I'm starting to panic about driving around looking for a parking spot (using up the rest of the gas in my car) at Townsend Harris for the open house. I know you are an expert on getting into NYC high schools, so I ask you if going to the open house has any impact on my child's being accepted to Townsend Harris High School. I've been told by some parents that showing interest in the schools by attending open houses will influence the school when it comes to application time.
My son is debating between Stuyvesant High School and Townsend Harris. I don't want to jeopardize his chances of getting in by not attending. Please Advise.
You should definitely go to the open house. If you drive, there is a lot of street parking near Townsend Harris, on Main Street a block away at meters and on Melbourne perpendicular to the main entrance.
Also, there are a number of public bus routes that leave you right by Queens College, just steps away from THHS. The Open House isn't until 5:00 pm, so you will have plenty of time after school ends to get there.
It will definitely benefit you to not only go to the open house, but also to make sure you collect emails and contact numbers and respond with thank you notes to follow up with whomever you meet.
That is not the case with Stuyvesant. They only want to see a good SHSAT score. The Open House for Stuyvesant is really more for your benefit, but completely irrelevant when it comes to the admissions process.
For better or worse, I have personally heard of kids who, through strong recommendations from someone inside the school, got into Townsend Harris. I've heard that on more than one occasion.
Make sure your child's jhs guidance counselor knows that THHS is his first choice as well. THHS may go so far as to call the school and as the guidance counselor to recommend "the best of the best."
To summarize, going to the open house will have a positive impact on thhs only if they KNOW you went. You need to follow up with emails and thank you's and phone calls.