The window for applying to competitive charter and magnet schools can be very narrow. In most cases, charter school enrollment packages require attention to detail and proactive advocacy to be successful.
Here are some things to keep in mind when completing charter school enrollment packages this fall.
Check Everything Twice
In many communities, demand for charter schools far outstrips demand. One of the ways they weed out applicants is by denying incomplete charter school enrollment packages.
- Transcripts: Most charter school enrollment packages require official transcripts. This means that submitting your child's report cards or taking screenshots of their class schedules won't cut it. To ensure that your child's transcripts will be considered valid, you'll need to have the school(s) email your child's transcripts directly to the charter school(s) you're considering. To expedite this process, call early and call often. Until a charter school confirms that they've received your child's official transcript(s), you shouldn't submit a charter school enrollment package.
- Documentation: In addition to your child's official transcript(s), you'll also need to make sure you submit all documents specified by the charter school enrollment package. For most schools, this involves insurance, residency, social security, birth certificate, and immunization records. In addition to making sure that your charter school enrollment package includes every document requested, you should make sure the documents are legible and clear.
Many charter school enrollment packages are denied for minor technicalities. In the eyes of many charter schools, demonstrating engagement and personal investment in education is a major goal of the application process.
- Deadlines: The charter school application process is completed in a series of deadlines specified by the charter school enrollment package. Key dates normally included, the application window, the declaration deadline, and the acceptance deadline. The application window constitutes when applications become available and when they're due. Students may not apply before or after this window closes. A declaration deadline is the date where you must declare that you remain interested in applying for admission. The acceptance deadline is the date where you must accept enrollment. Failing to meet any of these deadlines is difficult to appeal and almost always results in the disqualification of your charter school enrollment package.
- Programs: Some charter schools weight applications. For instance, if your child is interested in joining a charter school's STEM, STEAM, or Gifted programs, their application might be given more weight than general applications.
Keep these things in mind when applying for chart schools.