This article was originally published in The Notebook. In August 2020, The Notebook became Chalkbeat Philadelphia.
For the first time, Philadelphia’s high school selection application — used by about 60 percent of District students to apply to up to five schools outside their neighborhoods — is entirely online.
It’s a matter of convenience for the District and the students, according to Karyn Lynch, the District’s chief of student services.
The process makes things easier on the District by cutting out time-consuming data entry, she said, adding that parents can access the application on smartphones or other mobile devices.
And it appears to be working. A few hours before Friday’s final deadline, Lynch said, "Early indication is that there are more applications than last year."
Lynch added that the time-saving changes also will allow students to know where they’re going to school next year before this school year ends.
Signing up across the digital divide
A potential drawback to the switch to online applications is the "digital divide," or the gap between those with Internet access and computer proficiency and those without.
In an effort to address that discrepancy, the district partnered with Great Philly Schools and the Free Library of Philadelphia to host an event earlier this week to offer assistance for families with last-minute questions.