School Lottery Admissions Systems

Parents looking for a school for their child often want to know about how to get them in to a specific school.

For many schools in St. Louis city, including SLPS magnet schools and many charters, the answer is to enter the lottery.

Lottery admissions systems help schools place students when the number of applicants exceeds the number of available slots. They tend to work like this: families apply by a deadline and are entered into a pool. Schools then use a computer system to randomly generate assignments based on schools’ individual admissions priorities: things like whether an applicant has siblings in the school already, how close the applicant lives to the school, and other factors. Individual schools determine their own unique priorities and which are most desirable for them, and those priorities are often listed on the schools’ websites. Families who are chosen get offered slots at that school.

The randomness of lotteries make admission more equitable in some ways; however they also make admission unpredictable. Schools have different placement priorities. Some schools hold more than one lottery if all their slots don’t fill up the first time. Some years, schools may have enough slots for every applicant, so they don’t need to use a lottery.

For that reason, Navigate STL Schools recommends that families give themselves options when it comes to schools with lottery admissions. It’s best if families apply to multiple good-fit schools so that they have backups if their first choice doesn’t work out.

Navigate STL Schools is here to help you through the entire school search process. Schedule a free appointment today to talk to a Navigator about school options for your child and how to make the lottery system work for you.