You have less than a 10% chance of getting into Houston ISD (HISD)'s ten most selective schools. In fact, your average chance is slightly less than 5%. Eight out of ten on this list are elementary schools. River Oaks, Travis, and TH Rogers are Vanguard schools, meaning that your child must qualify as Gifted and Talented (G/T) to be admitted.
With the exception of Pin Oak Middle School, the other nine schools are simultaneously neighborhood and magnet schools. Therefore, if you're really set on going to one of these schools, it may be easier for you to move into the school's zoned neighborhood attendance area rather than trying your luck with the lottery. If moving to the attendance zone isn't an option for you, we strongly recommend that you apply to more schools than just the ones on this list. Finally, note that if you get into one of these schools, you should probably attend. On average, 87% of admitted students accepted an offer of enrollment within three weeks of receiving the offer. This analysis is for a previous year. For information on the 2015  2016 lottery, click here. Compare this list to Most Popular and Most Coveted. These tables are sortable; you can click on a header (bold text in green row) to sort by that criteria. Sorting is alphabetical or numerical, highest to lowest or lowest to highest. You can even sort multiple columns simultaneously by holding down the shift key and clicking a 2nd, 3rd, or even 4th column. Top 10 Most Selective Houston ISD Schools Overall

Rank  School Name  # of Seats  # of Applications  Acceptance Rate  Yield Rate 

1  Twain Elementary  13  748  1.74%  100% 
2  Roberts Elementary  22  893  2.46%  86% 
3  Poe Elementary  15  526  2.85%  80% 
4  Horn Elementary  35  858  4.08%  94% 
5  River Oaks Elementary  54  1443  6.09%  91% 
6  Lovett Elementary  48  776  6.19%  98% 
7  Travis Elementary  20  510  6.97%  100% 
8  T.H. Rogers K8  157  2659  9.06%  90% 
9  Kolter Elementary  68  695  9.78%  97% 
10  Harvard Elementary  69  647  10.66%  86% 
Top 10 Most Selective HISD Middle Schools
Chances of admission improve dramatically for middle school versus elementary. For the top ten as an average, the acceptance rate jumps to just over 30%. However, the top three schools remain fierecely competitive with an average acceptance rate of just under 10%. Long Middle School is an outlier in this list; the low acceptance rate probably has more to do with the fact that it has so few spaces versus desire for nonzoned students to attend.
Rank  School Name  # of Seats  # of Applications  Acceptance Rate  Yield Rate 

1  Pin Oak Middle School  160  2333  6.86%  74% 
2  Pershing Middle School  104  1287  8.08%  60% 
3  T.H. Rogers K8  157  2659  9.06%  90% 
4  Garden Oaks PK38  70  615  11.38%  87% 
5  The Rice School K8  238  1942  12.26%  72% 
6  Wilson PK38  68  472  14.41%  76% 
7  Long Middle School  18  89  20.22%  22% 
8  Wharton Dual Language Academy K8  158  547  28.88%  82% 
9  Stevenson Middle School  131  450  29.11%  80% 
10  Johnston Middle School  391  1273  30.71%  85% 
Top 10 Most Selective HISD High Schools
On average, HISD magnet high schools exhibit almost the same chances of admission as middle schools at roughly 33% for the top ten. Although the Energy Institute and Chavez have acceptance rates over the HISD systemwide average of 42%, they're not that much higher. In general, this list shows that HISD has a good number of desirable high schools.
Rank  School Name  # of Seats  # of Applications  Acceptance Rate  Yield Rate 

