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School Selection 2022-2023

School Selection Process

The School Selection Process allows students who are entering Kindergarten through the 12th grade to apply to a school other than their Catchment School.  This is the school that connects to your family’s home address.  Students can apply to up to five (5) different School District of Philadelphia Schools.  The different types of District Schools are:

  • Criteria Based Schools – academic criteria based
  • City Wide Schools – lottery based on space
  • Catchment Schools – lottery based on space

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

For more information on LeGare, please click on the link below:

For more information about Writing Sample Accommodations, please click on the link below:

Ready to get started? Apply Now!

School Selection is for grades K-12.

If you need to get info on our any of our schools

If you need to figure out your catchment or feeder school

Use the Find a School tool in Smart Choice to learn more about the schools that are participating in School Selection.

Step 1

Research your School Options

    • View our High School Directory.
    • Visit any open houses so you can to learn more.
    • Ask questions to see if a school meets the interests or needs of your student.
    • Understand what you’ll need, to be eligible, for each school.

Please Note: Only schools with available space to accept students outside of the catchment area are included in these list.

Step 2

Access the Application Portal

  • All-in-one-place submission for up to five (5) selections.
  • Certain schools may have specific requirements.

District Student Application

  • District Students apply through their Parent & Family Portal.  The student account is already linked to all their academic records which includes grades and attendance. When the application is filled out, everything tied to your account will automatically be sent to the Criteria-based Schools on the application.
    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 academic records will be sent.  You will have to upload the academic records to the application so each Criteria-based School can receive them. If your student is not applying to a Criteria Based School, they are not required to upload academic records.

Non-District Student Application

  • Non-District Students have to submit an Online Application in addition to uploading all of the necessary academic records, in order to be considered for admission into a Criteria-based School. The application is through a different portal and families should be prepared to upload electronic copies of the records which include, but is not limited to Grades, Attendance, Special Education, English Learner or 504 Accommodation information.
    As a reminder, if your student is not applying to a Criteria-based School, they are not required to upload any academic records.
  • All documents can be uploaded in any of the following formats: (pdf, .bmp, .gif, .jpg, .jpeg, .pic, .pict, .png, .tiff).

Online Writing Sample

The online writing sample is required for current 8th grade students, who are applying for admission to the 9th grade in one of the five high schools listed below for the 2022-2023 school year

  • Central High School – Minimum Writing Sample Score (22)
  • George Washington Carver High School of Engineering and Science – Minimum Writing Sample Score (17)
  • Julia R. Masterman High School – Minimum Writing Sample Score (22)
  • The Academy at Palumbo High – Minimum Writing Sample Score (17)
  • Parkway Center City Middle College – Minimum Writing Sample Score (17)

Writing Sample Window: November 29th through December 16th

Zip Code Considerations for Select Criteria-Based Schools

The following zip codes will be prioritized by select criteria-based schools for the 2022-2023 School Selection Process. Please note, students MUST still meet the established criteria before being marked eligible for the lottery.

Our goal was to identify zip codes which, in recent years, have been underrepresented at Academy at Palumbo, Central, Engineering and Science, and Masterman. To do this, we looked at 9th grade enrollment for the last four years (2017-18 through 20020-21) and compared enrollment at these four schools with enrollment at all other District high schools. Each year, about 12% of 9th graders from across the city were enrolled in one of the four high schools – but that percentage varied greatly by students’ home zip codes. The specific zip codes with the lowest enrollment rates have not been equitably represented at these four schools, and are being prioritized.

School Selection Application Steps

  • 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:
    • Criteria Based Schools (academic criteria based)
    • City Wide Admission Schools (lottery based on space)
    • Catchment 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 catchment 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 a 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 catchment 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 and Attendance.
    • Students and Families 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.
    • Be prepared to meet any additional requirements of that particular school, like writing samples/essays, going to an audition or open house.
    • Make sure you know where the schools are located and any SEPTA routes needed to get there.

What’s Next?

  • Unfortunately students will not be notified if something is missing from the application.  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 was offered.  It only means that the application was received.
  • The first round of decisions comes out in early February, so stay tuned.

Being Accepted

School Selection Notifications 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 space 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.

If a school does not pull your student off their wait list by the time the school year ends, your student will remain on the wait list until the next School Selection Process begins.

Below are Important Videos that will help you to complete the School Selection Application


The School District of Philadelphia offers thousands of programs and services across hundreds of schools. We hope every student Finds their Fit, this fall!
One of the most exciting parts of your education in Philadelphia is how you can customize your learning experience, by choosing a school that’s right for you. Every student is assigned a catchment school, from K-12, based on where they live. But, if you are interested in any other school in the District, all you have to do is apply!

Dates and TimesActivity
October 6, 2021 @ 4:00 PMSchool Selection Application Window Opens.
November 21, 2021 @ 11:59 PMSchool Selection Application Window Closes.
November 30, 2021Receiving School Evaluate (schools and programs with
admission criteria).
TBDConduct lotteries, perform quality control process
TBDInitial notifications available! School District students/parents will be able to view their options in student and parent portals. Non-District families will be able to view their options in SmartChoice Portal.
TBDLast day to confirm approvals. Not confirming will change the approval to “Decline - No response”.
TBDSchools fill available seats with students from their wait lists.
TBDFinal notifications available for school students and families.

To learn more about each High School Program and their admission requirements, please click below:

To learn more about each Elementary and Middle school option, please click below:

To get answers to the frequently asked questions about the school selection process, please click below:

For students who have a support IEP, Medical 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 Criteria-based High School.  This Advocacy process is only applicable to 8th Graders who are headed into 9th grade and applying to a Criteria-based High School.

Please know that LeGare does not guarantee admission into a Criteria-based High School.  Students must still meet or come close to the advertised admissions criteria and the school must be able to provide reasonable accommodations for the student to be successful without substantially altering the way the curriculum is delivered.

Specific questions can be directed to the School Counselor where your child attends or to the LeGare Committee using the email address found in the Contact Support Section.


Now is the ideal time to consider the different options the District has to offer for High School.  Our High School Directory is one of the best tools to learn about all of the programs our public high schools have to offer.


Explore your high school options!
Visit the virtual fair to find your High School. Attendance is free and all families are invited to join.

No registration or password is required.

Learn about over 100 high school options in Philadelphia during this year’s virtual fair, hosted by GreatPhillySchools.


The School District of Philadelphia’s Parent & Family Portal gives District’s families access to valuable information about your child’s education and school, including the School Selection Application.


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!

Contact Support


  • To reach the Office of Student Enrollment and Placement –
  • To reach the LeGare Committee –

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
215-400-8485 – Русский
215-400-8489 – Español
215-400-8486 – Việt

Call us at 215-400-4290