3 to 4.5
Enrollment: 308
Graduation rate: 98.4%
College ready: 98.4%
College enrollment: 98.1%
Taking SAT: 63
Average total SAT score: 1845
IB diploma: 72 percent of grads

The atmosphere is “ambitious but laid-back” in this small 7-12 Astoria school, where grads earn a prestigious International Baccalaureate degree. Juniors and seniors take IB exams similar to AP for college credits — in math, chemistry, biology, English lit, foreign language (French, Spanish or Chinese), and visual art. The program requires 100 hours of community service plus 150 hours of “creativity, action and service” in grades 11 to 12. For instance: work on the yearbook, volunteering in a summer arts program, taking part in a play, or singing in a chorus outside school. Students keep journals and do a yearlong project. One wrote a novel about two young people living through the Holocaust, another a memoir about a rare medical condition. One created a non-toxic nail polish. Seniors tackle topics such as feminism in Sylvia Plath’s poetry and Japanese war crimes in the Philippines. The school held its own art exhibit and auction last March. Last year, 15 students took a spring trip to Costa Rica to volunteer at a school and nursing home. The school is housed in a light-filled former pocketbook factory. Gym takes place in one of two nearby parks, a fitness room, and a yoga studio. Juniors and seniors can leave for lunch.

3. Eleanor Roosevelt High School

411 E. 76th St., Manhattan

Admission: Grades 90-100, state exams 3 to 4.5
Enrollment: 531
Graduation rate: 100%
College ready: 99.2%
College enrollment: 88.5%
Taking SAT: 114
Average total SAT score: 1833
Taking AP tests: 259
AP pass rate: 86.8%

This wildly popular Upper East Side school — with only 125 coveted freshman seats —honors its namesake with community service, blending art, technology and good deeds. “ELRO’s” latest entry in the city’s “Canstruction” architecture competition, in which students built a giant sculpture with 4,000 cans of food collected for City Harvest, won the People’s Choice award. The “Making a Difference Club” raised money for orphaned kids in Zimbabwe, and Skyped with them. Science and math are required all four years. Offers 11 AP classes and college English in a partnership with St. John’s University, plus a wide array of STEM and arts classes. In a program called ELRO Sibs, seniors advise 9th and 10th-graders. The Model UN team traveled to Budapest last year to take part in a parliamentary conference hosted by Yale University, and plans to attend an upcoming conference in Morocco. Newly added co-ed golf and girls’ cross-country bring the PSAL teams to 15.

4. Bard High School Early College

525 E. Houston St, Manhattan

Admission: Open to NYC; grades 85-100, attendance, math/writing test, interview
Enrollment: 560
Graduation rate: 99.3%
College ready: 99.3%
College enrollment: 92.7%
Taking SAT: 117
Average total SAT score: 1963
Taking AP tests: None

Motivated students from all boroughs get a head-start on college at this fast-paced Lower East Side school. They complete high-school requirements in two years, then earn an associate’s degree — free of charge — worth 60 credits from Bard College in the next two. Last year, Bard awarded 125 such degrees. Every fall starts with a writing workshop. A new computer science curriculum is modeled after a course at UC Berkeley. A new semester-long seminar explores key ideas and trends in mathematics. Last year, a day-long “teach-in” run by students focused on race in America. Students play sports in nearby Chelsea Piers.

5. New Explorations Into Science, Technology And Math

111 Columbia St., Manhattan

Admission: Entrance exam; priority to ongoing 8th graders
Enrollment: 610
Graduation rate: 94.7%
College ready: 92%
College enrollment: 89.1%
Taking SAT: 104
Average total SAT score: 1773
Taking AP tests: 345
AP pass rate: 74.1%

The city’s only K-12 gifted school has “love and respect for knowledge” as its motto. Demand is great — last year 2,995 applied for 160 freshman seats. Parents must submit a request for testing in November. Students take AP classes starting in ninth grade, and accelerated programs in science and math. Ninth-grade math and science are single-gender classes. Electives include marine biology, Chinese history, Shakespeare, digital storytelling and ballroom dancing. Many opportunities for internships in the sciences and arts at local universities. Housed in sunny Lower East Side building with central courtyard. Many clubs and sports. Dress code.

