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How do I get into Fiorello H. LaGuardia High School, and does it require the SHSAT?

By Bobby-Tariq Tutoring Center | Updated on January 17, 2020

Fiorello H. LaGuardia High School is another specialized high school, although it does differ from the eight other high schools in one major way: admission to this elite school does not require the Specialized High School Admission Test (SHSAT). LaGuardia is specialized in another way… it fosters creativity within the arts while still placing a strong emphasis on academics.

Because there is an extensive audition process, LaGuardia is one of the most difficult schools to get into. The school has many famous alumni like Nicki Minaj, Awkwafina, and Jennifer Aniston. There is a reason why this school breeds success, and this is why it is so tough to be admitted.

We wrote this guide to help anyone who hopes to audition for this top-notch arts school. How can you get into LaGuardia? Does it require the SHSAT? No, but it requires many other things.

Audition Overview

Getting accepted to LaGuardia is an extensive process that is different based on your artistic interests. We’ll discuss that in more detail below.

However, due to the Calandra-Hecht Bill, acceptance is also based on academic criteria that have nothing to do with the arts. After passing competitive examinations in their chosen arts and then an audition, where multiple evaluators judge the students, applicants must also illustrate excellent academic achievement. Students can only be considered if they reach the Department of Education’s academic policy of having satisfactory grades in every core class as well as 90% or higher attendance. Students in both eighth and ninth grade who fulfil these requirements may apply to LaGuardia.

Students can audition for dance, drama, instrumental music, fine arts, technical theatre, and vocal music, and an open house is held each March for accepted students before the specialized high school acceptance deadline.

Audition Process

Students can audition for one or more studios through the audition process by registering through MySchools (myschools.nyc) or by registering through the middle school’s guidance counselor. Students will receive an audition ticket which states the date, time, and location of the audition.

The audition process takes about four hours for each studio. Students can audition for two studios per day if they so choose.

1. Dance

The dance program focuses on ballet and modern dance, and students study technique, dance history, choreography, and career management. For the audition, students should be familiar with both styles and come to the audition wearing ballet shoes and a fitted black dance attire. Applicants will dance in two full-length ballet and modern dance classes.

2. Drama

The drama program focuses on stage acting. Students will study acting, theatre history, voice, diction, dance, and career management. For their auditions, students will prepare two contrasting two minute monologues, which should be memorized. The LaGuardia website has many suggested monologues, although a student’s monologue need not be on the list. For the audition, students can wear any attire they feel that they can freely move in. After a group warm up, students will audition their monologues, and can be asked to do a re-direct, improv exercise, or cold reading.

3. Fine Arts

The fine arts program is based in classics. Students study foundational artistic skills and then move on to art history and elective studio courses, like Architecture, Sculpture, Digital Media, Fashion, and Advanced Painting. Students must prepare a 8-15 piece portfolio in various types of media. 3-D work is also accepted. On the day of the audition, drawing materials will be provided as students draw a human figure from observation, a still life from memory, and a drawing in color from their own imagination.

4. Instrumental Music

The instrumental music program is based in symphony. Students learn technique, music theory and history, musician skills and performance ensembles. For the audition, students should prepare a solo selection without accompaniment in any style or genre. On the day of, students must bring their own instruments, besides those playing the piano, percussion, tuba, double bass, or harp. Applicants will also be asked to tap and sing back melodies, show their ability to sight-read and perform scales from memory.

5. Technical Theater

The technical theater program is focused on skills and techniques in technical theater. Students learn carpentry, electronics, costuming, stage management and design. They also must take part in the Career and Technical Education (CTE) program just like students at Brooklyn Tech. On the day of the audition, students should construct a 3-D model in a shoe box or other box that can be carried of a setting for Dracula, a Play by Steven Dietz (1996); A Raisin in the Sun by Lorraine Hansberry; or The Crucible by Arthur Miller. Students will bring their model and discuss why they chose certain elements on the day of the audition, and might be asked to replicate processes in sound and lighting.

6. Vocal Music

The program in vocal music surrounds choral repertoire. Students will learn how to use their vocal chords in a healthy and productive way, as well as study theory and history along with musicianship skills. Students will sing a song with no accompaniment and will be asked to sing and tap back melodic patterns.


While LaGuardia is primarily an arts school, it also prepares its students to flourish in their college careers. Students come from diverse cultural backgrounds and encourage multiple perspectives. The graduation rate is always over 99% and nearly all graduates also graduate from college. There are also many AP classes available at LaGuardia, such as English Language and Composition, English Literature and Composition, Chinese Language & Culture, Italian Language & Culture, French Language & Culture, Japanese Language & Culture, Spanish Language & Culture, Calculus AB, Calculus BC, Computer Science Principles, Statistics, Biology, Chemistry, Environmental Science, Physics 1, Psychology, Human Geography, World History, US History, US Government and Politics, Comparative Government, Art History, Studio Art (Drawing), Studio Art (2-D), Music Theory, and an AP Capstone Seminar Research. With courses like these, students are undoubtedly ready for their college careers.

Study Resources 

While you may not need to take the SHSAT to gain entrance to LaGuardia High School, it is important that you keep your grades up to fulfil the necessary requirements and keep your academic achievement high while at the school. We’re here to help you do that. We at Bobby-Tariq Tutoring Center recommend a number of study resources to help students excel, like preparatory books and private tutors.
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