High School Selection Process



The Process

The school selection process allows students going into Kindergarten all the way up to 12th grade to apply to a different school other than the assigned neighborhood or feeder school.

Students can apply up to five (5) different School District of Philadelphia Schools

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.

If a student has a support IEP, Medical 504 Plan or an English Language Learner, they automatically qualify for LeGare. LeGare is an Advocacy process allowing for an EQUAL opportunity to attend a City-Wide or Special Admission High School.
LeGare ONLY applies to 8th Graders going into 9th grade.
LeGare does NOT guarantee admission.  Students still must meet or come close to admissions criteria and the school MUST be able to provide reasonable accommodations that do not substantially alter the way the curriculum is delivered.

Before Applying …

  • 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.

When Applying …

  • 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 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.