Applying to High School

Applying to High School

The District is home to over 30 public and public charter high schools (Grades 9-12). Students can apply to up to 12 high schools on the My School DC application. They also have the option of enrolling directly at their DCPS in-boundary high school, their feeder school, or applying to a school that does not participate in My School DC

 

APPLY BY FEBRUARY 1, 2022

  • Set up a family account
    • Tip for students: If you create a family account with your personal email address, make sure to include your guardian’s email address in Section 2 of the application.
  • Gather all of the information you need to complete your My School DC application.
    • Remember: Selective high schools and programs require additional information on the My School DC application. Learn about these requiremetns below and allow yourself enough time to gather them prior to the February 1 application deadline. You will not be able to submit the application if you do not have all required information.
  • Add the schools on your list to your My School DC application and rank them in the order you prefer (1st choice, 2nd choice, 3rd choice, etc.).
    • The order you rank your schools lets us know the order in which you want to be matched to schools; it does not affect your chances of acceptance to a selective school nor does it affect any preferences you may qualify for such as sibling or transfer preference.
  • Submit your application by February 1st.
    • You can make edits to your submitted application any time before February 1st. You can update your school rankings up until March 15th.

 

BEFORE YOU APPLY

  • Make a list. Use the School Finder and search for schools by address, grade and program type (such as interscholastic sports, STEM, AP classes, and more). You can also map your potential commute to school with this tool. Note: There is no guarantee of a lottery match or waitlist offer at the schools you apply to so apply to all the schools you want to attend. You can apply to up to 12!
  • Check out the high schools’ school profiles. They show basic information about each school and you can view their open house schedules. Make note of grades for which they take applications, as well as past lottery data showing the number of seats made available in a grade, the waitlist length at time of results and the waitlist movement.
  • Look for specific school requirements. Some high schools have age cutoffs. Other schools require transcript reviews of credits earned for promotion to the grade you’re applying to. (For example, some schools do not give credit for classes where a “D” is earned in a class.) Work with your middle school counselor for guidance on requirements.
  • Attend EdFEST, school fairs and open houses. Download these helpful questions and ask them directly to schools you are interested in to help narrow your choices.
  • Use your networks. It is helpful to talk with people you know (e.g., neighbors, friends, school counselors) who are knowledgeable about the schools you are thinking of applying to.
  • Decide your ranking. You will rank your final list of schools in the order you prefer (your 1st choice, 2nd choice, 3rd choice, etc.). Ranking your list in this order is important. Here’s why.

 

Transcripts and Credits

All public DC high schools have minimum graduation requirements. Individual schools may have additional required courses and the threshold for a passing grade can vary (e.g., you can earn credit with a “D” at one high school, but need at least a “C” at another). Many schools do require a transcript review in order for a student to enroll and a passing grade at one school does not necessarily earn credit at another.

 


TYPES OF PUBLIC HIGH SCHOOLS

  • DCPS In-boundary Schools: A My School DC application is not required.
  • DCPS Out-of-boundary Schools: A My School DC application is required.
  • DCPS Citywide Schools: A My School DC application is required.
  • DCPS Selective High Schools and Programs: A My School DC application is required. Students program must complete an additional section of the My School DC application where selective high schools may require a report card, essay, and staff recommendations. See admissions processes and criteria below.
  • DCPS and Charter Feeder Schools: A My School DC application is not required. If you accept a seat at a school outside your feeder pattern, you may lose the right to that feeder pattern. Please check with your school for more information or call the My School DC Hotline at (202) 888-6336.
  • Public Charter Schools: A My School DC application is required.
  • Adult or Alternative Education Options: There are public and public charter high schools that offer alternative programming and do not participate in the My School DC lottery program. The District also has a ReEngagement Center that offers a range of services to District youth (ages 16-24) not currently in school and who don’t have a high school diploma or GED to help them reconnect to educational options and other critical services to support their attainment of a diploma or GED. Visit https://backontrackdc.osse.dc.gov/about to learn more.

 

SY2022-23 REQUIREMENTS FOR ADMISSION TO DCPS SELECTIVE HIGH SCHOOLS

Familiarize yourself with each selective high school and program’s application requirements and selection criteria below. Please note, admission to a selective high school or program is based on students meeting specific criteria, not random lottery. More here on how the lottery matching works.

Click here to download a copy of the requirements for selective high schools and programs (PDF)

BARD HIGH SCHOOL EARLY COLLEGE DC

Report Card: Final SY20-21 and SY21-22 First Quarter report cards required for 11th graders only. GPA of 2.0 or above recommended.
Essay: Yes – for students who have not already completed the essay responses at one of the Bard DC open house events.        
Essay Questions:

Personal Responses 

 In paragraph form please answer the following questions. Responses should be at least two paragraphs.

  1. What are your plans, goals, or aspirations after high school? How will an early college education help you achieve them?
  2. Describe yourself as a student, now and in the future: How do you currently interact with your classmates and your instructor? What sort of role do you see yourself playing in the classroom in high school? How do you plan to contribute to the Bard DC community? 

Text-Based Responses

 Please read this poem entitled Two Kinds of Intelligence by Mewlana Jellaludin Rumi. Directions: Write a 3-4 paragraph short essay in response to the poem Two kinds of Intelligence by Mewlana Jellaludin Rumi.