6. Scholars’ Academy

320 Beach 104th St., Queens

Admission: Priority to continuing 8th graders; grades 85-100, state exams 3 to 4.5
Enrollment: 464
Graduation rate: 100%
College ready: 99.1%
College enrollment: 97.9%
Taking SAT: 108
Average total SAT score: 1670
Taking AP tests: 145
AP pass rate: 73.7%

This lively 6-12 school on the Rockaway peninsula has a “small- town feel,” says Principal Brian O’Connell. Students complete most Regents requirements by the end of 10th grade, then choose among multiple AP courses, do internships, and earn up to 20 credits at St. Francis College. Technology is integral — students use iPads, Chromebook, and Macbook programs. Exceptional drama club, marching and concert bands, visual arts. “Educational trips, community service, college awareness trips, and spirit-generating events connect us tightly with one another and the communities around us,” O’Connell says.

7. Bard High School Early College Queens

30-20 Thomson Ave., Queens

Admission: Open to NYC, grades 85-100, attendance, math and writing test, interview
Enrollment: 600
Graduation rate: 98.5%
College ready: 98.5%
College enrollment: 85.7%
Taking SAT: 126
Average total SAT score: 1822
Taking AP tests: None

Like peers at its Manhattan sister school, grads leave with a high-school diploma and free associate’s degree. Small classes and challenging program in humanities and science. Seniors do science research with professors. Latin, Chinese or Spanish languages. Cheerful space, in office building shared with two other small high schools, has dance studios, art room, theater, exercise rooms. A variety of activities, sports and clubs.

8. Millennium High School

75 Broad St., Manhattan

Admission: Priority to students who live or attend school south of East Houston or West Houston Street, then all Manhattan; grades 90-100, state exams 3 to 4.5, foreign- language grade, attendance, writing exercise
Enrollment: 619
Graduation rate: 98%
College ready: 95.9%
College enrollment: 88.2%
Taking SAT: 140
Average total SAT score: 1704
Taking AP tests: 131
AP pass rate: 81.9%

Skyrocketed in popularity, this competitive small school on the 11th to 13th floors of the International Telephone Building in the financial district offers a well-rounded curriculum. Everyone takes four years of English, history, math, and science, and can choose from seminar-style classes on topics like 20th-century social movements, poetry in exile, New York stories, race in America. No music class, but a School of Rock after-school program. Shakespeare, art therapy, cooking, yoga among extras. Sports played on local fields or YMCA.

9. Baruch College Campus High School

55 E.25th St., Manhattan

Admission: Priority to District 2 students or residents, then Manhattan; 85-100 grades, test scores, attendance, writing sample
Enrollment: 439
Graduation rate: 100.0%
College ready: 95.3%
College enrollment: 97.4%
Taking SAT: 107
Average total SAT score: 1617
Taking AP tests: 106
AP pass rate: 58.7%

Innovative Gramercy school offers a challenging interdisciplinary liberal-arts program. Students take four years of English, science, math and history, three of Spanish and two of writing and visual art. Students read literary classics and current non-fiction. All classes honors. Students can also earn credits from Baruch College. Seniors defend a final project before a panel of judges. Holds an annual math confab. Exchange program with a school in Japan. Clubs and sports.

10. Beacon High School

522 W. 44th St., Manhattan

Admission: Grades 85-100, state exams 3 to 4.5, attendance, interview, portfolio
Enrollment: 1,276
Graduation rate: 98.0%
College ready: 81.3%
College enrollment: 84%
Taking SAT: 250
Average total SAT score: 1710
Taking AP tests: 175
AP pass rate: 67.4%

This highly sought-after Hell’s Kitchen school boasts a brand-new $88 million building with an open atrium, gleaming halls, sprawling art center with Apple laptops, a sun-flooded cafeteria and large gym. Offers a well-rounded liberal-arts education based on “shared exploration and problem-solving.” One of two dozen schools statewide exempt from all but English Regents exams — students show achievement in portfolios. College classes at NYU, Fordham and CUNY. Clubs, sports, community service, and international travel. Last year 5,255 applied for 320 freshman seats.

