New York City charter schools are free, public schools open to all children, making them some of the most accessible public schools in the city. If the number of applicants to a charter school exceeds the number of available seats, then charter schools are legally required to conduct a random enrollment lottery to fill them.

How to submit an application

There are three easy ways to apply to a charter school:

Use the Common Online Charter School Application to apply to multiple schools at once. Visit charternyc.org/apply-online
for details.
Visit each school’s website to download its application or apply online.
Stop by the school to pick up an application or call the school and ask staff to mail you an application.


estimated students enrolled in NYC charter schools*

* Based on SED enrollment data

How does a student get into a charter school?

Families must fill out and submit a brief application, providing basic information about the student, to each charter school they are interested in attending. Applications must be submitted by April 1 each year*. Students are admitted according to the number of seats available.

*Contact individual charter schools for details as some may extend their application deadline past April 1.

Why do many charter schools run lotteries for admission?

If a charter school receives more applications than it has seats available, then the school is required by law to run a randomized lottery to admit students. All students who submitted an application will automatically be entered in the admissions lottery. Charter school lotteries are typically held in April and May. Applicants whose names are not drawn in the lottery are placed on a waiting list and may be contacted as seats become available.

Are there preferences built into the lotteries?

Charter schools are required to offer a lottery preference to siblings of enrolled students and to students who reside in the local Community School District (CSD). Parents can find their CSD at www.nyccharterschools.org/charter-school-search.

Who oversees the charter school lottery process?

Charter school applications and lottery procedures are governed by state law and regu­lations. Each charter school’s enrollment practices are overseen by its authorizer: either the New York State Board of Regents, the SUNY Board of Trustees, or the NYC Schools Chancellor.

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