Countywide Option Middle Schools/Programs and Neighborhood Transfers Application Process

General Application Process

The application period to apply to secondary option schools is the first Monday in November to the third Friday in January for the following school year.


  • The online application window opens on Tuesday, Nov. 1, 2022, at 10 p.m. and closes on Friday Jan. 13, 2023 at 4 p.m.
  • For assistance or questions, visit your child’s school or contact the APS Welcome Center at 703.228.8000 (option 3) or email


  • If more applications are received than there are seats available, APS will conduct a random, double-blind lottery to determine admission.
  • If families apply to more than one school/program, their application will go into all lotteries simultaneously. 
  • The 2022-23 school year lotteries for the middle and high school option programs were held on Monday, Jan. 31, 2022, from 12 – 4 p.m. View the recording.


  • Families will be notified of their acceptance or placement on the waitlist by email and/or text on February 7, 2022, after 4 p.m.
  • Parents must confirm or decline attendance to the school or program by February 21, 2022. 
  • If families do not accept or decline their seat by the deadline, their seat will be given to the next student on the waitlist.


  • Students who applied, but were not selected through the lottery process, will be placed in numerical order on a waitlist.
  • Applications received after the deadline are placed at the bottom of the existing waitlist for the upcoming school year.
  • When students on the waitlist are offered a seat, they have a one-week window to accept the slot. If the slot is not accepted within the one-week window, the offer will be rescinded and offered to the next student on the waitlist.
  • Waitlists for neighborhood transfers will be maintained by the APS Welcome Center until May 2. Option seats are continuously filled throughout the school year as seats become available.
  • Beginning with applications in the fall of 2018, all families will need to apply for all programs each year to be included in the lottery.

*Students who have already been admitted to and are currently enrolled in an option school do not need to reapply for the following years. 

For additional details by school, please review School Board Policy J-5.3.31 and PIP-1

For additional information or questions, please contact the APS Welcome Center at 703-228-8000 or