Frequently Asked Questions

General Information

Apply Philly Charter is the easy way to apply to most of Philadelphia’s public charter schools for grades K-12. You can apply online at An application only takes a few minutes to complete.

A charter school is an independently run public school. The "charter" establishing each school is a performance contract detailing the school's mission, program, students served, performance goals, and methods of assessment.

We encourage you to use all available resources when looking for the right school for your child:

You only need to apply if your child is interested in attending a charter school that he/she does not currently attend. If your child is interested in staying at his or her current school, consult your current school's re-enrollment policy. Charter schools may encourage, but not require, families to complete paperwork indicating that they plan to re-enroll at the same school the following year

No. While most public charter schools in Philadelphia are part of Apply Philly Charter, not all Philadelphia charter schools participate. See a full list of participating schools. If you are interested in applying to non-participating schools, contact them directly. The School District of Philadelphia Charter Schools Office has contact list for every school.

No. Using Apply Philly Charter is completely free.

All Pennsylvania residents ages five through twenty-one are eligible to attend Philadelphia charter schools. But schools must give preference to students who live in Philadelphia over students who live elsewhere in Pennsylvania. Some schools must give preference even to students who live in certain parts of Philadelphia. If you have questions about a school’s preferences, please contact the school directly.

Yes, all charter schools accept students with special needs. Make sure to talk with your school about your child’s IEP and how they will meet their needs.

No. If a charter school receives more applications than the number of seats available in a certain grade, it must offer these seats through a random selection process or lottery. A lottery is held to determine who is accepted and who will be placed on a waiting list for the next school year.

How to Apply

You can submit an application using Apply Philly Charter by clicking the Apply button above. You will be asked to create an account and select a password using just your name and an email address. You will fill out a family profile, add students to your account, and select the schools you want your child to attend.

No. If you don’t have an email address, access to the internet, or don’t speak one of the languages offered on, you can submit an application over the phone by calling (800) 891-3999.

Yes. The Apply Philly Charter site is available in nine different languages. And the Apply Philly Charter Helpline is available in dozens of languages.

The application deadline for the 2020-21 school year is January 27, 2020. Some schools, like Renaissance schools, will enroll students on a first-come, first-served basis in accordance with their admission policy. See below for What is a Renaissance school.

A Renaissance Charter School is a neighborhood school that is operated as a public charter school and can only enroll students from the neighborhood, also known as a catchment zone. Most Renaissance schools enroll students from the catchment zone on a first-come, first-served basis and will only enroll a small number of students from outside the neighborhood if there is additional space. If you live within a Renaissance Charter School’s catchment, you can request to be enrolled at that school at any time. If you have questions about a Renaissance school’s admission policy, please contact the school directly. For more information about Renaissance schools see the Philadelphia Charter Schools Office website.

Yes. If you are looking for a seat right now, you can submit an application for the 2019-2020 school year; however, most schools do not have available seats. If you apply, you will be placed on a school’s waitlist and contacted in the event a seat becomes available.

If a school does have available seats in the grade you are applying for, there will be a green check-mark on the page where you select your schools. Visit to learn more about available seats at charter schools and other schools for the current school year.

Yes, you can edit your application for September 2020 at any time before the deadline. Log-in to your account and click the “Edit” button in your student’s tile on the homepage. If you are submitting an application for the current school year, you can edit your application at any point during the school year.

Yes. You can still apply to participating charter schools for the 2020-21 school year after the January 27, 2020 deadline. If a school has space available, applicants will be accepted on a first-come, first-served basis. For schools that do not have space available, applicants will be placed on a waitlist.

Yes. For non-Renaissance schools, you must submit an application before the January 27, 2020 deadline in order to be entered into a school’s lottery for a seat for the 2020-21 school year. After the deadline, schools that have availability will admit students on a first-come, first-served basis. For neighborhood schools, like Renaissance schools, students will be enrolled on a first-come, first-served basis according to their admissions policies. See ‘What is a Renaissance School’ above for more information.

You can apply to as many charter schools as you would like, however, it is important for your child’s success that the school be a good fit, so, we encourage you to learn about all the charter schools you are interested in and apply to the charter schools you think are best for your child.

Most schools conduct a lottery if they have more students who apply than available seats. Students with siblings who attended the school last year usually have the highest priority for available seats. Some schools also offer priorities for students who have a sibling accepted for next year or who are children of staff members. Some schools, such as renaissance schools, are first-come, first-served and give priority to students in the neighborhood. Contact the schools you are interested in to learn more about their admissions policies.

After Applying

Schools that hold a lottery will let you know whether you have been offered a seat or waitlisted by February 25, 2020. For neighborhood schools that accept applicants on a first-come, first-served basis, you will be notified by the school shortly after you have applied. All schools to which you applied will contact you directly. You will also be able to view your application results on Apply Philly Charter starting on February 25, 2020. You can view your results by clicking on “View 2020-2021 Application Results” on the homepage. Results will be posted on Apply Philly Charter for one month only.

If your student is offered a seat at a charter school, the school will contact you after the lottery and provide you with instructions for what to do next. You will also be able to view instructions on Apply Philly Charter beginning on February 25, 2020. You will need to provide additional information to the charter school by March 24, 2020 in order to secure your student’s seat.

No. Apply Philly Charter is only used to apply to charter schools. You will be contacted by schools directly if you have been offered a seat at a charter school. You will need to provide additional information to the charter school by March 24, 2020, in order to secure your student’s seat.

This means that the charter school to which you have applied has no seats available at this time. If a space becomes available, schools use their waitlists to determine who should next be admitted. In this event, the school will notify you directly.

Other Questions

Use the School District of Philadelphia School Finder to determine your zoned district public school.

No. Using Apply Philly Charter does not forfeit your current seat. Please consult your current school for more information about re-enrolling.

Schools have different policies on transportation. Contact the school you are interested in directly to find out whether your child would qualify.

Apply Philly Charter is part of GreatPhillySchools and Philadelphia School Partnership. GreatPhillySchools’ mission is to make information accessible so parents, guardians, and students can find, compare and demand great schools. Philadelphia School Partnership is a philanthropic non-profit organization committed to creating educational opportunities and improved outcomes for low-income students.

Apply Philly Charter only distributes your information to the schools to which you have applied. We are compliant with both FERPA and COPPA regulations. Your information will not be used for purposes outside of Apply Philly Charter, GreatPhillySchools, and Philadelphia School Partnership.