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Timeline for Choosing an Elementary/Middle School (for SY 2022-2023)

2022-23 Timeline for Choosing an Elementary/Middle School

It’s never too soon to start looking for the right school. Most schools require you to apply nearly a full year before the start of the school year. This is the case for all of the School District of Philadelphia’s citywide- and special-admission middle schools and local charter schools. Some schools also have an extensive admissions process.

For the 2022-23 school year, the District’s School Selection Process will include neighborhood schools with available seats and citywide/special-admission middle schools. 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.

For further guidance through this process, take a look at our Elementary & Middle Schools Guides and Toolkits.

For more information on how to apply and enroll Elementary and Middle School students, read this How to Enroll or Apply Elementary and Middle Schools.

Overview of Timeline

October 6 2021: School Selection for the District Opens for Grades K-12.

September 24, 2021: Application for 2021-22 school year opens for most charter schools participating in Apply Philly Charter

November 21, 2021: School Selection for the District Closes

November 15, 2021: Priority deadline for scholarship applications through the Children’s Scholarship Fund.

January 24, 2022: Apply Philly Charter application deadline.

March 1, 2022: Second deadline for the Children’s Scholarship Fund scholarship applications.

*not all charter schools accept applications through Apply Philly Charter. Make sure to check the individual charter school’s deadlines.


Two to Three Years Before Enrolling in Kindergarten (children ages 2-3)

Use the GPS School Finder 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 the School Finder and select “Preschool/Daycare”.

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


Learn more about charter, District and private school options in the Philadelphia area on GreatPhillySchools.

The District School Selection student application will be available starting October 6 2021. 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. Access School District Selection Application for all students. 

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. Some schools allow prospective applicants to visit and shadow students. Families should contact schools directly.

The Apply Philly Charter application will be available starting September 24, 2021. After you decide which charter schools you want to apply to, the next step is to fill out a short, online application. See the full list of charter schools that use Apply Philly Charter and Apply.

Private schools (independent and Catholic) begin to hold open houses.

Private schools begin to accept applications and hold entrance and scholarship exams. (Read more about applying to Catholic schools and independent private schools.)

Children’s Scholarship Fund provides need-based scholarships for students in K-8. The scholarships are based on a lotteries that take place after applying to the Fund through their website. The priority deadline for the application to enter the lottery is in November of 2021 for the best odds to get a scholarship. A second lottery will be held for applications received up to March of 2022.

By November

The District’s School Selection application is due November 21 2021. Families are encouraged to not wait until the last day; opening an account in the SDP portal takes multiple days to finalize. Once a family opens an account, they will have to wait a few days for a confirmation email. If a family opens an account the day the application is due, they will not get the confirmation email in time to submit their application.

Any parent wishing to enroll in a District Kindergarten program other than his/her neighborhood school must apply using the district’s online application at schoolselect.philasd.org in November.

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.

District Special-admission middle schools make acceptance, rejection and wait-list decisions.

In March, the District notifies students about initial status. Students are expected to select their preferred school within two weeks.

District schools have limited space for Kindergarten. To ensure a space at your neighborhood school, register as early as possible. Kindergarten registration typically opens in January and closes at the end of May, but popular schools often fill up early. If your neighborhood school’s Kindergarten is full, you will be placed on a waitlist and assigned to a nearby school with space.

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  lotteries for acceptance to citywide and neighborhood schools.

All charter schools accepting applications at Apply Philly Charter (applyphillycharter.org) have deadlines on January 24, 2022. Charter schools not participating in Apply Philly Charter may also have deadlines during this time. 

Some charter schools will hold their lotteries during this time and notify parents of their application status. Families who applied to charter schools not participating in Apply Philly Charter may continue to receive admissions decisions during this time

Children’s Scholarship Fund holds its second scholarship lottery for parents considering private K-8 schools. The final deadline to apply for a scholarship is March of 2022.

Most private schools release acceptance, rejection and wait-list decisions.

In April, GreatPhillySchools collects open seat information from charter and private schools and publishes that information to help families who are still searching for a school.


 More information

Looking for more information on finding a great school? See all articles here.

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