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What does the High School of American Studies at Lehman College specialize in? 

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

The High School of American Studies at Lehman College, or HSAS, is another specialized high school that has a devotion to making its students feel like scholars. Located in Van Cortlandt Village, just two blocks away from Bronx Science, the High School for American Studies is part of the subsection of specialized high schools that are connected to New York City’s public colleges. HSAS emphasizes the study of American history unlike most of the specialized high schools which focus on the STEM field. The school emphasizes a well-rounded education and prepares students for college and beyond in a wide range of disciplines, from politics to science to the arts. The school has a very special relationship with Lehman College, using its campus library, athletic facilities, cafeteria and more. HSAS has students who come from all over the city to be able to take advantage of this college connection.

Students who attend HSAS are prepared for the future and gain the necessary skills for careers in many disciplines through the school’s many enriching activities. This guide will be about the acceptance rate of HSAS, advanced courses that students can take, activities that they can get involved in, competitions to participate in, overall school performance, and rankings. Keep reading to learn why the High School of American Studies is worth attending.

Acceptance Rate and Cutoff Scores

The High School of American Studies at Lehman College has a cutoff score among the highest scores for admission on the Specialized High School Admission Test (SHSAT). This means that gaining admission to HSAS is far from easy, and will require a lot of hard work. However, there is absolutely no reason to get discouraged by this. Having a goal to get into HSAS and working towards it will aid you in your journey to a successful future. Of 30,000 potential students each year, about 90 students get in to HSAS, given its small size. This means that about 0.3% of students who take the exam are offered admission to HSAS. For ninth graders, of 3,000 students who attempt to take the SHSAT, about 2 are accepted. This means 0.07% of test takers are admitted to HSAS.

The typical cut off score for HSAS is 524 for eighth graders and above the range of 554-564 for ninth graders. These are high scores, but they are far from impossible to achieve. If you hope to have a chance against the 192 applicants who are fighting for each seat, you will have to put in the work. If you dedicate your time and energy to studying for the SHSAT, you will find a place at HSAS in the coming year.

Advanced Courses

The High School for American Studies gives students a very unique opportunity to engage in not only advanced placement courses but also in college level courses. The school’s curriculum allows for honors, AP, and Lehman College courses in all subjects and disciplines. HSAS is more unique for its focus in the humanities, which most other specialized high schools do not place much emphasis on. Students have the opportunity to take many elective courses along with their required courses in American History, Research Methodology, and Grammar, which are not focused on at all in other schools. The addition of a Grammar class is especially pertinent as virtually no other schools in New York City have added it to their curriculum.

Beyond these core courses, students can take Constitutional and Criminal Law, Film, Foreign Policy, Political Science, Intellectual History, European History, Period Studies, New York City History, Architectural History and Drafting, Photography, Advanced Drawing and Painting, Music History, Journalism, Poetry, Creative Writing, Drama and Acting. These courses serve a wide range of humanities subjects, but HSAS also exposes students to the STEM field, with courses like Logic, Combinatorics, Number Theory, Diagnosing Disease, Psychobiology, Nutrition, Environmental Ethics, the Biosphere, and Anatomy.

There are also language courses in Italian, French, and Spanish. HSAS has many advanced placement classes as well, including but not limited to AP Calculus AB, English Literature and Composition, English Language and Composition, Environmental Science, Spanish, US History, and World History. The school has many opportunities for students to take college courses at Lehman College as well. With such a comprehensive range of courses available, student will undoubtedly learn about their interests and passions at HSAS.


At HSAS, students are privileged to choose between course offerings in such a wide range of subjects, but they also are able to engage in competitive activities on and off campus as well. HSAS has a very strong connection to Lehman College, which gives its students access to all of Lehman College’s resources as well as its library. There is a Model UN at HSAS as well as a Debate Team, Economics Team, and Mock Trial/Moot Court. The Model UN attends conferences at other schools across the city and country several times per year. The Debate Team attends one monthly competition, and the Economics Team is very involved on campus.

There is also a Robotics Team and a Math Team which are both consistently successful in competitions. Again, HSAS is a very small school with a student body of around 400 students, so they do not have the breadth of student competitions that other, larger schools might. However, they make up for it with their commitment to the activities that are currently active on campus. There are many activities that students can join at HSAS, allowing them to more clearly define their interests.


Outside of the classroom, there are a multitude of activities that students can get involved with. Students can join a number of clubs and activities such as Anime, Arista, Arts and Crafts, Astronomy, Band, Chess, Classic Film, Coding, Community Service, Dance Team, Debate, Drama, Electronics, Environmental, Glee, Great Books, GSA, Journalism, Literary Magazine, Math Team, Mock Trial, Model United Nations, Moot Court, Music, Poetry, Robotics, Running, School Newspaper, Science Research, Senior Government, Soccer, Spanish Honor Society, Speech, Student Government, Volleyball, Women’s Empowerment, World Cultures, Yearbook, and Zumba. Furthermore, there are also a decent number of athletic teams and clubs on campus. Girl’s teams include basketball, cross country, outdoor track, softball, and tennis. Boy’s teams include basketball, baseball, bowling, cross country, outdoor track, and tennis. There are also NCAA cleared school sports like running, soccer, and volleyball. These activities allow students to find enjoyment in recreational activities after school.


Students at the High School of American Studies have shown excellent growth and performance. Not only do 99% of students graduate in four years, 100% of them enroll in college or career programs within six months after graduating. Furthermore, student attendance is at 97%. Students at HSAS also have much higher SAT and regents scores than their surrounding neighborhood schools. There are not a lot of students at HSAS, but those who do attend must be the best of the best. After all, only 90 students are accepted each year. The students who enter must display astounding academic performance and behavior.


Rankings are important, and HSAS is ranked the 56th best school in the nation by the U.S. News & World Report. Furthermore, it has ranked #6 in New York State and #8 in the New York metropolitan area. In addition, it is ranked #202 of all STEM High Schools although it is a school that focuses primarily on the humanities and history. HSAS is not only an academically competitive school but also a very well-rounded institution. Attending HSAS is not something that many people are offered the chance to do. But with the right combination of hard work and studying, you can definitely get in!

To get into HSAS, you should adhere to a very strict study plan and not deviate from it. Only 90 students are admitted each year, meaning that it is not an easy school to get into. At Bobby-Tariq Tutoring Center, we have over ten years of experience helping students like you get admitted to specialized high schools, including HSAS. We have the best resources for you, from our effective preparatory books to our master SHSAT classes and individualized private tutors, we can support you on your journey to HSAS.
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