Philly High School Fair will offer application tips (and more) Friday and Saturday

    If you are currently parenting a middle schooler, you’ll soon face decisions on where to enroll your son or daughter for high school.

    The basics

    If you’re a resident of Philadelphia, your child is guaranteed a spot in a neighborhood public school.

    Each school has a “catchment area.” Children living inside its boundaries are guaranteed enrollment in their catchment school. For many families, that’s the way to go.

    But with a wide, diverse field of options, families might seek different options.

    The search may be on for a school that better matches a child’s learning style or interests, broadens their experiences or diversifies their peer group.

    Beyond the catchment

    Want to select a public school, but also explore options outside of your neighborhood catchment school? Philadelphia has a multitude of options.

    A student may also choose to apply to a special admission high school (schools like Masterman and Central High), a charter school (such as Mastery or KIPP) or a citywide admission school (think Dobbins or Constitution).

    These schools, with their own admissions criteria, offer spots to students selected via qualifications or lottery.

    Weekend-fair details

    In order to narrow the selection process down and target schools that might appeal to your student, attending the High School Fair is an excellent move.

    Representatives from high schools across the city host informational tables with information to help answer questions and offer a glimpse into what their school has to offer.

    This year’s High School fair will be held from 3 to 7 p.m. Friday and 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. Saturday at the Armory at Drexel University. Both private and public high schools will be represented at the fair.

    Before attending the fair (or just to get information in lieu of going), you can download the 2015 High School Admissions guide. This comprehensive guide lists information about the application process, as well as relevant information and entrance requirements for each public high school in the city.

    The application process will open online Friday and close at 5 p.m. Dec. 12. Many schools offer open-house dates or tours to interested students.

    Call the school to see when they offer time for potential students.

    More questions? Try reading the FAQ about the process. And good luck choosing!

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