For many parents, the process of enrolling a child in school feels complicated and overwhelming. However, you can simplify the process by planning ahead and making sure than you have all of the vital records you will need on hand. You may need varying enrollment documents, depending on your location and whether the school is public or private.
In addition, you many need some extra documents if this is your child’s first time going to school or they are transferring from a different school. However, there are some specific documents that are always required, no matter the location or type of school.
Documents needed to enroll your child in public school
In order to enroll a child in a public school, you will need to provide several different documents. To start, you will likely need to fill out an application for enrollment. This will help make sure that your child is attending the correct school in the right district.
You will also need a copy of your child’s birth certificate, in order to show proof of your child’s age and identity. Finally, you will probably need to show proof of residency, your child’s immunization records, and possibly some other medical records. Some charter or magnet schools may request a portfolio of your child’s past work to help them determine your child’s skills.
Documents needed to enroll your child in private school
If you want to enroll your child in a private school, you will need most of the same documents as you would for a public school. However, since, private schools are often more selective, they typically have additional requirements. For example, private schools may ask for recommendations from former teachers, a formal application and placement assessment, and even an interview with the child and their parents.
Private schools and charter schools are educational facilities that are not state or government run. Many of them are associated with religious organizations. Unlike public schools, these types of schools charge tuition fees. However, many parents are drawn to private schools because of the smaller class sizes and curated curriculum. However, there are also magnet schools, which are public schools that also offer a better student-to-teacher ratios and have stricter performance requirements for students. Although these schools are public, they may also require additional documents, like the ones listed above for private schools.
Which documents should I have on hand when enrolling my child in school?
We’ve provided a handy list of the primary documents you will likely need when you go to enroll your child in any type of school. You should have:
- An application form
- A certified copy of your child’s birth certificate
- Emergency contact details for the child’s parents or guardians
- Proof of residency
- Proof of guardianship and/or custody
- Immunization records
If your child has already been attending school and you are transferring them to a different school or district, you may also need:
- Recommendations from previous teachers (depending on the school)
- Former school records and transcript
- Individualized Education Program (IEP) records (if applicable)
We recommend that you contact the registration office and find out what document requirements they have. If you don’t have the original or a copy of your child’s birth certificate, you can easily apply for it online and get it in the mail.
However, even though you can apply for your child’s birth certificate online, it can take anywhere from 2 weeks to 2 months to process your application. Fortunately, many Vital Records Offices have an option for rush service, allowing you to get your child’s birth certificate in 2-3 business days.
Which school district do I enroll my child in?
If you are enrolling your child in public school, you must enroll them in the correct school district, based on your location. Your city should have a Student Assignment Office that can let you know which school district you live in. This is important, since your child is legally required to attend school in the correct district.
Once you’ve determined which school district you are in, you can contact your school district’s central registration office. They handle everything related to student enrollment and can provide you with information and documents for the enrollment process.
The registration office should provide you with a registration or enrollment form to fill out. The form will ask for things like your child’s full legal name, date of birth, and current address. It’s vital that you double check the information and make sure everything is accurate.
For a school transfer, you will also need to provide the name of the school they are transferring from. High school students may also need to undergo a physical with their doctor before enrolling.
You can also check out: How to request a school transfer for a child