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 applyphillycharter.org. 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:

Consult with schools directly

Talk with your family and friend

Visit greatphillyschools.org

Visit School District of Philadelphia Charter Schools Office

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 applyphillycharter.org, 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 2021-22 school year is January 25, 2021. Some schools, like Renaissance schools, will enroll students on a first-come, first-served basis after the deadline 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 2020-21 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. Some schools, like Renaissance schools, will enroll students on a first-come, first-served basis after application deadline.

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 greatphillyschools.org 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 2021 at any time before the January 25, 2021 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 2021-22 school year after the January 25, 2021 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 25, 2021 deadline in order to be entered into a school’s lottery for a seat for the 2021-22 school year. After the deadline, schools that have availability will admit students on a first-come, first-served basis. Renaissance schools will also enroll eligible students on a first-come, first-served basis after the deadline 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 applicants than seats available. Students with siblings who already attend 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. Others may offer priority for geographic regions, like a particular zip code. Renaissance schools are first-come, first-served and give priority to students in a specific neighborhood boundary, called a “catchment”, which is determined by the School District of Philadelphia. Visit GreatPhillySchools or a school’s website to learn more about their admissions policies.

After Applying

All schools will notify applicants of their application outcomes on February 12, 2021. You will receive an email through Apply Phllly Charter for each school you applied to with the results of your application to that school. On February 12, 2021, you will also be able log-in to your Apply Philly Charter accounts to view your application results by clicking “View 2021-2022 Application Results” on the home page.

If you receive a seat offer from a charter school, you must accept that seat in your Apply Philly Charter account by clicking “accept”. Seats offered on February 12, 2021 must be accepted by March 12, 2021. After accepting your seat, you should then follow the instructions provided by the school to submit your enrollment paperwork and finish securing your seat. If you are offered a seat by a charter school at any other point (i.e. off of the waitlist), you must also accept that seat in your Apply Philly Charter account by the deadline communicated to you and visible in your Apply Philly Charter account.

No. Apply Philly Charter does not collect enrollment paperwork. After you accept your seat in your Apply Philly Charter account, you must then submit your enrollment paperwork directly to the school. Follow the “Next Steps” instructions in your Apply Philly Charter account and communicate directly with the school about how to submit your paperwork.

This means that the charter school to which you have applied has no seats available at this time. If a space becomes available, schools will make offers to applicants off of their waitlists. In that event, you will receive an email from Apply Philly Charter notifying you of your offer and the deadline for accepting. You must log-in to your Apply Philly Charter account and accept your seat offer by the deadline.

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 the Philadelphia School Partnership, a philanthropic non-profit organization committed to creating educational opportunities and improved outcomes for low-income students.

Apply Philly Charter only provides 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 and Philadelphia School Partnership. Review our terms and conditions.