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Open Houses and Closed Doors: How the First Step Toward High School Can Become a Stumbling Block

One day last fall, Ruby Bromberg rushed to her computer and frantically began refreshing the page to see when Bard High School Early College — a high-performing public school in Manhattan — would post its open house registration. When the site went live, she clicked through as fast as she could and snagged a coveted seat.

It’s a good thing she moved so quickly. When she arrived at the school’s open house, she learned the slots had filled up in less than 15 minutes — and the principal welcomed students by cracking a joke about it.