Admitting your child to school has become a more complicated process with the availability of charter and magnet schools and the expansion of open enrollment to higher education institutions. With numerous options, there are more opportunities to be flummoxed by how to navigate the system to get your child to your preferred school. There are a few things to consider when writing a letter to request a school transfer.

Some schools allow students from other districts to attend their schools.
Some schools allow students from other districts to attend their schools.

Reasons Why

There are many reasons parents opt to send their child to a school outside of their requisite zone. There may be better access to before- and after-school care, an academic focus at a particular school that your child has shown a knack for or a youth sports program that appeals to your child’s skill set. A student may also have special needs that another school can address better or you may live near an unsafe district and have an opportunity to apply to a “Choice Program” to attend a nearby school in a safer area. No matter your reason, you're within your right to ask for your child to attend your preferred school, so don’t approach your presentation as if asking for permission.

What School is Right for You?

If you've decided the designated school for your child isn’t a good fit, first take a look at schools that have a focus on what piques your child's interest. Check out the Gifted and Talented Education (GATE) admission rules to ensure the child can take advantage of this program, that it fits their needs and they haven’t missed a deadline for inclusion. If you've found a specific school, make sure to check deadlines and paperwork requirements – from immunization records to test scores and transcripts. Be prepared to present all of your paperwork when the seat for the school comes up and you get the call. Don’t give the school any reason to chuck your letter into the trash bin because you missed including a simple piece of paper or a deadline.

If the school you're applying to has many programs, you can apply to all of them to better your child's chances of getting in the door. So, if the student is accepted into the government program but prefers the music program, they can later transfer while accruing class credits.

The Process

Each school district has a different process. To ensure your letter follows the rules to a T, contact the district office for updated and accurate information on school transfers in your area. They can also give you a list of new schools and charter schools in your area that your child can benefit from that may not be readily available online.

What to Include

Keep your letter short, no more than three to four paragraphs that clearly state the facts with no fluff. Include the child’s name, age, grade, admission or student number, if you have it, and reasons why you're requesting a transfer. End with a simple sentence that you look forward to their response and are available to answer any questions.

If you're denied the application, consider the advantages of staying within your school zone. Your child will have a wider base of friends close to home. Activities through the school that's close to you can offer outlets for your student and opportunities to participate due to the close proximity.