Editor's note: This post has been updated for the 2019-2020 school year.
A heads up for Wake County parents who are considering a magnet or year-round school for their kids: The online application period begins this week. It runs Jan. 4 to Jan. 30.
Some things to know:
Your child isn't eligible to go to every single one of Wake County's magnet school.
Wake schools has an easy online address lookup
so you can find out which schools you can consider.
Only students who have pre-registered to attend a Wake County Public School System school can apply for a magnet school.
So, for instance, if your child is a rising kindergartner, you will need to register them at their base school before you can fill out the online application. If your child is currently a charter or private school student and you'd like to apply for a Wake County magnet school, you will need to pre-register them for their base school first. (Check that address lookup that's linked above to find out where your base school is). Kindergarten registration opens Jan. 7
You can apply to more than one school.
I've joked that you need a doctorate in mathematics to fully understand how the school system picks students for each of its programs, but you can apply to more than one school. Wake schools spells out its application priorities
on its website. And here's more information about the system's magnet priorities criteria
You'll probably want to check on the transportation offered before you apply for a particular school. Depending on the schools you're considering, some may require parents to drive their child to school or an express bus stop. Your child also might qualify for neighborhood busing, but those rides can be long - sometimes longer than an hour, according to the school system. The address lookup will provide you information on what transportation you're eligible for at each school so there are no surprises when school begins.
You won't have to wait too long to get an answer. You'll find out the decision in February. Those who apply, but don't get a seat, can't appeal the decision, according to Wake schools' website.
Our Moving Up series
has more tips for parents of grade schoolers, middle schoolers and high schoolers.
I always feel like I need to end posts like these by saying, "Good luck!" I'll be right there with you this year as my older daughter applies for (gasp!) high school.