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Eligible students must first meet Hunter's standards in reading and mathematical proficiency on fifth-grade standardized exams, namely public school students must score at the 90th percentile (statewide) or above on both the New York State reading test and math tests, while private and parochial school students must score in the 90th percentile (of all of the private school students in the country) or above on both the reading and math tests administered by their schools.
A kindergarten was added in 1887, and in 1888 the school was incorporated into a college.
The high school was separated from what would become Hunter College in 1903.
The catholicity and toleration crystallized in the country's Constitution prevail in the college: about two hundred of the students are Jewesses, and a black face, framed in curly African hair, may occasionally be seen.
The aim of the entire course through which the Normal students pass is not so much to burden the mind with facts as it is to develop intellectual power, cultivate judgment, and enable the graduates to take trained ability into the world with them.
It is administered by Hunter College of the City University of New York (CUNY).
Hunter is publicly funded, and there is no tuition fee. According to the school, "students accepted to Hunter represent the top one-quarter of 1% of students in New York City, based on test scores." Publicly available data indicate that Hunter has the highest average SAT score, the highest average ACT score and the highest percentage of National Merit Finalists of any high school in the United States, public or private.
Currently, 21,000 students attend the College, pursuing both undergraduate and graduate degrees in more than 170 different programs of study.
With the myriad opportunities found in New York City, and world-renowned faculty to guide them, Hunter’s students embark upon their bright and illustrious futures and begin to achieve their version of the American Dream!
The school building itself, which faces Park Avenue, was constructed to resemble the armory.
Because of its unusual design, including many classrooms without windows and the rest with only narrow windows, Hunter is called "The Brick Prison." The building contains both the high school (grades 7-12) and the elementary school (K-6), which are collectively known as the Hunter College Campus Schools. Dawn Roy is the principal of the elementary school, and Lisa Siegmann is the Director of the Campus Schools.