20 Best Public High Schools in NYC – 2024

February 12, 2024

best public high schools nyc new york city

Getting into the “right” college is typically the biggest concern for parents and students as they start to plan for the future. But now, the importance and competition in academics starts earlier and earlier. Think parents applying to specific prestigious preschools before their children are actually born in hopes that will give them a leg up getting into the right schools. But high schools? Absolutely (continue for the 20 best public high schools in NYC – New York City).

NYC is known for a wide variety of things— its diverse population, Times Square, Central Park in the fall, Nathan’s hot dogs— or maybe that’s just me. NYC is also known for its elite public high schools. These schools tend to have appropriate student-to-instructor ratios and specialized curriculums. In addition, the best public schools in NYC have excellent graduation rates AND often act as a pipeline, leading students to top colleges and universities around the country— including those ivy league institutions.

Best Public High Schools in NYC (Continued)

A couple of things before we get started.

  1. Please note that inclusion on our 20 Best Public Schools in NYC list is a selective and criteria-based process. However, the order in which the schools appear does not represent any further ranking. The numbering is solely intended to help this resource be more user-friendly.
  2. All of the schools profiled below have a history of sending graduates to the top colleges in the country. Several factors were considered in the schools that made this list including things like location—location, location, location, right? Also considered were tuition, enrollment, average SAT/ACT scores, and academic highlights.

Now that we have all of that out of the way, let’s go ahead and take a look at the 20 best public high schools in NYC.

1) Bronx High School of Science *(Specialized)

Highlights: Bronx High School of Science is ranked second on the list of best public high schools in NYC. In addition, of the best college prep public schools in NYC, Bronx High School of Science comes in first place. Those are some solid academic accolades.

Additional Highlights: The student body of Bronx High School of Science is 2,895. Of those students, 99% are proficient in both reading and math. The student/teacher ratio is 21:1. The institution’s graduation rate is an impressive 99%. Students go onto colleges/universities such as Harvard, Princeton, MIT, NYU, Cornell, University of Michigan, Yale, and many other top-ranking academic institutions. 49% of students receive free/reduced lunches.

Bronx High School of Science receives an “A” in terms of diversity as well with more than 70% of the student body being composed of minority ethnicities.

Best Public High Schools in NYC – New York City (Continued) 

2) Townsend Harris High School

Highlights: Townsend Harris High School located in Flushing, NY, lands on most lists that tout the best public schools in NYC, clearly a solid choice school for students. Townsend Harris High School ranked in the top five of the best public high schools in NYC.

Additional Highlights: Approximately 1,347 students attend Townsend Harris High School. Of those students, 99% are found proficient in reading and math. The graduation rate is 99%. Townsend Harris also has a desirable student/teacher ratio at 16:1. Students who attend Townsend Harris High School go onto colleges/universities such as Harvard, Princeton, NYU, Columbia, University of Pennsylvania, Yale, and other prestigious institutions. 54% of students receive free/reduced lunches.

The school also receives an “A” in terms of its diverse student population. More than 75% being considered minorities.

3) Stuyvesant High School *(Specialized)

Highlights: Stuyvesant High School falls in the top five of several lists.

  • #4 on the list of best public high schools in NYC
  • #3 on the list of best college prep public high schools in NYC and…
  • Stuyvesant High School is #3 on the list of best public high schools in NYC for STEM! Wow!

Additional Highlights: 3,304 students attend Stuyvesant High School. Of those students, 99% are found proficient in math, 96% are proficient in reading. The graduation rate is 99%.  Stuyvesant High School has student/teacher ratio at 21:1. Students who attend this school on the list of the best public schools in NYC go onto colleges/universities such as Harvard, Princeton, Yale, Binghamton, Carnegie Mellon, and other prestigious institutions. 54% of the student body receive free/reduced lunches.

The school also receives an “A” in terms of its diverse student population. More than 75% being considered minorities.

Best Public High Schools in NYC – New York City (Continued) 

4) Scarsdale Senior High School

Highlights: Scarsdale Senior High School is located in Scarsdale, NY. It comes in at #5 on the list of the best public schools in NYC.

