Hamilton Frequently Asked Questions


What are the benefits of going to a choice school?

Every student has different interests, hopes, and dreams and must have access to opportunities that best open doors to exciting pathways to possibilities for their future. Choice schools expand the options for students to attend schools that best fit their individual interests and skill sets. These schools offer students opportunities that will propel them forward and ensure they are future-ready for college, careers, and beyond.


Who can apply for choice schools?

Any student living in Hamilton County is eligible to apply for a choice school for the 2024-2025 school year.


How can I learn more about choice schools?

Hamilton County Schools will provide multiple opportunities for families to visit and learn more about the schools and options available:

School tours, “Choose Hamilton” School Choice Fair, January 11, 2024 



What is the selection process?

There are no academic requirements for most choice schools. Student selection is based on seat availability. If a school’s number of applications exceeds its seat number, students will be chosen by lottery. Placements will be announced on February 16, 2024. **Note: CCA does require an audition for admission. Career programs do require a transcript review: Early College/ Collegiate High, Polytech, VW Mechatronics, Gestamp, HCVS.


How many school choices can be selected on the application?

Up to 5 schools may be selected in ranking order #1 first choice etc


Do I need to complete an application for each child in my family requesting School Choice?

Yes, each child in your family will be required to have an application completed if selecting a choice school.


Do students have to reapply every year?

No, students do not have to reapply each year during their student’s current grade-tier level. However, when entering a new tier (Middle or High) the parent has the option to apply for a new choice school or return to their zoned school.
The privilege of continuing enrollment depends on acceptable behavior, attendance, and parent commitment. Parents will be required to attend an orientation at their child’s new school. Parents may be asked for a letter of intent for returning students to secure their seats, provided the student has met all other expectations for continuing enrollment.


When will I be notified of an offer?

During the first round of applications for the 2024-25 school year, parents will be notified on or around February 16, 2024, via email only.



How long do I have to accept the offer? What happens if I don’t accept the offer during that time frame?

Once initiated, the offer remains valid for 7 business days. After such time, it is removed from the selection process.



Is transportation offered for choice schools?

Transportation is not provided to open enrollment schools. Parents must provide transportation for their child to the selected choice school, some Future Ready Institutes, and Early College options. The exceptions include Magnet Schools and some Future Ready Institutes, which provide centralized drop-off/pick-up points.



Are out-of-county and out-of-state students allowed to apply for Open Enrollment?

Yes, an application may be submitted but a seat will only be offered if there is no waiting list for that grade at that particular school. The out-of-state/county tuition fee will apply.



If a high school student decides to transfer to a Magnet School, Open Enrollment School, or Future Ready Institute, will that impact their ability to compete in sports?

Once a student accepts a seat at a Magnet School, Open Enrollment School, or Institute, they are considered a member of that school. If a student withdraws from the institute, he or she must return to their zoned high school. If a student chooses to practice or play on a school sports team and then leaves the school or institute, the student should speak with the Athletic Director about eligibility rules for transfer students before withdrawing. They must follow the existing policies established by the TSSAA. Visit the TSSAA website https://www.tssaa.org for further clarification.

TSSAA Transfer Rule: Once an HCS student establishes an athletic record either as an enrolled student at a member school or as a home school student, any subsequent transfers to or from home school to a member school must meet the TSSAA transfer rule, even if the student will be participating for the same team.

Once a homeschooled student establishes an athletic record at one HCS school, then the student cannot transfer to another HCS school to play unless they wait 365 days from the last date of participation from the original school.

Any student who withdraws from a school due to their failure to meet academic or behavioral eligibility standards will be ineligible to compete until they have satisfied the eligibility bylaws of TSSAA. Eligibility standards apply to both students transferring to other HCS high schools or homeschool education programs.

The following transfer students are ineligible for a period of twelve months from the student's last participation date:

a. A student who transfers without a bona fide change of residence;

b. A student who transfers as a result of a change of residence is ineligible unless (1) the old residence is outside the territory of the new school, (2) the new residence is outside the territory of the old school, and (3) the new residence is inside the territory of the new school.


Can a student receive admission to a choice school if a completed application is not submitted?

No, a completed application, submission, and acceptance are required for any student to receive an offer.


Who can apply to the second round of the School Choice lottery?

Families that missed the first-round deadline (January 31, 2024) can submit an application during our second-round application for Choice Lottery Schools.

This second round for Choice Lottery Schools will be posted on our website beginning March 18, 2024-July 31, 2024.

Any application submitted during this time will be added to the bottom of the waitlist in order of the date received. These second-round applications for Choice Lottery Schools will only be considered for possible placement AFTER all those that applied during the priority application period have been offered a choice seat. If you already submitted an application during the first round, then you will not be able to submit another application during our second round.

Are Future Ready Institutes for college preparation only?

No. The institutes support career-and-college-ready experiences. Integrated experiences within each institute will foster the critical thinking skills necessary for future success.


What benefits do students receive when joining an institute?

Students enrolling in a Future Ready Institute will have the opportunity to jumpstart their lives after high school. Institutes will provide unique learning experiences including hands-on project development, guest speakers from business and industry, job shadowing, internships, workforce certifications, college credits, and so much more. A Future Ready Institute also incorporates the small learning community approach. Smaller learning communities allow for students to grow in collaboration with each other as well as give teachers the chance to build deeper, positive relationships with students while gaining a clear understanding of their needs for success.


What is the application criterion for Future Ready Institutes?

The application criterion for an institute is based on student interest and enrollment at the school offering the institute.

Once a student has applied to a Future Ready Institute what process is followed for selection?

The number of students accepted into an institute will be based on the school’s capacity, with at least 25% of the school institute's enrollment designated for students living outside of a school’s zone. A lottery will be held to determine the placement of students if interest is greater than the allotted institute positions. Students and parents will be notified by individual institute schools regarding processes for the start of the 2023-2024 school year.


What is the withdrawal policy if a student changes his or her mind about attending the institute?

It is critical that a student who applies for an institute does so based on his or her interest in the college and career theme of the institute. If a student withdraws from an institute, he or she must return to his or her zoned high school. Although a student may withdraw at any point in the school year, it is important to note this could impact a student’s ability to complete a career and technical education (CTE) pathway. Parents and students should consult with the school administration and guidance counselor prior to withdrawal.


What if a student is admitted to a choice school but decides they want to return to their zoned school or move to another choice school?

Once registered, students and parents are expected to commit to a full school year. At the end of the school year, families may choose to reevaluate and switch to another school (either apply to another choice school option or return to their zoned school). Appeals to this policy may be made to the Director of School Choice.