School Selection Process - "Find Your Fit" is Now Open

SCHOOL SELECTION PROCESS IS NOW CLOSED!

The School District of Philadelphia, School Selection Process is now closed.  The Process opened on September 18, 2020 and closed November 6, 2020.  With the District offering thousands of programs and services across hundreds of schools, this was perhaps one of the most exciting parts if the school year thus far.   We hope every student who participated was able to Find their Fit, for September 2021!

WHAT’S NEXT?

With CoVid19, we hope you spent time getting to know your options.  If you are unsure as to what happens next, think about the schools you applied to.  Depending on the type of school listed on the application will determine what happens next.  If you applied to a:

  • Neighborhood School – your name will automatically go into the lottery for that school but the results from the lottery won’t be made known until January 15, 2021.
  • City Wide School – you must attend an interview to have your name placed in the lottery for that school but decisions won’t be made known until January 15, 2021.  If you are unsure as to when the interviews will be scheduled, please review that school’s website or the City Wide and Special Admission School Requirements Table and contact that school for more information.
  • Special Admission School – each school reviews academic records to determine if a student meets or comes close to their Admissions Criteria.  Some Schools will have an Interview, some Schools will hold Auditions and one school will organize a group writing session.  These happen between November 16, 2020 and January 5, 2021.  If you are unsure of any additional requirements of the schools you applied to, please review the City Wide and Special Admission School Requirements Table.

After all the Interviews, Auditions and group writing sample happens, students and families will be made aware of all school decisions and lottery outcomes on January 15, 2021.  The way you receive your notification depends on how the application was submitted:

  • Applications submitted through the Family & Student Portal will have decisions posted there
  • Applications submitted using the Non-District Student Process will have an e-mail sent to the address or addresses used on the application

Once you receive your Decision from the Schools, you will need to respond if an approval is received.  If no approval or a wait list decision is received, no response is needed.

For more detailed explanation, you may visit Important Dates and Times.

Types of District Schools

The different types of schools in our District fall into three categories:

  • Special Admission Schools – academic criteria based
  • City Wide Schools – lottery based on space
  • Neighborhood Schools – lottery based on space

This application process does not include other Charter or tuition based schools like Catholic or Friends Schools.

LeGare

For students who have a support IEP, 504 Plan, or are an English Language Learner, they automatically qualify for LeGare.  This is an  Advocacy process that allows students an EQUAL opportunity to apply and attend a Special Admission High School.  This Advocacy process is only applicable to 8th Graders who are headed into 9th grade.

Please understand that LeGare does not guarantee admission into a Special Admission School.  Students who fall into the LeGare bucket must still meet or come close to the admissions criteria of the Special Admission School and the school must be able to provide reasonable accommodations for the student to be successful.  All without substantially altering the way the curriculum is delivered at the school.  Also, it is important to make sure the Special Admission School you are applying to is the right fit for your student.

For more information about LeGare see our Resources section.

FIND YOU FUTURE FIT

We invite you to explore our new Career Pathways tool. Designed to help students discover, explore and plan for their futures based on matching their interests with the programs across our District schools. Research career clusters, current District CTE programs, AP offerings, military guidance, and postgraduate opportunities to help you plan for school selection and your future!

Application Process

  • It is IMPORTANT to know if you are either a District or a Non-District Student because the application process is a little different (see below).
  • Research your options for schools.  There are three types of School District of Philadelphia Schools:
    • Special Admission Schools (academic criteria based)
    • City Wide Admission Schools (lottery based on space)
    • Neighborhood Schools (lottery based on space)
  • Once you find the schools you like, make sure you have what you need to apply to the schools of your choice.
  • Know that if a student does not receive an approval through this process, they will be assigned to their neighborhood or feeder school, according to the home address, unless a seat in a Non-District School is obtained.  There are some exceptions:
    • If a student currently goes to a District school that is NOT their catchment school, the student has the right to follow the feeder pattern.
    • If a student has specific learning needs that their neighborhood school cannot provide, an alternative school will be assigned.
  • Know your options.
  • Figure out which schools you would like your student/child to apply to.  MAKE THESE CHOICES CAREFULLY!
    • Does your student/child fit the school? Are his or her strengths or interests aligned with what the school has to offer?
    • Does your student/child meet the criteria for admission?  This includes, but is not limited to: Grades, Attendance, Behavior and Standardized Test Score Results.
    • Be prepared to meet any additional requirements of that particular school, like writing samples/essays, or going to an audition or interview.
    • Make sure you know where the schools are located and any SEPTA routes needed to get there.

District Students apply through their Parent & Family Portal.  The student account is already linked to all their academic records which includes grades, attendance, behavior and standardized test scores. When the application is filled out, everything tied to your account will automatically be sent to the Special Admission Schools on the application.  You will however be responsible for uploading any essays, or letters of recommendation where applicable.

