We are aware of technical issues relating to our School Search and potentially other areas on our website and are working on a resolution. If you are not able to view the information you are seeking on our site, please check back again later today. Thank you for your patience!

Applying to a Public Charter Elementary or Middle School

Applying to a Public Charter Elementary or Middle School

There are two basic types of charter schools in Philadelphia. Traditional charter schools can enroll students from any part of the city, and use a random lottery to fill open spots. Renaissance charter schools (also known as Neighborhood charter schools) must enroll all students living in a designated neighborhood. TIP: Check a school's admissions policies to determine whether or not they require students to live in the catchment.

Traditional Charter Schools

After you decide which charter schools you want to apply to, the next step is to fill out a short application. Charter schools must give all students an equal chance at admission. They are not allowed to deny application or admission to students because of their grades, race, income or special needs. They are not allowed to make applicants take tests or go through interviews before admitting them.

Apply Philly Charter

You can use Apply Philly Charter to apply to many charter schools. Apply Philly Charter is a common online application to most charter schools in Philadelphia. You can apply to participating charter schools using your smartphone, desktop computer, tablet, or even by phone. Once you're on the website, you create a secure profile and enter basic contact and grade-level information about your student, then choose which charter schools you want to apply to.

Applications submitted through Apply Philly Charter will be sent out to the schools listed on your application. Families can log in to their Apply Philly Charter profile any time to see the status of their application or their waitlist status. 

For participating schools, the 2022-23 application opens on September 24, 2021. The deadline to apply is January 24, 2022.

For charter schools not participating in Apply Philly Charter you must complete their on-line or paper application and submit to the school directly. In general, most charter schools require applications to be submitted by early February and conduct their lotteries by early March. For specific deadlines and admissions information, it is important that you contact each charter school directly if they are not participating in Apply Philly Charter.

Renaissance Schools

Renaissance Schools are formerly low-performing district public schools that were selected as turnaround schools by the School District of Philadelphia and converted into charters. Renaissance Schools operate like any other charter school, with increased freedom.

However, like traditional public schools, Renaissance Schools are required to enroll all students living within designated neighborhood boundaries or catchments.

More Information

Visit GreatPhillySchools school profiles to find out more information about each charter school.

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

Sign up for our GreatPhillySchools mailing list to stay in the loop and receive updates about application deadlines, learning resources for students, schools with open seats, events and more.