Frequently Asked Questions

School Choice Questions

School choice is the term used to describe a school system where families can choose to send their child to a school other than their neighborhood assigned school. Traditionally, students are assigned to their public school by the location of their family residence. School choice allows families to apply to attend the public school that best fits their child’s needs.

Yes, Oakland families can choose to apply to attend either a traditional public school or a charter public school. Of the approximately 130 public schools in Oakland, 2/3 are district-run schools and 1/3 are charter public schools. Oakland Enrolls provides the charter application for most of the city’s charter public schools.

District schools (OUSD) have had a common application process for all of their schools for some time. Oakland Enrolls was created in 2016 as part of an effort to unify enrollment across the city, and thus far has successfully created a central application process across 98% of charter schools, making a one-stop shop for charter applications. Some believe that a single application for both charter and district public schools would simplify enrollment for all parents, especially those without the time, money, or privilege to navigate multiple public school options with different application deadlines and processes. Interest in unified enrollment for Oakland’s charter and district public school remains — let us know if you agree there should be one system; we’ll pass the message along.

Yes, charter schools are public.

Yes, the difference is that some are run by the district (OUSD) and others are operated by charters granted the ability to operate by either the district (OUSD) or the Alameda County Office of Education (ACOE). Both district and charter schools are public schools, tuition free and open to all.

Families consider many factors when choosing a school that is best for their child(ren). We recommend that you use Oakland Enrolls School Finder to explore and compare schools, and check out these helpful tips and tools from You may also want to take a tour of the schools that interest you and talk with principals, teachers, and other parents.

Through Oakland Enrolls School Finder, you can use your address to search for charter schools nearby. When you enter your street address and grade you are looking for, you will see a list with links to profiles of the charter public schools closest to your home. The tool also provides a map showing the locations of all Oakland public charter schools and links to school profiles that include details such as programs offered, school type and location, accountability ratings, enrollment data, and contact information.

Once you’ve explored your school options and are ready to complete your application, it will list your school options based on the distance from your home address.

General Application Questions

Any student who wants to attend a different school (district or charter) should participate in the On-Time Application process. Most people apply during key transition grades, such as TK/K, 6 or 9, but you are able to participate in any grade if you wish to attend a different school.

For charter schools, generally, if you and your child are happy with your current school choice and you plan to attend the same school next year (and that school offers the next grade level), you do not need to participate in the On-Time Application process. We do recommend you check with your school to see if there’s anything you need to do to confirm enrollment for the next school year.

Yes, all Oakland children are welcome to participate in the On-Time Application process for charter schools, including English Language Learners and students with special needs. It is often helpful to talk with the schools that interest you to learn more about how they will meet your child’s needs before applying.

All Oakland public charter schools enroll students regardless of special needs. If you have questions about special needs programs, call the Oakland Enrolls team at 510-454-9360 for charter specific questions.

98% of Oakland’s charter schools participate in the online common charter application. For these schools, go to and click on the blue “Charter Application” button. The On-Time application for the 2024-2025 school year opened on November 13, 2023, with a deadline to apply to participating Oakland public charter schools by February 16, 2024. Applying before this deadline ensures that you will be included in the school’s lotteries, giving you the best chance at getting an offer from a school of your choice. The results of those lotteries will be available in your online account on March 7, 2024. You will also receive an offer or you will be placed on the waiting list.

Applications submitted after the February 16, 2024 deadline will be considered a Late Application and will receive any offers on a first come, first serve basis. You will be placed on a waiting list at each of your selected schools, and/or offered enrollment if space becomes available. The school will notify you by text, email, phone and/or mail. Some schools use priorities in the Late Application period, so your school waitlist positions may change depending on the actions of other applicants.

To contact the school(s) that you applied to, visit our list of participating schools for their website and contact information. For questions about the Oakland Enrolls charter application, contact us at (510) 454-9360.

The following schools are not participating in the common charter application, so you will not be able to apply through the process we just described. Please visit their websites to get information about their respective process and timeline: East Bay Innovation and Civic Corps.

To increase the chances of getting into a school of your choice, apply to multiple schools. The more, the better!

KINDERGARTEN: Your child must turn 5 on or before September 1 of the school year applying for to be eligible to apply to Kindergarten.

TRANSITIONAL KINDERGARTEN: Child must turn 5 between September 2 and June 2 of the upcoming school year to be eligible to apply to Transitional Kindergarten.

The On-Time Application period for participating Oakland public charter schools is November 13, 2023 until February 16, 2024.

