Is Hunter better/harder than Stuyvesant or vice versa. A Parent's view with one kid in each school

I’ve seen some questions related to which is better, which is harder etc. between these two schools. And I had the same questions because my older son made it to Stuy, and my younger one made it to Hunter at the 7th grade entry.

First let’s get the joke out of the way. What do all Stuyvesant and Hunter students have in common? They all took the Hunter exam!

I won’t get into all the entrance aspects as they are well documented. But it seems like most are comparing the two schools not having been exposed to one or the other. As the title says, my oldest son just graduated from Stuy and my second son is a junior at Hunter.

Hunter operates like a private school. They have smaller student body, they extol the virtues of working together, the teachers are incredibly caring and helpful. They want you to succeed. In fact, they flat out tell you that 7th grade is meant to ensure every student comes up to a baseline w/o stressing them out too much. They even have a travel class so the bond between students can be cemented.

Stuyvesant is a sink or swim school. It is essentially like enrolling in a college engineering program where they EXPECT you to keep up. And because there is almost a thousand kids per class, you can get lost in a hurry. Something that’s impossible at Hunter.

So which is a harder school? Stuy is and there is NO QUESTION about it. The amount of work and number of classes you take at Hunter pales in comparison to what Stuy assigns. Notice I didn’t say harder. There’s just much more work to be done at Stuy and that makes everything harder. But when it comes to sciences/math, Stuy is head and shoulders more difficult.

That’s not to say that Hunter curriculum is a breeze. It’s not. But you have the luxury of having less classes, less workload, less homework, etc. So you simply have more time to get things done.

Also, there IS a difference in academic outcome. Hunter’s AVERAGE SAT score is 1550. Think about that…it’s the AVERAGE of the student body of 300 or so. But I believe Stuy is not too far behind at around 1480 (but I’m not certain).

Hunter forces seniors to apply to only 8 schools. This keeps the “per school” competition down while Stuy doesn’t enforce how many schools you can apply to.

But on a percentage basis, more Hunter kids get into Ivy than Stuy. Numerically, more students get into Ivy because they have almost 3 times as many students.

Both are exceptional high schools. But Hunter is more relaxed and allows students to enjoy high school. Stuy is much more fast paced and does a better job of preparing the student for college. Every Harvard, MIT, Wharton, UChicago kids come back to Stuy and say “yeah, college is way easier” Precisely because you have more time in college and Stuy trains you to manage your time to survive.

So if your kid needs a little more attention, go for Hunter. If your kid is self starter and likes sciences more than humanities, go for Stuy. You cannot go wrong with either.

I hope this helps someone trying to make the difficult (but incredibly well deserved) decision between two schools.

One final tip…if you jump from Hunter at 9th grade, be forewarned. 7th and 8th grade at Hunter could not be more different than 9th grade at Stuy. So let the kid know that he has to kick it up a few notches. Again, the course workload goes up to a new level at Stuy.

Hope it helps.