KidsInTheHouse the Ultimate Parenting Resource
Kids in the House Tour

What to Do If the School You Want to Enroll Your Child in Is Capped


If you want to enroll your child in a specific school, you probably aren't the only one. Especially if you live in an area where one school outshines the others, you may find yourself in a race to get your child into that school. If the school is capped, you have options. In this blog post, we'll explore what to do if the school you want to enroll your child in is capped.

What Is a Capped School?

Capped schools are schools that place a limit on how many new students can enroll. This can be for a number of reasons, such as the school's physical capacity or the number of teachers available. However, it may also be due to the school's popularity. If a school is in high demand, it may be capped in order to ensure that there is space for students who live in the school's attendance zone.

In some cases, because of competitive admissions processes, a school may be capped even if it isn't at full capacity. Students who apply to attend a capped school but who don't live in the attendance zone are placed on a waitlist. When a spot opens up, the student at the top of the waitlist is offered admission.

What Happens If Your Neighborhood School Has an Attendance Cap?

The good news about this situation is that an attendance cap doesn't necessarily mean that your child cannot attend the school. If your child's name is already on the school's waitlist, they will likely be admitted into the school eventually.

Typically, the cap is measured by grade level, so even if the school is capped for one grade, you stand a better chance of getting your child in if their desired grade isn't as impacted.

This all depends on the individual school and district. Some schools or districts may also allow students to "skip" a grade in order to get into their desired school sooner (depending on academic standing and test scores).

Keep in mind that in order to apply for enrollment, you must have established residency in the school's attendance zone. If you don't live in the attendance zone, your child probably will not be able to attend the school, even if there is space available.

Options Available to Substitute for Capped Schools

If the school you want to enroll your child in is capped, there are a few different options you can consider:

Applying to a Different School

If the school you want to enroll your child in is capped, you may have better luck applying to a different school. Keep in mind that each school has its own admissions process, so make sure you research each one thoroughly before making a decision. There are two public school options that you can enroll your child in:

  • Magnet schools: These are schools that have a specialized focus, such as STEM or the arts. Students must apply to attend magnet schools and are typically admitted based on their grades and test scores. If your child has a gift in a specific area that they would like to pursue, a magnet school can help them hit the ground running when they begin their career.

  • Charter schools: These are public schools that operate independently from the school district and govern themselves. They usually have different admissions processes, so make sure to research each charter school individually.


Homeschooling is probably not the most feasible option, especially if you work full-time. But if you have the time and resources available, it may be worth considering. When making the decision to homeschool your child, evaluate the following:

  • The time commitment required: Homeschooling is a full-time job, plus you will need to help them throughout the day.

  • Your child's learning style: If your child has learning difficulties, a hands-on approach like homeschooling may help them retain information and understand concepts.

  • Your child's socialization needs: The opportunity to socialize with other children is something that won't be possible on a daily basis if you decide to homeschool your child.

Enrolling in a Private School

If you're willing to pay tuition, enrolling your child in a private school may be an option. Just keep in mind that there is no guarantee your child will get into the school of your choice if you decide to choose this route, either. There are a few different types of private school education, including:

Research each type of private school to see which one is the best fit for your child.


There are a few different options available to you if the school you want to enroll your child in is capped, but with each available option, it is important to consider your child's learning and development needs. It's also important to research each option thoroughly before making a decision.