Additional Highlights: There are 1,471 students enrolled at Scarsdale Senior High School. Of those students, 99% are found proficient in reading and math. The graduation rate is 99%. Scarsdale Senior High School also has a stellar student/teacher ratio at 11:1—wow! Students who attend this #5 best public school in NYC go onto colleges/universities such as NYU, Cornell, Boston University, Syracuse University, Tufts, among other prestigious institutions. 54% of students receive free/reduced lunches.

The school also receives an “B+” in terms of its diverse student population. Approximately 33% of students in attendance are considered minority students.

5) Staten Island Technical School *(Specialized)

Highlights: Staten Island Technical School is currently ranked the number one public high school in NYC. In addition, on the list of the 1,201 best college prep public high schools in NYC, Staten Island Technical School is ranked #5.

Additional highlights: Of the 1,355 students who attend Staten Island Technical School, 99% are proficient in reading and math. AP enrollment is 95%. The teacher/student ratio comes in at 19:1. The graduation rate also stands at a solid 99%. Students who attend Staten Island Technical School apply to top colleges/universities like Harvard, Princeton, MIT, NYU, Cornell, Boston University, and beyond.  49% of students in attendance receive free/reduced lunches.

Staten Island Technical School’s student body is considered to be one of diversity. The school receives an “A-“ in diversity with minority students making up 67% of students.

6) High School of American Studies at Lehman College *(Specialized)

Highlights: The High School of American Studies at Lehman College is located in Bronx, NY. It proves itself to be a strong choice for students landing in the top ten of the best public schools in NYC.

Additional Highlights:  408 students attend the High School of American Studies at Lehman College. Of those students, 95% are found proficient in reading and math. The graduation rate is 95%. The High School of American Studies at Lehman College’s student/teacher ratio is 14:1—a huge advantage in a smaller student population. Students who attend Townsend Harris High School go onto colleges/universities such as NYU, Columbia, Boston University, Brown University, Georgetown University, Yale, and other prestigious institutions. 0% of students receive free/reduced lunches.

The school also receives an “A” in terms of its diverse student population. More than 50% are minority students.

Best Public High Schools in NYC – New York City (Continued) 

7) Bard High School Early College Queens

Highlights: Bard High School Early College Queens is located in Long Island City, NY. It is indeed one of the best public high schools in NYC for a multitude of reasons!

Additional Highlights: 675 students attend Bard High School Early College Queens. Of those students, 95% are found proficient in reading and math. The graduation rate is also a formidable 95%. This school also has an attractive student/teacher ratio at 12:1. Students who attend Bard High School Early College Queens go onto colleges/universities such as NYU, Columbia, Cornell, Stony Brook University, Fordham, Yale, and St. John’s University, among others. 59% of students receive free/reduced lunches.

The school also receives an “A+” in terms of its diverse student population— go, Bard!. More than 71% are minority students.

8) High School Math, Science, and Engineering at the City College of NY *(Specialized)

Highlights: The High School Math, Science, and Engineering at the City College of NY (CCNY) is ranked among the best public schools in NYC. In fact, it comes in at #2 for:

  • Best college prep public high school in NYC
  • Most diverse public high school in NYC\

Additional Highlights: 524 students attend the High School Math, Science, and Engineering at the CCNY. Of those students, 95% are found proficient in math, 72% are proficient in reading. The graduation rate is 95%. The High School Math, Science, and Engineering at CCNY has a student/teacher ratio at 16:1. Students who attend this institution go onto colleges/universities such as Cornell, Stony Brook University, NYU, University of Michigan Ann Arbor, Brown University, among other prestigious institutions. 37% of students receive free/reduced lunches.

The school also receives an “A+” in terms of its diverse student population. More than 70% minority students.

9) Great Neck South High School

Highlights: Great Neck South High School is located in Great Neck, NY. It is ranked among the best public schools in NYC for several reasons.

