DREAM – The Specialized High Schools Institute (DREAM-SHSI)

DREAM helps middle school students get ready for the Specialized High Schools Admissions Test (SHSAT). The SHSAT is the test used to determine admission to the specialized high school in New York City. The school include:

There are two DREAM programs, the Specialized High School Institute (DREAM-SHSI), which runs from the middle of grade 6 to the fall of grade 8, and the Summer/Fall Intensive, which runs during the summer and fall before students plan to take the SHSAT.

The next Specialized High School Institute will run from February 2017 to October 2018.

Key Program Components

Who can apply to DREAM-SHSI?

If your child is eligible, we will send an application to your school in late November. The deadline for the application will be printed on the form. To be eligible, a student must:

  • be a current NYC resident
  • be a current 6th grade student in a public or charter school
  • be economically disadvantaged as defined by Free Lunch status which is determined by the federal income eligibility guidelines.
  • have a minimum scale score of 320 on the 2016 grade 5 NYS ELA exam, and
  • have a minimum scale score of 319 on the 2016 grade 5 NYS math exam

If there are more eligible applicants than available seats, we will randomly select students from among those who completed applications.

Eligible students who aren’t offered placement through the random selection process will be put on a waitlist. We will mail offer and waitlist letters directly to student homes in January 2017.

To be accepted into the Institute, the student/family must commit to participating for the full durtion of the program, which spans three school years (grades 6, 7, and 8). Students who are offered a placement in the program must attend an orientation with a parent or guardian to finalize acceptance of the offer.

Where does the Specialized High School Institute meet?

The Institute has 20 locations in the five boroughs. Offer letters will include exact locations.


The 2016 Summer/Fall Intensive is over. Letters will be sent to students who are eligible for the 2017 season in spring 2017.

Eligibility for the Summer/Fall Intensive

Eligible students will receive a letter from their school principal or guidance counselor. We will also send letters to the homes of eligible students. If your child is eligible, you can enroll by returning the signed letter to the student’s principal or guidance counselor. If you have received an offer letter, you can also enroll your child by calling (718)-935-2399.

To be eligible for the program students must:

  • Attend a DOE public school.
  • Be completing grade 7 and enrolled for grade 8 next year.
  • Be a current NYC resident.
  • Live in, or attend school in, NYC school districts 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10, 11, 12, 16, 17, 18, 19, 23, or 32.
  • Have scored a minimum score of 3.3 on the 2015 English Language Arts (ELA) and minimum scaled score of 4.1 on the 2015 Mathematics standardized tests (both taken in the spring of 6th grade).