Go Ask Mom

Go Ask Mom

Time to Apply: Questions answered about Wake schools magnet application

Posted January 4

Magnet schools

It's time to apply for magnet schools. Wake County Public School System's online magnet school application period begins Thursday and runs through Jan. 22.

During this time, families with children who want to attend a Wake County magnet school can fill out the online application, ranking their top choices. (My family will be right there with you! We're considering magnet middle schools for next fall!).

Big note: If you have a rising kindergartner and would like to apply for a magnet elementary school, you will need to register your child at her base school first to get the ID number that's required for the magnet school application. Kindergarten registration in Wake County also begins Thursday. Wake schools' website has more information about that.

We focused on the magnet application process last fall in our Stepping Up series and live web chat. I checked back in with Tamani Anderson Powell, director of marketing and communications for Wake's office of magnet and curriculum enhancement programs, to get some answers to some frequently asked questions.

Here's our email chat:

Go Ask Mom: Does it matter when I put my application in? Is it first come, first served?

Tamani Anderson Powell: You may submit your application (and make changes to it) anytime from Jan. 7 until it closes on Jan. 22.

GAM: How should I rank my selections?

TAP: You may rank between 1-5 schools listing them first, second, third ... choices. Rank them in the order that you really want to be considered for them. ANYTIME you are not selected for your first choice, even if you are selected for a second or third choice, you are assigned to the wait list for your first choice school.

GAM: When and how will I find out if my child has a seat?

TAP: Notifications will be made in the parent account that you create. You will receive an email about when to check for notification on Feb 5.

GAM: How does the wait list process work? Can my child get placed in her second or third pick, but still have the opportunity to be on the wait list? If we are on a wait list, when will we find out if we have a spot?

TAP: ANYTIME you are not selected for your first choice, even if you are selected for a second or third choice, you are assigned to the wait list for your first choice school. Wait list processing will be sometime in April - no confirmed date has been set. You will receive an email prior to the wait list processing. If you no longer want to be considered for that school, you will be able to remove yourself from the wait list.

GAM: If I get accepted to a magnet school, does that mean I lose a seat at my base school if we change our mind?

TAP: If you are selected for a magnet school, you will automatically be assigned to that school and you will no longer be assigned to your base school. You may request your base school from Feb 8 to Feb. 12 during "base declaration" period.

GAM: Is there an appeals process?

TAP: While there is not an appeal process with the magnet application, a family who is not selected may submit a hardship transfer request May 2-16. If denied, there is an appeal process.

GAM: What do I do if I do get into my first choice (other than celebrate!)?

TAP: LOL ... nothing!! Your magnet school will host a "welcome event" that you can attend and learn even more about the school.

Wake schools' magnet school application page has more information. Good luck!


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  • Leigh Thorne Jan 11, 2016
    user avatar

    We were very disappointed to learn last year that our daughter, despite her qualifying test scores, was not allowed to apply to the Ligon Middle School “AIG Basics” gifted magnet program because the Wake County Public School System also required “Wake County AIG identification.” This meant that somebody at WCPSS would need to confirm that her scores met the cutoff and then confer the AIG label, a process that reasonably might take only a few minutes. Instead, we were told, our daughter would already have to be attending a Wake County public school in order to obtain the label and be eligible to apply to the Ligon program. This policy applies not only to Wake County private school students like our daughter but also, I was told, to Wake County homeschool students and to new arrivals in Wake County. WCPSS administrators seem comfortable obtaining tax dollars from these Wake County families without offering their children the same opportunities available to other Wake County stude

  • Sarah Hall Jan 5, 2016
    user avatar

    I know the feeling, Sarah ... especially now that we're looking at middle schools for my older daughter this year. I always *try* to keep this in mind - the kids are going to be great as long as we're supporting their needs, letting them grow and making education a priority in our lives. Though it's definitely hard to keep that in mind with all of the choices that we have!

    Good luck to us all!

    Sarah - Go Ask Mom

  • Sarah Harris Jan 5, 2016
    user avatar

    Thank you for keeping up with the Magnet schedule and registration. I have a rising Kindergartener and we are trying to keep an open mind about this process. Learning to navigate the dates, sites, tours and schools has been a big deal at our house. Fingers crossed that I'm doing this right! With each new bit of information, I'm learning more about the programs offered with this big school system.