For Families

Enrollment in Charter Schools

Introduction  Photo from Coney Island Prep

With more than 1,700 public schools in New York City, including 183 charter schools, choosing the right public school can be a daunting challenge for any parent or guardian. This page is designed to help families navigate these options.

Getting started

Browse the Charter School Directory to find the elementary, middle, and high school charter options in the five boroughs. The directory includes the school's mission and model, lottery and enrollment preferences, location and community school district, and more.

Open Enrollment

Any child eligible for admission to a public district school is eligible for admission to a public charter school.

Admission to a charter school cannot be limited on the basis of disability, race, creed, gender, national origin, religion, ancestry, intellectual ability, measures of achievement or aptitude, or athletic ability.

Lottery and enrollment

The deadline to apply for most charter schools is April 1st.

If the number of applicants for a charter school exceeds the number of available seats, a random selection process, such as a lottery, must be used.

If you miss the charter school’s deadline, you can still apply, but your child will be placed at the bottom of the waitlist.

Each school has its own application. Click here to contact schools and learn more about individual schools and their enrollment timeline and processes. 

Most but not all charter schools also use the New York City Charter School Center’s Common Application.

Charter School Open Houses and Information Sessions

In addition, some schools will host an open house and provide tour information. Click here for a list of open houses and check back often for the most up to date information.


Charter schools give preference to returning students and siblings of students already enrolled in the charter school

They also give preferences to students living in the charter school’s community school district. To find out what community school district you live in, click here.

schools may also offer preferences to certain at-risk groups, such as English Language Learners or students who are eligible for free or reduced price lunch, if the law allows and the school’s authorizer approves. Single-sex charter schools are also allowed.

Any questions?

Email us at or call 212-374-5419.