Enrolling a child into a new school can be a stressful process without proper planning. Whether you are enrolling your child into a public, charter, or private school, you will be required to submit official documentation. School enrollment requirements vary from state-to-state, district-to-district, and from public to private school.
It is important to consult the school and district for a list of their specific document requirements when enrolling your child in school.
Of course, every school has the same basic requirements for all new students (including transfers). If you are preparing to enroll your child into a school, take a look at this guide to prepare your documents for enrollment.
If you plan to enroll your child into a public school, you will be required to submit documents to satisfy their school enrollment requirements.
Unless you are choosing to enroll your child in a school that is outside of your neighborhood boundaries, you will be required to submit a proof of residence to secure a spot at your neighborhood school.
Of course, if you want to enroll your child at another school, you will still need to supply proof of residence, but your child’s acceptance hinges on the school’s open enrollment availability (opposed to your address).
Documentation and Records
When enrolling your child in school, you will be required to prove their identity and age (with a birth certificate, social security card, etc.).
Depending on the school’s rules, you may be required to supply a specific form of identification. It is also best to check with your child’s school when reviewing the school enrollment requirements.
Schools also require vaccination and medical records to show consistent well-kid check-ups, dental visits, and vision tests.
When you enroll your child in public school, you will most likely be required to fill out registration forms. This will include intake forms outlining your child (and your own) legal information, and emergency contact information.
Many parents and students prefer a charter school over a traditional public school because of the freedom to accommodate the students better.
Charter schools can pick curriculums, focus on specific skill development, and provide better student resources than many public schools.
Charter school enrollment requirements will be very similar to public school requirements.
The school will require documentation for your child’s identity and age, proof of residence, and vaccination/medical records.
A charter school may also require test scores, talented and gifted documentation, 504 plans, and IEPs.
Let Your Child Shine
Since charter schools have the option to be specialized in an area of study (such as STEM studies), they may also require entrance exams, interviews, portfolios, and more.
Charter schools (and private schools for that matter) want to find students who they believe will thrive in their school. This is because when kids are learning and happy, test scores go up, graduation rates go up, and funding goes up.
When you are looking at the charter school enrollment requirements, consider if you believe that your child will be able to thrive in the new school environment.
If your child is analytical, they might struggle in an art school. Conversely, if your child is expressive and artistic, they may flounder in a STEM school.
When deciding schools, do not let the glamour of fancy technology and rigorous studies outshine what is best for your child.
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Private school admissions processes usually start at least one year before the school year. In the late fall, many private schools will host an open house, where they will outline the admissions process, introduce their programs, and meet the staff.
By February, applications are usually due, as well as any applicable fees.
By April or May, schools will mail out acceptance letters for the new school year starting in September.
Private school enrollment requirements are the most rigorous of the schooling options and will vary the most from school-to-school. In fact, statistics show that many of the United State’s most exclusive private schools have acceptance rates as low as 4%.
Here are some requirements that you should expect when enrolling in private schools:
Documentation and Records
Private schools will require many of the same official documentation for students as public schools. These documents include proof of address, birth certificates, and more.
This is also where you would want to include any documentation for IEPs and learning accommodations.
Entrance assessments, interviews, and essays.
Depending on the age of the student, they will be required to submit proof of knowledge in the form of an essay or interview. During these interviews/essays, the school will judge them based on a rubric that determines how the school believes the student will fit into their culture.
Previous Transcripts and Records
All previously reported grades will need to be submitted with the application. These transcripts will serve as a reference for your child’s past performance in school. They might also ask for any records for discipline or awards that your child has received in school.
Students might have to take a standardized assessment when they enroll in a private school. These assessments serve to capture your child’s understanding of the content in all content areas (math, science, English, social studies). These results can also be used as a baseline to measure growth upon acceptance into the school.
Check with your private school to find out which test, if any, they use for entrance exams.
Depending on the school, you may also be required to submit proof of funds to pay the school’s tuition. Along with any application fees and deposits. The school will want to ensure that you will be able to pay for your child’s schooling for the duration of the year.
Students may also have to go through an observation for their social interactions and how they operate as a student.
With the increase of virtual learning, many parents are opting for a more official online schooling option (versus a public school transitioning into virtual education).
Online school provides unique opportunities for students who are looking for a less traditional schooling experience.
When you choose to enroll your child in an online school, certain school enrollment requirements differ from a traditional school.
Documentation and Records
When enrolling in an online school, you will still be required to submit a birth certificate, proof of guardianship, vaccination records, and proof of residence for enrollment.
Since online schools receive public funding, they must adhere to the laws and requirements of any brick and mortar school.
You will also be required to submit any historical academic records that you have for your child. Since many students who are enrolling in online schools are coming for a homeschool situation, the online school will most likely have a form to accommodate homeschool grade reporting.
Online schools will be checking to see if your child is at grade level for their age. They want to confirm that your child has at least attempted the appropriate courses (for example, if your child is 14, the school wants to see that they have at least tried to take 9th grade English or equivalent).
Online schools will also want 504 plans, IEPs, gifted and talented documentation, and test scores. They might even ask for proof of vision screening for your child. All of these school enrollment requirements serve as the documentation the school needs to receive funding for your child and provide them an education.
When preparing to enroll your child in a new school, it is important to review the school enrollment requirements with plenty of time before the deadline. You may find that some of the documentation will require some “hunting down”. So the more time you give yourself, the better. Whether you are enrolling your child in public, charter, private, or online school, you can expect to submit these following documents:
- Proof of identity and age (for your child).
- Proof of residence.
- Vaccination records, medical history, and vision/dental records.
- Emergency contact information.
- 504 plans, IEPs, and other educational documentation.
- Report cards
If you are enrolling your child in a charter or private school, you may also be required to submit:
- Test scores
- Interviews, personal essays, portfolios
It is important to remember when choosing a new school for your child to consider how your child will fit into the new school’s culture. Using this list, you can now assemble the necessary documents to satisfy school enrollment requirements.
Of course, you must consult your child’s school for specific requirements and expectations.
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