It’s never too soon to start looking for the right school. Some schools require you to apply nearly a full year before the start of the school year. This is the case with all of the School District of Philadelphia’s citywide- and special-admission middle schools. Some schools also have an extensive admissions process.
For the 2015–16 school year, the district’s School Selection Process will include neighborhood schools with available seats and citywide/special-admission middle schools. In addition, the application for this process will be online only. Computer kiosks will be available for families who do not have Internet access at regionally based Learning Network Offices and the Office of Student Enrollment and Placement, located at 440 North Broad Street, Suite 111. Parents can also utilize computer resources at their local Free Library branch.
Three Years Before Enrolling in Kindergarten (children ages 2–3)
Use GreatPhillySchools.org or the 2015 Print Guide to begin your school search.
If you’re interested in a school with a prekindergarten program, start this process a year earlier. To search for a high quality preschool or early childhood program, visit GreatPhillySchools: Early Childhood Education.
Two Years Before Enrolling in Kindergarten
Attend open houses to tour and gain information about the schools. These events are usually held in the spring.
Visit the schools that seem as though they might be a good fit and speak with principals, teachers, and parents. Use our guide to school visits for sample questions and tips.
The Year Before Enrolling in Kindergarten/Middle School or Changing Schools
Schools work with students to review their academic records and admissions criteria (if any) at various schools. The district's elementary and middle school list can be found at philasd.org/offices/studentplacement.
The School Selection student application will be available at schoolselect.philasd.org from October 17 to December 12. District students will be able to access the application through the parent/student online portal by entering their student ID and password. Non-district students will be able to access the application through a link on the main page of the district’s website. Students can select up to five schools.
All students and families can access school selection resources at philasd.org/offices/studentplacement.
Counselors and teachers may hold information sessions to help parents and students choose schools and complete the online student application. Parents should ask principals for information about assistance in completing the online student application.
Private schools (independent and Catholic) begin to hold open houses.
Some schools allow prospective applicants to visit and shadow students. Families should contact schools directly.
Charter schools have separate application forms and deadlines for entering admissions lotteries, but some have elected to accept a Common Application. A list of charter schools participating in the common application (and the application itself) is available at phillyschoolapp.org.
By December 12
The deadline for submission of the School District's Selection application is December 12. This must be submitted online; visit schoolselect.philasd.org to apply.
Non-district students who applied to district middle schools with admissions criteria must deliver transcripts and any required supplemental materials, such as essays, directly to the schools.
Schools with admissions criteria begin to evaluate applications and conduct interviews and auditions.
Special-admission middle schools make acceptance, rejection and wait-list decisions.
Citywide middle schools choose the students who qualify to enter into the admissions lottery.
The district’s Office of Student Enrollment and Placement and Office of Information Technology run three separate computerized lotteries (for general education, special education and ELL) for acceptance to citywide and neighborhood schools.
Charter schools begin holding admissions lotteries.
Most private schools release acceptance, rejection and wait-list decisions.
District notifies students about initial status.
Students are expected to select their preferred school within two weeks.
District collaborates with schools to fill vacancies from wait lists and notifies students about final status.
Learn more about the application & selection process by clicking here.