11. Columbia Secondary School

425 W. 123rd St., Manhattan

Admission: Priority to continuing 8th graders, grades 90-100, test scores, attendance, interview
Enrollment: 377
Graduation rate: 97.8%
College ready: 84.8%
College enrollment: not available
Taking SAT: 90
Average total SAT score: 1642
Taking AP tests: 151
AP pass rate: 61.8%

All students study engineering and philosophy at this diverse and rigorous 6-12 school in Morningside Heights. Students explore topics like construction and urban design and computer programming, read Plato’s “Republic” and write for the school’s philosophy journal, “Contrariwise.” Electives in environmental science, genetics, sci-fi film, web design. Juniors and seniors can take classes at Columbia University for free. Activities include biking, architecture, musical theater, organic gardening, student newspaper and underwater robotics. The bad news: only 15-20 seats available for incoming 9th-graders.

12. Leon M. Goldstein High School For The Sciences

1839 Shore Blvd., Brooklyn

Admission: Grades 85-100, state exams 2 to 4.5
Enrollment: 1,046
Graduation rate: 91.7%
College ready: 86.3%
College enrollment: 91.1%
Taking SAT: 225
Average total SAT score: 1679
Taking AP tests: 414
AP pass rate: 59.5%

One of Brooklyn’s best, this supportive school on the park-like Kingsbridge Community College in Sheepshead Bay has a relaxed feel, but offers rigorous college-prep. All students study math and science every year in classes such as calculus and organic chemistry, plus three years of Spanish or Italian. Electives include forensic science, oceanography, and astronomy. The building has modern science labs, a big gym, ceramics kiln, photo darkroom, library, a media room, and Mac computers on every floor.

13 N.Y.C. Lab School For Collaborative Studies

333 W. 17th St., Manhattan

Admission: Priority to District 2 students or residents, then Manhattan. Grades 85-100, Levels 2.25 to 4.5 on state exams, attendance.
Enrollment: 599
Graduation rate: 94.4%
College ready: 88.1%
College enrollment: 79.1%
Taking SAT: 107
Average total SAT score: 1712
Taking AP tests: 140
AP pass rate: 59.6%

This popular, non-traditional Chelsea school offers a new four-year sequence in computer science and, the Beauty and Joy of Advanced Computer Science. Students can also study music for four years, including band instruments, vocal, ethnomusicology, and theory. The Lab Theater Company will produce the musical comedy “Spelling Bee” this fall. A 10th-grade health curriculum covers social and emotional intelligence. Students engage in “Courageous Conversations” about topics such as race. Seniors do a yearlong interdisciplinary project. Various clubs and sports.

14. Manhattan /Hunter Science High School

122 Amsterdam Ave., Manhattan

Admission: Grades 80-100,state exams, attendance
Enrollment: 460
Graduation rate: 97.5%
College ready: 88.1%
College enrollment: 88.8%
Taking SAT: 118
Average total SAT score: 1564
Taking AP tests: None

Students at this rigorous small school near Lincoln Center spend three years on the top floor of the renovated MLK Jr. complex, and their fourth at Hunter College. They graduate with an average 12 college credits for classes that now include computer science and Spanish 202. All do research and community service. Principal Kevin Froner cites a new black-box theater, orchestra program, robotics team, and art exhibitions. Amazon is donating 500 Kindles.

15. High School For Dual Language And Asian Studies

350 Grand St., Manhattan

Admission: Grades 80-100, state exams 2 to 4.5, attendance
Enrollment: 410
Graduation rate: 93.2%
College ready: 86.4%
College enrollment: 82.8%
Taking SAT: 83
Average total SAT score: 1532
Taking AP tests: 140
AP pass rate: 78.1%

Mandarin Chinese-speaking students and English-speaking students learn to speak and write both languages while preparing for college and careers. Asian themes are woven into the academic curriculum — math, science, history, and the arts. Saturday ESL classes, peer tutoring, and SAT prep. Music, arts, and sports, including ping-pong and swimming.