  • In the first part, explain your reaction to the poem as a reader. Does the author have a positive or negative view of intelligence? Highlight specific evidence from the poem that supports your answer.
  • In the second part, answer the following: Which “intelligence” do you value most? Do you use both “intelligences”? How important is it for you to have your intelligence recognized or applauded? 

Essay Character Limit*: 5,000 character limit per essay
Admissions Process: Application review; Essay; Individual interview
RECOMMENDATIONS (completed online through My School DC application): Math teacher; English teacher
Grades Accepting Applications: 9th – 12th

 

BENJAMIN BANNEKER HIGH SCHOOL

Report Card: Final SY20-21 and SY21-22 First Quarter
Essay: Yes       
Essay Question:
Discuss why you wish to attend Benjamin Banneker Academic High School.
Essay Character Limit*: Word count: 250 words; Character limit: 5,000
Admissions Process: Application review; Family interview
RECOMMENDATIONS (completed online through My School DC application): English teacher; Math teacher; Counselor or Administrator
Grades Accepting Applications: 9th – 10th

 

COLUMBIA HEIGHTS EDUCATION CAMPUS (CHEC)

Report Card: Final SY20-21 and SY21-22 First Quarter; Attendance should be included on report card.
PARCC Scores: No
Essay: No essay; however, a student interest survey is required.
Admissions Process: Application review; Individual review
RECOMMENDATIONS (completed online through My School DC application): English teacher; Math teacher
Grades Accepting Applications: 9th – 12th

 

DUKE ELLINGTON SCHOOL OF THE ARTS

Report Card: Final SY20-21 and SY21-22; First Quarter Attendance should be included on report card.
Essay: Yes
Essay Questions:
Please write a paragraph explaining why (Dance, Instrumental Music, Literary Media and Communications, Museum Studies, Technical Design and Production or Arts Management, Theatre, Visual Arts, or Vocal Music) is important to you and what role art plays in your life.​

Additional Program Based Essay Questions:

  • Literary Media and Communications:
    • Please write a paragraph explaining your personal goals as an artist and any experiences you may have had that could impact your decision to pursue Literary Media and Communications. (5,000 character limit)
  • Technical Design and Production or Arts Management
    • Please define "Technical Design and Production or Arts Management". (2000 characters)
    • Explain why you are interested in Technical Design and Production or Arts Management, including your interest in specific aspect of technical design and production (example: lights, costume, sound, set, stage management, etc.,), and what you plan to do with the training you receive from Ellington's Technical Design and Production department. (5,000 character limit)

Essay Character Limit*: 5,000 characters
Admissions Process: Application review; Audition; Academic placement assessment; Family interview
RECOMMENDATIONS  (completed online through  My School DC application): Math teacher; Art teacher (or other); Counselor or Administrator
Grades Accepting Applications: 9th – 12th­

 

EARLY COLLEGE ACADEMY at COOLIDGE HIGH SCHOOL

Report Card: Final SY20-21 and SY21-22 First Quarter
Essay: Yes
Essay Question: What are your college/career goals after high school? What steps have you already taken to prepare for those goals? How do you believe the Coolidge High School Early College Academy will help you achieve those goals?
Essay Character Limit*: 5,000 characters
Admissions Process: Application review; Family interview
RECOMMENDATIONS (completed online through My School DC application): English teacher, Math teacher
Grades Accepting Applications: 9th – 12th­

 

McKINLEY TECHNOLOGY HIGH SCHOOL

Report Card: Final SY20-21 and SY21-22 First Quarter; GPA of 3.0 or above recommended
Essay: Yes. McKinley has a short survey + the following essay question:

Essay Question: In 250 words or less, tell us about your experience during learning from home. What challenges did you face, if any? How did you persevere through those challenges? What is one thing that you would have done differently?  
Admissions Process: Application review; on-site essay and Individual interview
RECOMMENDATIONS (completed online through My School DC application): Math teacher; Counselor or Administrator
Grades Accepting Applications: 9th - 11th

 

PHELPS ARCHITECTURE, CONSTRUCTION, AND ENGINEERING HIGH SCHOOL

Report Card:Final SY20-21 and SY21-22 First Quarter; Attendance should be included on report card.
Essay: Yes
Essay Question: Phelps ACE High School is a specialty school, unlike any school in Washington, D.C. We prepare for college AND career. Our career fields of study are Architecture, Construction, Engineering, and IT Networking. What do you find exciting about one (or more) of these career fields and preparing for college? Please describe and include specific details or examples of your interests. You may also include explanations about other career interests.
Essay Character Limit*: 5,000 characters
Admissions Process: Application review; Family interview
RECOMMENDATIONS (completed online through My School DC application): English teacher; Math teacher
Grades Accepting Applications: 9th - 11th

 

SCHOOL WITHOUT WALLS HIGH SCHOOL

Report Card: Final SY20-21 and SY21-22 First Quarter, GPA of 3.0 or above required on the final SY20-21 report card
Essay: No
Admissions Process: Application review; Student & Parent / Guardian interviews
RECOMMENDATIONS (completed online through My School DC application): None
Grades Accepting Applications: 9th – 12th­

Click here to download a copy of the requirements for selective high schools and programs (PDF)

*The My School DC application does not have spellcheck or character count. It is recommended that students first write their essay in a Word document to check for spelling and character count limits, save, then copy and paste onto the application when ready.