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Surviving the Wait List!

For a lot of families in Los Angeles, the next several months will be all about one thing: Surviving the WAIT LISTS. Charter schools, Magnet schools, and Private schools all have wait lists, and when your child is on one it can mean a lot of angst and uncertainty. When a younger sibling ends up on the wait list at the school your older child attends, the anxiety is even more palpable. Who wants to have two (or more) kids attending different schools?!

The good news is that students do get accepted off of wait lists all the time. The bad news is that you just won’t know when, or which school you might get a call from. It’s tough but patience, deep breaths and some strategic planning can help. Wait lists for public schools often start to move quickly in the late summer or even the first few weeks of the new school year. So, know which school your child will attend if you don’t get any calls, but also prioritize your choices for the places you are waiting to hear back from. When schools do offer you a spot, they will want an answer right away (within a few days). That can be an especially difficult decision once school starts, so know how you will respond in any of the scenarios.

Throughout the months of waiting, some schools will tell you exactly where you are the wait list. Charter schools let everyone on the wait list know their exact spot. Magnet schools will give you an idea where you are on the list if you call and ask, but they won’t tell you an exact number (that’s LAUSD policy). Private schools have what are more accurately called “wait pools”, meaning it is not an ordered list of names. They can call up anyone from the wait pool that they think helps to best round out the incoming class. So, if you are wait listed at a Private School that you hope to attend be sure to let them know that you would be happy to take a spot if it becomes available. Your desire to attend counts for a lot if you’re on a Private School wait list.

Playing the waiting game is hard, but hang in there! You’re not alone. And you never know what can happen!

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