16. Manhattan Village Academy

43 W. 22nd St., Manhattan

Admission: Grades 80-100, state exams 2 to 4.5, attendance
Enrollment: 414
Graduation rate: 99.1%
College ready: 80.7%
College enrollment: 85%
Taking SAT: 115
Average total SAT score: 1457
Taking AP tests: 106
AP pass rate: 43.8%

Kids get one-on-one attention in this small school housed in a renovated Chelsea office building. Prides itself on graduating more African-American males. Students take four years of lab-based science and compile elaborate portfolio aimed at landing in a top college. Sophomore and juniors go on college trips. Activities and clubs, basketball and softball.

17. Manhattan Center For Science And Mathematics

43 W. 22nd St., Manhattan

Admission: Grades 80-100 ,state exams 2 to 4.5, punctuality, school visit
Enrollment: 1,588
Graduation rate: 87.5%
College ready: 74.6%
College enrollment: 76.7%
Taking SAT: 351
Average total SAT score: 1499
Taking AP tests: 388
AP pass rate: 61.8%

Kids get close attention and learn disciplined thinking in this small school housed in a renovated Chelsea office building. Prides itself on graduating African-American males. Students take four years of science. They demonstrate mastery of subjects in portfolios of term papers, projects and presentations. Nine Regents exams required for graduation. Sophomores and juniors go on college trips. Activities, clubs, sports.

18. Midwood High School

2839 Bedford Ave., Brooklyn

Admission: Zoned;some selective programs limited to local residents, grades 85-100, state exams 3 to 4.5.
Enrollment: 3,877
Graduation rate: 86.1%
College ready: 73%
College enrollment: 74.4%
Taking SAT: 795
Average total SAT score: 1561
Taking AP tests: 827
AP pass rate: 66.5%

Popular, packed school with two highly competitive institutes in medical science and humanities. A third program serves zoned kids who choose from four courses of study: law, pre-engineering, performing arts, or communications. Many APs. Strong on drama and music. Mock courtroom, robotics lab, TV studio. Tons of activities, sports and 50 clubs.

19. Brooklyn College Academy

350 Coney Island Ave., Brooklyn

Admission: Priority to Brooklyn students or residents; grades 85-100, state exams 3 to 4.5, attendance
Enrollment: 587
Graduation rate: 100%
College ready: 64.2%
College enrollment: 89.8%
Taking SAT: 133
Average total SAT score: 1492
Taking AP tests: None

Get a jump-start on college at this Windsor Terrace school Instead of APs, students in 10th to 12th grades take credit-bearing classes at Brooklyn College: psychology, philosophy, sociology, theater, chemistry, calculus, Spanish, speech. Arts include band and stained glass. Bridges to Brooklyn program serves students of Caribbean origin. Boys’ and girls’ basketball are the only teams.

20. Francis Lewis High School

58-20 Utopia Parkway, Queens

Admission: Priority to Queens students or residents; for selective programs: grades 85-100, state exams 3 to 4.5 , attendance
Enrollment: 4,058
Graduation rate: 79.2%
College ready: 65.2%
College enrollment: 74.1%
Taking SAT: 816
Average total SAT score: 1538
Taking AP tests: 819
AP pass rate: 65.5%

Overcrowded due to popularity, Queens kids cram into this Fresh Meadows school for a smorgasbord of academics and activities. Selective programs in math, science, humanities. Courses in law, health science, forensics, engineering, art, drama and music, 16 APs, 10 world languages, plus American Sign. Junior ROTC program. Broadway-style shows, concerts, 100-plus clubs, 30 team sports.

21. School Of The Future High School

127 E. 22nd St., Manhattan

Admission: Priority to continuing 8th graders, then District 2 students or residents, then Manhattan; grades 80-100, state exams 3 to 4.5, attendance, interview, portfolio
Enrollment: 420
Graduation rate: 91.1%
College ready: 67.8%
College enrollment: 78%
Taking SAT: 82
Average total SAT score: 1550
Taking AP tests: 34
AP pass rate: 56.3%

This nurturing 6-12 school in the Flatiron District puts creativity in college prep. Students take four years of math and science among basics, plus unusual courses like “Normal Is Weird,” “Labels and the Making of the American Teenager,” and “Yale for Beginners.” Seniors orally defend their 15 to 20-page research papers with themes in history, politics and literature. Rooftop garden with greenhouse. Sports, clubs, travel abroad.

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