***NOTE***
If your student/child IS a School District of Philadelphia Student this year, but was NOT a School District of Philadelphia student last year, he/she will not be set up in the system where the records will be sent. You will have to send hard copies of ALL academic records to each Special Admission School.

Non-District Students have to submit an Online Application in addition to uploading all of the necessary records, in order to be considered. The application is through a different portal and families should be prepared by already having electronic copies of the academic records which includes but is not limited to Grades, Attendance, Behavior and Standardized Test Score Results.

  • All documents can be uploaded in any of the following formats: (pdf, .bmp, .gif, .jpg, .jpeg, .pic, .pict, .png, .tiff).
  • SPECIAL NOTE: for all Non-District Students, once you have submitted the application for consideration, CHANGES TO THE APPLICATION CANNOT BE MADE.  IF YOU ATTEMPT TO DO SO, IT WILL DELETE THE PREVIOUS APPLICATION.

What’s Next?

  • District Families and Students may log into their portal as many times as they wish to view or make changes to their application so long as the application window remains open.
  • Non District Families and Students should ensure your application was submitted correctly with all the items needed.  Unfortunately you WILL NOT BE NOTIFIED if something is missing.  Non District Families and Students should check the e-mail address that was used to submit the application because the confirmation receipt indicating that the application went through will be sent to that address.  This confirmation receipt does NOT MEAN AN APPROVAL.  It only means that the application was received.
  • The first round of decisions comes out in January, so stay tuned.

Your notification will list each school on the application and whether or not your student was accepted into the school, not accepted into the school, or placed on the schools wait list.  If an approval was received, you must choose which school your student will attend (please follow the specific instructions on the notification once it is received).  This will make sure your student has a seat at that school.  You may only accept one school, and you cannot change your selection once it has been made.   The only time the decision can be changed is if your student was placed on the wait list and that school contacted you indicating a seat is available.  You may only change your selected school once.   If your student was placed on the wait list by more than one school, you will have to wait until one of the schools contacts you indicating space is available.

See our Notification FAQs for more details about this part of the process.

How exactly will you receive the notification?
Notifications will be available on January 15, 2021 starting at 5:00 PM.
School District of Philadelphia Students must log into your Account through the Family or Student Portal (the same way you applied to the schools back in September).  Note: Traffic to the site is traditionally very high, so if you don’t get through at first, please wait a few minutes and try again!

Once you’re logged in, please look on the left side of the screen for the navigation options and go to the “Message Center”.  The School Selection Graduation Cap Icon will appear to the right (Green Icon for Students and Grey Icon for Parents).  From there, you will click on the School Selection icon which will take you to your application.

There will be a link that reads “Click here to see results”.  After clicking on the link, you will then see the list of schools you applied to.  Next to each of the schools you will see the decision each of the school made.

You will see that you have either been (a) Accepted, (b) placed on the schools Wait-List or (c) have been Disapproved to the schools you applied to.  See below for more info on each.

Non-District Students will receive an e-mail to the e-mail address that was provided when filling out the application.

(Please make sure to check ALL of the inboxes to your e-mail account because sometimes the response can end up in the “junk”, “trash” or “spam” folder by accident.)

Once you open the e-mail, you will find a link in the body of the e-mail.  Click on the link and it will open a new page to show you the Notification Letter containing all the results.

You will see that you have either been (a) Accepted, (b) placed on the schools Wait-List or (c) have been Disapproved to the schools you applied to.  See below for more info on each.

What happens if I receive a(n):
(a) Approval?
YOU MUST REPLY.  You must reply by selecting the school you wish to attend.  If you have been accepted by more than one school, please select the one you want to attend.  Even if you only have ONE APPROVAL, you MUST RESPOND to let us know if you still want to attend that school.

District Students: Please click the appropriate box, reflecting your decision to “Accept the Approval” or “Decline the Approval” next to the schools on your list.  At the bottom of the page, click the UPDATE APPLICATION button to save your selection.
Non-District Students: please follow the instructions on your notification letter.**Your reply must be submitted before the designated deadline in January 2021.  The exact date will be listed on your School Response Notification.**
If you do NOT choose one of the approved schools or reply by the designated deadline, your approval will automatically be switched to a Disapproval, and your seat will no longer be available.  REMEMBER: EVEN IF YOU ONLY HAVE ONE APPROVAL, you must still reply to commit to that school and secure your spot.

(b) Wait-List:
You may find that you were wait listed at one or more schools.

If you were accepted by one or more schools, but wait-listed on others, begin the process by selecting your first choice among the schools that approved you. Then wait to hear from your wait-listed schools (see below).
If you are only wait-listed, that means you’re currently slated for your neighborhood school, but awaiting a possible spot from a wait-list.
In either case, there is no additional action required from you, while waiting to hear back from those schools (except if you fit into scenario (i), you must select your first choice among the schools that approved you, while you wait). The School Selection process consists of two rounds of notifications. If your child is selected from a waiting-list in the second round, you will receive communication directly from that school. You will decide then, whether to change from the school you’ve currently accepted, or to accept the new offer from the wait list school.