To complete your online application for Oakland public charter schools, you will need basic information about your child, such as current school, date of birth, grade, as well as information related to your family, such as address, phone number, and guardian’s name. You will also need to create a list of schools in your order of preference.

Yes. The On-Time Application deadline for the 2024-25 school year is February 16, 2024 for charter schools in Oakland. However, all applications received by the deadline will be considered equally in accordance with each school’s enrollment priorities (i.e., there is no advantage to submitting your application earlier within the On-Time Application period. Schools will run their lotteries in March and you’ll be notified of results on March 7, 2024. All families will be asked to either accept or decline their enrollment offer(s) by March 21, 2024.

Charter applications submitted after the On-Time Application deadline will be considered a Late Application — you will be placed on a waiting list at each of your selected schools, and/or offered enrollment if space becomes available. Late Applications will only be available online, and applicants will be placed on waitlists on a first-come, first-serve basis.

All applications submitted during the On-Time Application period will be included in the lottery process. If you miss the deadline, you can still apply but your application will be processed on a first-come first-serve basis, after those who applied during the On-Time Application period. Applying to multiple schools before the deadline is the best way to increase your chances of getting into a school of your choice. Visit our Next Steps page to learn more.

To research schools:

  • Use Oakland Enrolls School Finder, an online, interactive tool to help families find and explore charter schools in their neighborhood and beyond.
  • Tour the school(s) that interest you, and talk with the principal and teachers to get a feel for whether it’s a good fit.
  • Attend schools’ open houses.
  • Attend enrollment fairs; these usually occur in December and January.

For charter school questions, call the Oakland Enrolls team at 510-454-9360. We have multilingual interpretation available and are open M-F, 9am-5pm. For in-person support, visit any participating charter school.

Oakland Common Charter Application Questions

Go to and click on the blue “Charter Application” button on the homepage.

This will take you to SchoolMint, our online application platform. If this is your first visit to SchoolMint, you will need to create an account using your email address and/or mobile phone number. Once you have logged on, follow the steps to create a Family Profile and, if you are ready, start applying to schools. You can use your same login information to access your application at any time to add/subtract schools or make other changes to your SchoolMint profile. It is important to save your SchoolMint login information. You must include a cell phone number/email to receive updates. If you forget your login or have trouble accessing your account please call 510-454-9360 for assistance.

Is the application available in multiple languages?

The Oakland Enrolls common charter application is available in five languages – Arabic, Chinese, English, Spanish & Vietnamese.

Yes, you may visit any participating Oakland charter public school, or call the Oakland Enrolls team at 510-454-9360 for support. Some schools will have parent stations set up to guide families through the online application process.

The charter school application is only available online in five languages at Filling out an online application is fast, easy, there’s less room for error, and you can access it from your smartphone.

If you don’t feel comfortable filling out the application online, don’t worry – the Oakland Enrolls team can create, view, and edit applications for you over the phone at 510-454-9360, and staff at participating schools can also assist you in completing it online. Click here for a list of participating schools.

Yes, you can still apply, but we will need an email address or a mobile phone number for communication purposes. You may use a relative’s or friend’s contact information (mobile phone number and/or email address) for login purposes if you don’t have one of your own. Much of the communication that will come from schools regarding the status of your application will be via email or text message, so we want to ensure that you have access to this information.

As many as you like. Admission is not guaranteed; a school will have a random lottery if it has more applicants than available space. The more schools you apply to, the better the chance you will have of your child getting an offer from one of your choice schools.

Only if you want your child to attend a charter public school. The OUSD application is only for public schools run by the district. The charter application is only for participating Oakland charter schools. The choice is yours.

Keep in mind, however, that applying to multiple schools improves the chances of getting into a school of your choice.

Yes, you can add more schools at any time. To be included in lotteries, add additional schools by the On-Time Application deadline. We highly recommend that you apply to multiple schools because it increases your chances of getting into a school of your choice. The more schools you choose, the better.

Does the ranking of my school choices increase the chances of my child getting into their top ranked charter school?

No. We see how this can be confusing, since other enrollment processes sometimes do it that way! School ranking information is mostly being collected for informational purposes.

Yes. If a school receives more applicants than available space, schools will hold a random lottery. Schools may use some enrollment priorities to determine applicant preference in their lottery. Different schools use different priorities – for example, some schools may give a higher priority to applicants who live in the area, while others may give priority to students who qualify for free and reduced lunch. Since the priorities are different for each school, it is best to check Oakland Enrolls School Finder to see which schools use which priorities and contact the school(s) to learn more.

