Hunter College Elementary School

  • Hunter College Elementary School (HCES) is the kindergarten through 12th grade laboratory school of the City University of New York. HCES is a publicly funded (tuition free) school that serves a diverse population of children who have been identified as “intellectually talented.”
  • Only Manhattan residents may apply to HCES. Parents must be able to document their home address as of the date of application and must remain residents of Manhattan as long as their children attend HCES.
  • No priority given to siblings enrolled at HCES.
  • The administered test to achieve acceptance to Hunter is available only in English. Therefore, children must have adequate fundamental skills in English to benefit from Hunter’s program.

Application Process

The application process begins when a family requests or downloads an application from the HCES Admissions Office. Within two weeks of receipt of a completed application, families will be mailed their child's official HCES application identification number and a testing packet with all the materials necessary for scheduling an appointment for the Stanford-Binet 5 test with one of Hunter’s approved psychologists.

There are two rounds of testing. In the First Round, the parent takes the child to an approved psychologist, who is trained to give the Stanford-Binet.

The only scores eligible for consideration are those from the first administration of the Stanford-Binet, given during the periods of September to December the year before the child’s desired enrollment school year.

Parents are required to pay a $325 fee to the psychologist who administers the test. Information about fee waivers is available from the HCES Admissions Office.

If you child makes it to the Second Round of Hunter’s application process, a play group and interview is scheduled. In addition, families will receive two forms - the “Parents' Observation Form” and the “Preschool Teacher's Observation Form” - to be completed and returned to the school. Both forms request short written responses to specific questions about the child's observed behaviors from both parents and teachers.

Each year placement is offered to 25 boys and 25 girls based upon the recommendations of the HCES Admissions Committee. A waiting list of 12 boys and 12 girls is also generated from the Round 2 finalists.

Timeline for Applying to Hunter Elementary School

Remember: You are only guaranteed a seat in your zoned public school so it is important to visit the school to understand its strengths and challenges, learn how parents are engaged in the school, *and* apply during the stated time period.


  • Download application packet from Hunter College Elementary School.
  • Attend an open house evening as available.
  • Schedule assessment test according to the specified guidelines.


  • Hunter applications are due mid-November.
  • Schedule assessment test no later than early December according to specified guidelines.


  • Families are notified whether or not their child has made it to Round 2.


  • Children who have made the cutoff for Hunter are invited to participate in the Round 2 on-site assessment.
  • Dates are scheduled for late January and are not subject to negotiation.


  • Admission notifications are mailed to families.