Today is the day that applications to New York City high schools are due, the beginning of the end of the process that will sort eighth-graders into high schools, taking into account a combination of the student’s preferences, the schools’ preferences, and randomness.

The process can be messy and frustrating for everyone from special education students, who have to fly a little blind in figuring out which schools would accommodate them best, to the most academically successful students, who face monumental odds trying to get into the top specialized schools, like Stuyvesant and Bronx Science.

At Inside Schools, Liz Willen, a former New York City education reporter who is now a New York City parent, marks the occasion by reviewing the steps that got her son to today — and offering this amazing quote:

Harvard University’s Dean of Admissions William Fitzsimmons, whose territory includes New York City, told me he’s always known “that it’s much more difficult to get into any school in New York than it is to get into Harvard.’’

Some GothamSchools review: We kicked off the season with advice from experts.