If you decline the offer from the wait list school, you do not need to do anything else.  You will stay enrolled in the school you initially chose.  If you accept the new offer, you still do not need to do anything – the new school will change your status in the system for you.

You will receive a final notification by the end of February (same process as the initial notification so check your account or email, depending on whether you are a District or Non-District Student).  If you have changed schools, your notification status on that wait list school will now say “Approved”, and your former school’s status will now reflect “Disapproved.”

Remember: If an approval was received by more than one school but placed on the Wait-List at another/others…
You must still choose a school from your current choices in order to hold a spot while you wait for an answer from your list of wait listed schools.  You will be allowed to make a change if you are accepted later by your wait-listed school(s), but you don’t want to risk losing your spot.

(c)  Disapproval?
A Disapproval means that the School Based Selection Team evaluated the student’s application and supporting documents and has determined that the student does not meet the entrance criteria.  You must choose from the schools that have approved your application.

If you were not approved by any of your selected schools, you will automatically be enrolled in your neighborhood school that is unless you have secured a seat in a Non School District of Philadelphia School.  To pursue further action, please contact the Office of Student Enrollment and Placement at schoolselect@philasd.org.

How-To Videos (English and Spanish)

What is School Selection - English

What is School Selection - Spanish

Starting the School Selection Process - English

Starting the School Selection Process - Spanish

Choosing Your Application - English

Choosing Your Application - Spanish

Next Steps - English

Next Steps - Spanish

Resources

Once the School Selection Application Process opens on September 18, 2020, schools, families and students can access the online application to submit requests for the the school or schools you’d most like to attend.

The application Process will close November 6, 2020 and be for admission in September 2021.


Dates and TimesActivity
September 18, 2020 @ 5:00 PMSchool Selection Application Window Opens.
November 6, 2020 @ 11:59 PMSchool Selection Application Window Closes.
November 16, 2020 to – January 5, 2021Receiving School Evaluate (schools and programs with
admission criteria).
January 8, 2021Conduct lotteries, perform quality control process
January 15, 2021 @ 5:00 PMInitial notifications available! School District students/parents will be able to view their options in student and parent portals. Non-District families will be notified by e-mail.
January 29, 2021Approvals will change to “Decline- No response” if the student does not confirm an acceptance.
January 2021 to February 2021Schools fill available seats with students from their wait lists.
February 12, 2021 @ 5:00 PM Final notifications available in the student and parent portals for school district students and families.

There are several ways to research and compare schools as you search for your perfect fit.

You can view a lot of different things like test scores and demographics – and even compare schools side-by-side – using the updated School Profiles and Data feature.

Due to COVID, we’ve encouraged our schools to update their websites with as much detail as possible so definitely view, and revisit those sites throughout the process. We still recommend you contact a representative at your desired school to ask any questions; just understand in this new normal, it can be hard to get to everyone as quickly!

In 2020, unfortunately live events like open houses and High School fairs won’t be possible. However, we do have a few ways to get a feel for our many high schools:

Virtual High School Fair: Coming in September 2020! Connect with representatives to discuss admissions requirements, extracurricular activities, academics, and more.

High School Directory: our annual compilation of each high school with details about specific academic programs, special clubs, athletics, and more.

Career Pathways: a new and interactive way to explore careers and programs within the School District of Philadelphia. It features eight distinct, yet in-demand careers clusters highlighting current CTE programs, AP offerings, Military guidance, and postgraduate opportunities to help you plan for the future you!

The School District of Philadelphia provides families with the opportunity to apply to schools in all grades including Kindergarten.  In addition to having the ability to attend a different neighborhood  than the one connecting to your home address, students entering grades 5 to 8 have several different City Wide and Special Admit* options.

*A special admit middle school is one that has a specialized program, and specific admissions criteria.

To find out more about these schools and the admissions criteria, please click on the school name below.

Academy for the Middle Years (AMY) at Northwest

Alternative Middle Years at James Martin

Carver Middle School for Engineering and Science

Fitler Academics Plus

Conwell, Russell

Girard Academic Music Program (GAMP)

Hamilton – AIMS Magnet Program

Hill-Freedman World Academy

Masterman, Julia

Overbrook Education Center

Science Leadership Academy at Beeber

Science Leadership Academy Middle School (SLAMS)

Once the School Selection Application Process opens again in September; schools, families and students can access the online application to submit requests for the the school or schools you would most like to attend.  Please be mindful that the Application Process will close in November and be for admission in September 2021.

Contact Us

E-Mail:

  • To reach the Office of Student Enrollment and Placement – OSEP@PhilaSD.org
  • To reach the LeGare Committee – LeGare@PhilaSD.org

Visit the Family and Community Engagement (FACE) Get Help website to find contact information for your School Counselor

215-400-8480 – SHQIP
215-400-8481 – عربي
215-400-8482 – 汉语
215-400-8483 – Français
215-400-8484 – ខ្មែរ
215-400-8474 – Português
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