Additional Highlights: 1,222 students attend Great Neck South High School. Of those students, 99% are proficient in math, 92% in reading. The graduation rate is 97%. Great Neck South High School has an outstanding student/teacher ratio at 11:1. Students who attend this school go onto colleges/universities such as Harvard, Princeton, NYU, Stony Brook University, Cornell, Boston University, among other prestigious institutions. 20% of students receive free/reduced lunches.

The school also receives an “B+” in terms of its diverse student population. More than 75% of students in attendance are minorities.

Best Public High Schools in NYC – New York City (Continued) 

10) Brooklyn Technical High School *(Specialized)

Highlights: Brooklyn Technical High School proves itself to be a strong choice for students as one of the best public schools in NYC.

Additional Highlights: 5,966 students attend Brooklyn Technical High School. Of those students, 99% are found proficient in reading and math. The graduation rate is 97%. Brooklyn Technical High School also has a student/teacher ratio at 21:1. Students who attend BTHS go onto colleges/universities such as NYU, Stony Brook University, Cornell, University of Buffalo SUNY, and other prestigious institutions. 59% of students receive free/reduced lunches.

The school also receives an “A” in terms of its diverse student population. Approximately 70% of students are minorities.

11) Roslyn High School

Highlights: Roslyn High School is located in Roslyn Heights, NY. RHS is among the 20 best public schools in NYC.

Additional Highlights: Approximately 1,056 students attend Roslyn High School. Of those students, 97% are proficient in math, 87% in reading. The graduation rate is 98%. RHS also has a desirable student/teacher ratio at 11:1. Students who attend Roslyn High School go onto colleges/universities such as Harvard, Princeton, NYU, Cornell, Boston University, Duke University, and other prestigious institutions. 13% of students receive free/reduced lunches.

The school also receives an “B+” in terms of its diverse student population. Approximately 30% of students are considered minorities.

 12) Eleanor Roosevelt High School

Highlights: Eleanor Roosevelt High School is among the best public high schools in NYC.

Additional Highlights: 537 students attend Eleanor Roosevelt High School. Of those students, 95% are found proficient in reading and math. The graduation rate is 95%. Eleanor Roosevelt High School also has a student/teacher ratio of 15:1. Students who attend ERHS go onto colleges/universities such as Cornell, Stony Brook University, NYU, Brown University and other prestigious institutions. 32% of students receive free/reduced lunches.

The school also receives an “A-” in terms of its diverse student population. More than 40% being considered minorities.

Best Public High Schools in NYC – New York City (Continued) 

 13) New Explorations into Science, Technology and Math School

Highlights: New Explorations into Science, Technology and Math School is top-rated. This institution is well-deserving of the title of one of the best public schools in NYC.

Additional Highlights: 1,639 students attend New Explorations into Science, Technology and Math School. Of those students, 96% are proficient in math, 91% in reading. The graduation rate is 95%. New Explorations has a student/teacher ratio at 16:1. Students who attend this school go onto colleges/universities such as NYU, Cornell, Stony Brook University, Syracuse, Fordham, and other prestigious institutions. 54% of students receive free/reduced lunches.

The school also receives an “A” in terms of its diverse student population. More than 75% being considered minorities.

 14) The Beacon School

Highlights: The Beacon School is notably one of the best public high schools in NYC. It is a top-rated institution and known for a variety of positive attributes.

Additional Highlights:  1,507 students attend The Beacon School. Of those students, 92% are proficient in math, 99% in reading. The graduation rate is 98%. TBS has a solid student/teacher ratio at 18:1. Students who attend The Beacon School go onto colleges/universities such as NYU, Binghamton, Boston University, Cornell, and other prestigious institutions. 36% of students receive free/reduced lunches.

The school also receives an “A” in terms of its diverse student population. More than 57% being considered minorities.

 15) Bronxville High School

Highlights: Bronxville High School is among the best public high schools in NYC with a sold track record in many areas.

Additional Highlights: 528 students attend Bronxville High School. Of those students, 95% are found proficient in reading and math. The graduation rate is 95%. Bronxville High School has a student/teacher ratio at 18:1. Students who attend BHS go onto colleges/universities such as Boston University, Boston College, Brown University, Georgetown, and other prestigious institutions. 4% of students receive free/reduced lunches.