Yes, you must complete one application per child, but will be able to do so under one online account. In your SchoolMint Family Profile, you may add as many children as needed to accurately represent your family and will then be able to select any child and submit an application on his/her behalf. It is important to set-up your family profile this way because some charter schools provide preference for siblings who are applying together.

Oakland Charter Application Submission & Next Steps

You will receive confirmation of your application submission via email and/or text message (depending on the communication preference you indicated in your application). You can also login to your SchoolMint profile at any time to see which schools you’ve applied to. Once you’ve submitted an application, there is no need to resubmit.

If you don’t receive a confirmation by email or text, go back to your online profile. If your application status is “Pending”, click on the “Submit” button on the last page. This will complete your application.

You will be contacted by email and/or text message at various times throughout the online charter application process, including when you submit your final application as well as when/if the schools you choose offer you enrollment or place you on their wait lists. So keep your contact information in SchoolMint up-to-date.

Applications received by the On-Time Application deadline will be included in charter school lotteries in March. After the March lotteries, you will receive a notification by text or e-mail from SchoolMint when an offer is made. You should see all your charter school lottery results – Offer or Waitlist – in your SchoolMint student dashboard and at that time you can Accept or Decline an offer. You will also see the deadline to Accept or Decline a charter school offer. If you do not accept by the deadline, the charter school lottery offer(s) will expire.

Applications submitted after the On-Time Application deadline will be considered a Late Application — you will be placed on a waiting list at each of your selected schools, and/or offered enrollment if space becomes available.

Each charter school will run their own lottery, which means it is possible to receive multiple offers.

For schools participating in the common charter application, all families who receive a lottery offer(s) are required to confirm by a specific date. To free up seats for other interested families, once you accept an offer to a participating charter school, offers from other participating charter schools will be automatically declined. You can remain on waitlists but may only accept an offer from one charter school.

Accepting an offer from a participating charter school will not impact applications to other schools not on the common application as they are part of a separate system. You must contact those schools directly for an update on your assignment.

To contact the school(s) that you applied to, visit our list of participating schools for their website and contact information. For questions about the Oakland Enrolls charter application, call us at (510) 454-9360.

Charter public schools have a set number of spots available in each grade. A school may receive more applicants than spots available, so applicants who are not offered a spot in the March lotteries will be placed on waitlists. Those submitting an application after the On-Time Application deadline will also be placed on a waitlist. Some schools use priorities in the Late Application period, so your school waitlist number may change depending on the actions of other applicants.

Schools admit applicants from the waitlist if space becomes available. This can happen at any time throughout the year. You may stay on the waitlist at any or all of the schools to which you’ve been waitlisted. However, schools’ waitlists expire every year so you would need to submit a new application if you are interested in attending for future years. As with the lottery, admission from the waitlist is not guaranteed, so families may apply to additional schools at any time. If you are no longer interested in a school, we ask families to remove themselves from waitlists – you can withdraw your application in your SchoolMint account, call the school directly, or call Oakland Enrolls.

To contact the school(s) that you applied to, visit our list of participating schools for their website and contact information. For questions about the Oakland Enrolls charter application, contact us at (510) 454-9360.

Registration. After accepting a charter school offer, please contact the school for registration information. Some schools email specific instructions and a list of registration requirements. Be prepared to present certain documents for verification purposes like proof of address, copy of birth certificate, etc. You may also be invited to attend an orientation or information session with the school, so be on the lookout for communication about those events.

Check with the school. Typically you need to provide proof of address, your child’s birth certificate, immunization records, and more.

Technical Support and Updating Applications

SchoolMint is a secure website that families across the country use to apply to schools. It will only ask you basic information such as name, relationship to student, contact information, and student birth date; NOT Social Security number or other personal details. Learn more about SchoolMint’s privacy policy.

Application information will only be used to contact you and to ensure accuracy during the lottery and enrollment process. Information will only be shared with schools and staff participating in the Oakland Enrolls common charter application.

If you’ve already created an account, select “Forgot Username?” or “Forgot Password?” if you are unsure of your login credentials.

Log in to your SchoolMint account profile, select the child whose information is incorrect, and make the necessary fix. You can update your family’s profile information at any time.

No, you do not need to create a new account. It is, however, very important to keep your SchoolMint account updated with current contact information. To do so, log-in to your existing SchoolMint account with your current credentials and you’ll be able to update your contact information.