NYC Private High School vs Specialized High School

I know most here have more expertise in boarding schools but I wanted to get some insight.

I applied to 2 NYC private schools (Poly Prep, Dalton), and was accepted to Poly Prep with financial aid and waitlisted at Dalton. I also took the SHSAT for Stuyvesant and results won’t come out until May - June, but I think I did well. (I also applied to Exeter, Andover, and Choate, but am fairly sure I will be rejected.)

If it comes down to Poly Prep or Stuyvesant, which school should I choose? (If I manage to get off the waitlist of Dalton I will be going to Dalton.)

I believe you should go to Poly prep because the whole point of going to prep school is to give you connections and that is the main resource you’ll need to survive in the real world.

*For reference Poly Prep is a good but not top private school in NYC and Stuyvesant is the best public school in NYC.


I would still attend Poly prep because where’s there money there’s a place to make history and even if Stuyvesant is the best NYC public school no one of extreme importance attends.

Wow there is so much I’d like to say, but instead I’ll just ask @skieurope to weigh in :wink:


Personally, unless you are living in Brooklyn, Stuy hands down.

Connections in HS are overrated IMO, at least since the time of A Separate Peace. :grinning_face_with_smiling_eyes:


My commute to Stuy would be around 40-50 minutes.

Can you handle the large class sizes at Stuy? If you want a smaller experience and it’s affordable, then Poly. If money is a stretch, I’d go with Stuy or a boarding school.


The large class sizes are definitely part of why I’m still considering Poly - I’ve heard stories of Stuy students not being able to get into AP classes because of how much competition there is. Poly gave me a very good financial aid package, so money will not be a problem.


That’s wonderful. I guess then if it were me, I’d opt for Poly and then know you may have more choices come 3/10. Does Poly know you applied to BS? If you have FA, you won’t lose the deposit, but it’s a grey area ethically. The system put you in a hard place bc of the notification dates. Poly is a more “sporty” school, and you sound very academically oriented, so it may be a bit of a culture adjustment, but it sounds like a great position to be in. Let us know how it goes on 3/10! I hope you get the school that best fits you.

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Thank you! Yeah, I would say I am more of a academically oriented and ‘STEM person’, but many people have told me that Poly will offer many opportunities that wouldn’t be possible somewhere like Stuy where everyone will be interested in and competing for existing STEM opportunities. Poly does not know that I applied to BS, but I did inform them that I’m waiting for other school decisions and asked if I could somehow extend the deadline for a deposit.

I would agree with that assessment. As long as you know the Poly co-hort might not be as “academically driven” as the one at Stuy, then it’s a good choice and how hard you drive yourself is in your control anyway. I’m sure as experienced professionals, they can read between the lines and have done this many times before. Also, the college application process will be a lot less brutal if you are at poly vs stuy, esp if you are asian. I feel like the recent upheaval with carranza and changes that may or not be made with regards to the SHSAT also make this whole endeavour even more murky.


That’s something I’m also worried about - I know that having driven students around me will in turn motivate me to want to do well, but at the same time it’ll result in less chances (and with college as well.)

Have you committed to Poly? If not, reach out to admissions and see if they can connect you with current students who are STEM focused, particularly those who started Poly in 9th grade. I bet they would be happy to put you in touch with them.

I haven’t committed to Poly yet. Poly organized something where you will have the chance to talk to a 9th grader with similar interests, which I have signed up for. Hopefully that and going to an Open House will help me.


I think students at Hunter College High School would beg to differ with you on Stuy being the best public high school in New York. Stuy is amazing, but Hunter is arguably the best public high school in the country.

For STEM, you can’t beat Stuy. I would 100 percent pick Stuy over Poly Prep if you feel you can succeed at Stuy. It is huge and very competitive. But if you are near top of class at Stuy, every door is open to you.

If it were between Dalton and Stuy that would be tougher.

And if you get into Andover, Exeter, or Choate, and money isn’t an object, choose them.

Andover - Exeter
Poly Prep

Good luck!

You may not think that any of those people are “of extreme importance”, but that is a matter of opinion and definition, not fact. And history can be made whether or not “there’s money”- not least as it depends on what is considered history. Surprisingly little (good) history gets made in HS.

@zeke1111, from your other posts you are clearly in the right school for you. Drawing on your experience when sharing opinions is reasonable- but it is more likely to be helpful if you take into account the other person’s objectives and goals as well.


Thank you! I’m really not sure if I would be top of the class at Stuy. I’ve heard of many students talk about how it was very hard to stand out and how they didn’t have much time for much else other than school. I am still hoping to get off the waitlist at Dalton.

I’m sending you a DM with more info.

If this is indicative of your general attitude about education, let’s hope for your sake that wherever you end up post-M10 widens your world view.

Hopefully you came across as a more pleasant in your Zoom interviews than you have in this thread.