The school also receives an “B-” in terms of its diverse student population, which falls a bit below many of the schools on our list. Approximately 20% of students at BHS are considered minorities.

Best Public High Schools in NYC – New York City (Continued) 

 16) Baruch College Campus High School

Highlights: Baruch College Campus High School proves itself to be a strong choice among the best of the best public schools in NYC.

Additional Highlights: 482 students attend Baruch College Campus High School. Of those students, 95% are found proficient in reading and math. The graduation rate is 95%. Baruch also has a desirable student/teacher ratio at 14:1. Students who attend Baruch College Campus High School go onto colleges/universities such as NYU, Stony Brook, Boston University, and other prestigious institutions. 48% of students receive free/reduced lunches.

The school also receives an “A” in terms of its diverse student population. More than 59% being considered minorities.

 17) Millennium Brooklyn High School

Highlights: Millennium Brooklyn High School is a solid choice for parents/students. MBHS is top-rated and among NYC’s best public schools for good reason.

Additional Highlights: Approximately 671 students attend Millennium Brooklyn High School. Of those students, 95% are proficient in math, 87% in reading. The graduation rate is 95%. MBHS has a desirable student/teacher ratio at 12:1. Students who attend this school go onto colleges/universities such as NYU, Binghamton, Boston University, Cornell, and other prestigious institutions. 49% of students receive free/reduced lunches.

The school also receives an “A+” in terms of its diverse student population. More than 56% being considered minorities.

 18) Manhattan Hunter Science High School

Highlights: Don’t be fooled by Manhattan Hunter Science High School’s place on our list! It’s a strong choice for students and is among the best public schools in NYC! It falls in the top ten in diversity and best college prep public high school.

Additional Highlights: 433 students attend Manhattan Hunter Science High School. Of those students, 95% are proficient in math, 82% in reading. The graduation rate is 95%. Manhattan Hunter also has a desirable student/teacher ratio at 14:1. Students who attend Manhattan Hunter go onto colleges/universities such as NYU, Stony Brook, Cornell, Columbia, and other prestigious institutions. 69% of students receive free/reduced lunches.

The school also receives an “A+” in terms of its diverse student population. More than 75% of Manhattan Hunter Science High School students are minority ethnicities.

Best Public High Schools in NYC – New York City (Continued) 

 19) Wheatley School

Highlights: Wheatley School is located in Old Westbury, NY. It proves itself to be a strong choice for students and falls among the best public schools in NYC.

Additional Highlights: 696 students attend Wheatley School. Of those students, 88% are proficient in math, 82% in reading. The graduation rate is 95%. Wheatley School also has an attractive student/teacher ratio at 9:1. Students who attend Wheatley School go onto colleges/universities such as NYU, Binghamton, Penn State, and other prestigious institutions. 2% of students receive free/reduced lunches.

The school also receives an “A-” in terms of its diverse student population. Approximately 40% are minority ethnicities.

 20) Horace Greeley High School

Highlights: Horace Greeley High School is located in Chappaqua, NY. Horace Greeley maintains its position on the list of the best public schools in NYC.

Additional Highlights: 1,135 students attend Horace Greeley High School. Of those students, 99% are found proficient in reading and math. The graduation rate is 98%. Horace Greeley has a desirable student/teacher ratio at 10:1. Students who attend Horace Greeley High School go onto colleges/universities such as Cornell, Brown University, NYU, and other prestigious institutions. 5% of students receive free/reduced lunches.

The school also receives an “B-” in terms of its diverse student population with approximately 20% of students being considered minorities.

Best Public High Schools in NYC – Final Thoughts

Finally, What’s the Best Choice? Public or Private?

Public vs Private can be a tough call. That’s entirely up to you and your student. While we’ve given you this comprehensive list of the 20 best public high schools in NYC, there are several excellent private schools in NYC as well. In addition, here’s a fantastic list of summer programs to consider as your student moves through their high school academic experience and prepares for college.

So, there they are—the 20 best public schools in NYC! Happy applying and here’s to the future!

You may also wish to check out the following blogs: