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School enrollment requirements

Find out what information you need to enroll in public, charter and private schools.

By Miriam Myers , GreatSchools Staff

Check well in advance of the school year to find out what paperwork is required and when the deadlines are. To be sure what a particular school's requirements are, check with your school district, the school's Web site or call the school directly.

Public school requirements


Many school districts ask you to apply for more than one school with a common application. Find out from your district what their policy is.

Kindergarten cut-off date

In most states, to be eligible for kindergarten, your child must be at least 5 years of age. The birthday cut-off date varies by state.

Provide proof of your child's age and identity

Either a birth certificate or another reliable document stating the child's identity and age (such as a passport, school ID card, school record, report card, military ID, hospital birth record, adoption record or baptismal certificate). Some schools may require a social security card. If you need another copy of your child's birth certificate, see Vital Records Information.

Proof of residence

Provide a driver's license, voter/motor registration card, utility bill, rent statement, income tax return statement, proof of home ownership (including a mortgage statement) or any official document showing both your name and address.

Records of vaccination and immunization against specified diseases

Check with your school district to find out which immunizations are required.

Vision and dental check-ups

Some schools require vision and dental check-ups at certain ages. Make the required appointments before registering.

Registration and emergency forms

You may have to fill out registration and emergency medical referral forms.

Auditions and portfolios

Some schools (usually magnet or charter schools) with a specific focus require students to demonstrate their talent in a performing or visual art. Usually, this involves an audition or submitting a portfolio of work.

Charter school requirements

Check the school's Web site or call to see if there are any added requirements such as an application form. Charters don't usually have an enrollment boundary and can recruit students from a larger geographic area. Some schools have a lottery system when there are more student applications than available slots. Some performing or visual art charter schools require students to demonstrate their talent with an audition or a portfolio of work.

Private school requirements

Check each school's Web site or call the school directly. Many private schools require an application form, teacher recommendations and past report cards. Some schools require your child to interview and take a formal assessment test. Some performing or visual art schools require students to demonstrate their talent with an audition or a portfolio of work.

Comments from readers

"can i be enrolled to a school without custody agreements? "
"because i had a baby and i was going to see if i can go back to my school but my post was taking because i go to a community school in allen park and all so much kids can go there . and i wont have a baby sitter so i was thinking this would be better for me "
"hello im 14 years old going on 15 dec,14 and i need a nice school to go to for me and my unborn baby.."
"I just want to say thank you for the advice i really needed that."
"This article was very helpful in organizing my thoughts and questions for the schools I am most interested in having my four children transfer into."
"We will be relocating from Germany to San Clemente area and our son (13 yrs old) needs to be enrolled into school ASAP. We will be staying in a hotel and I do not have any 'proof of residence' of where we will be living. How can I enroll my son without this information? "
"Me and my husband been really trying to find a good school for our grandaughers.Our ideal school is University of Academy I have been on the waiting list since the school first opened. The superintendent at the university academy referred me to you guys she told us there will be some good teachers there. So I would like to stop by today and enroll my little girls for the fall school years of 2009-10 and if you all are doing summer school that would be swell also."