1  Bellaire High School  185  1763  10.49%  61% 
2  HS for the Performing & Visual Arts  225  1325  16.98%  86% 
3  Carnegie Vanguard High School  175  1447  19.32%  65% 
4  Young Women's College Prep  235  712  33.01%  30% 
5  Westside High School  325  983  33.06%  57% 
6  Reagan High School  370  1105  33.48%  98% 
7  DeBakey High School  534  1407  37.95%  61% 
8  Lamar High School  874  2156  40.54%  32% 
9  Energy Institute High School  280  596  46.98%  49% 
10  Chavez High School  189  329  57.45%  33% 
Methodology
After submitting a request in accordance with the Texas Public Information Act, the Houston School Survey (HSS) acquired magnet application data for Houston ISD (HISD) for the 20142015 school year. According to HISD, the data was current on April 18, 2014, when it was generated.
To determine selectivity, we looked at the number of seats available for outofzone "magnet transfers" and compared it to the number of applications for those seats. Magnet transfers are students who may only attend the school by applying versus "zoned students," who are automatically eligible to attend by virtue of where they live.
We then divided the number of magnet transfer available spaces by the number of applicants for those spaces. The resulting decimal is the percentage displayed in the table below.
Note that we are dividing schools into elementary (PreK5), middle (68), and high (912) schools. Not all of Houston ISD's school fit into these neat categories. Some schools for example are K8 while others are 612. When a school included grades in more than one subset, we included it in both groups. For example, a K8 school would be included in both the elementary lists and the middle school lists.
The "Yield Rate" in the farthest right hand column is the percentage of seats that had been filled as of April 21, 2014, or after the first round, general lottery. Higher percentages mean that families offered admission quickly took the school up on its offer; lower rates mean that families decided to accept another school's offer of admission.
Note that the % Admitted in the right hand side of the table below is the percentage of students admitted during the first round, general lottery (including siblings). The actual percentage of students admitted will have increased by the first day of school since not all students initially admitted will enroll, thus making seats available to waitlisted students.
Also note that we attempted to account for some confusion in the data set. In making our calculations, the number of applicants we used includes only outofzone magnet transfers. Some families apply to magnet schools even though they do not need to; we removed those applicants from the total number.
Additionally, we removed applicants who did not meet a vanguard program's G/T criteria for admission. We deciphered the number of students who did not qualify by looking at the number of applicants versus the number of seats and the number of students added to the wait list.
Ordinarily, the number of students on a waiting list would simply be the number of applicants minus the number of seats. For example, if a school had 100 applicants but only 10 seats, then we would expect to see 90 students on the waiting list. However, for vanguard schools, only about 65% of applicants are actually qualified to attend; therefore, about 35% of applicants don't make it to the wait list.
Download our data set here.
To determine selectivity, we looked at the number of seats available for outofzone "magnet transfers" and compared it to the number of applications for those seats. Magnet transfers are students who may only attend the school by applying versus "zoned students," who are automatically eligible to attend by virtue of where they live.
We then divided the number of magnet transfer available spaces by the number of applicants for those spaces. The resulting decimal is the percentage displayed in the table below.
Note that we are dividing schools into elementary (PreK5), middle (68), and high (912) schools. Not all of Houston ISD's school fit into these neat categories. Some schools for example are K8 while others are 612. When a school included grades in more than one subset, we included it in both groups. For example, a K8 school would be included in both the elementary lists and the middle school lists.
The "Yield Rate" in the farthest right hand column is the percentage of seats that had been filled as of April 21, 2014, or after the first round, general lottery. Higher percentages mean that families offered admission quickly took the school up on its offer; lower rates mean that families decided to accept another school's offer of admission.
Note that the % Admitted in the right hand side of the table below is the percentage of students admitted during the first round, general lottery (including siblings). The actual percentage of students admitted will have increased by the first day of school since not all students initially admitted will enroll, thus making seats available to waitlisted students.
Also note that we attempted to account for some confusion in the data set. In making our calculations, the number of applicants we used includes only outofzone magnet transfers. Some families apply to magnet schools even though they do not need to; we removed those applicants from the total number.
Additionally, we removed applicants who did not meet a vanguard program's G/T criteria for admission. We deciphered the number of students who did not qualify by looking at the number of applicants versus the number of seats and the number of students added to the wait list.
Ordinarily, the number of students on a waiting list would simply be the number of applicants minus the number of seats. For example, if a school had 100 applicants but only 10 seats, then we would expect to see 90 students on the waiting list. However, for vanguard schools, only about 65% of applicants are actually qualified to attend; therefore, about 35% of applicants don't make it to the wait list.
Download our data set here.
Article last updated on May 6, 2014.
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