SCS General Choice Transfers Guide

If you’re not happy with your zoned (neighborhood) Shelby County School, you’re not stuck with it!”

In 2016, over 9,100 applications were made through the General Choice Transfer process (an almost 50% increase over the prior year!), and 73% of applicants received their first or second choice school.

Let’s start with the basics…

The General Choice Transfer process is for those families who want their student(s) to attend an SCS school that they’re not zoned for. This can include schools that have Traditional programs alongside Optional programs, but the General Choice Transfer process only allows you to apply for a spot in the school’s Traditional program. (If you’re interested in a spot in an Optional program, you need to use the Optional School Enrollment.)

The priority general choice application period begins in late January and ends in late February. Applicants who submit during this time will be notified of their child’s status prior to the end of the school year.

General Choice Transfers are open to all residents of Shelby County and surrounding areas, with priorities in place to accommodate school-based employees, siblings of students already in the school, and students assigned to other SCS schools. If your child is already in a school on a General Choice Transfer, you do not have to participate in the application process again. However, please note that siblings of students who are already in a school via General Choice Transfers do not automatically get a spot in that school – they do get priority over many other applicants, but you still have to submit a General Choice Transfer application. Also, if you have already applied for a transfer into an Optional School you’re not zoned for, but are not sure your child will get in for reasons of space or eligibility, you can (and should) submit a General Choice Transfer application as a backup, if you still want them in that school, even if they don’t qualify for an Optional classroom.

The application process is completely online. Applications are still considered on a first-come, first-served basis, so you will want to be online as soon as the priority period begins in late January if you’re hoping for a spot in a coveted school.


Find a list of schools with available space in January, prior to the application period.  If there are two schools that you would be happy with, you can choose both. Students may apply for two General Choice options and/or two Optional schools. But be aware that if your first choice is full, and your second choice is not, you will be given your second choice school, and NOT be put on a waiting list for your first choice. If you do not indicate a second choice, you’ll be put on a waiting list for your first choice school, and in some cases, a spot may open up at that school over the summer (or even in the first week of school).

Because this is a first-come, first-served online process, you’ll want to make plans to have a reliable internet connection when you apply. While it might be easier (and faster) to type in all the info at a computer, plenty of parents use mobile devices such as smartphones or tablets to apply, and it works just the same. For parents without personal Internet access, computers and on-site assistance will be available at the following District sites on the first day of the application period:

  • All school locations
  • SCS Parent Welcome Center (2687 Avery Ave.) 
  • SCS Northeast Regional Office (920 N. Highland St.)
  • SCS Grays Creek Admin. Office (2800 Grays Creek, Arlington). 


First, you’ll need a valid email address. Current SCS parents also need their child’s PowerSchool ID/Student Number. If you don’t know your student’s PowerSchool ID, check your child’s report card or call 416-5300. Non-SCS parents should use a SSN. If your child doesn’t have a Social Security number, contact your child’s current school to get a PIN number. If you’re an SCS employee trying to transfer your child to your school, you’ll also need your employee ID number. If you’re having someone else fill out the form for you, make sure they also have all your contact info, your child’s birth date and grade level, and of course, your school choices.

You’ll be required to provide an email address in order to submit your application. After you submit, you’ll get an email confirmation, but you will not receive a number showing where you are in line at that school.

The SCS Student Services office reports that anyone who submits an application during the priority period will receive notification before the end of the school year. All communications will come via email, so keep an eye on your inbox. You can call the Attendance and Discipline department at 901-416-6007 if you have questions, but no answers on transfer decision will be given until all applications have been processed.

If you are unsuccessful in the initial round of student assignments, you will want to contact the Student Services office immediately to work with them on an appeal or getting assigned to another school. Your best bet is to email ( or fax (901-416-8476) them a letter explaining your situation and requesting assistance. While a school’s principal might be able to give you an idea of whether they have space or not, they cannot grant admission – that must happen through the Student Services office. Their staff works throughout the summer to contact families and place students, but if you reach out first, you’re more likely to get dealt with first and get a spot you’re happy with. Wait-listed parents have been known to be contacted as late as the first week of school (as spots opened up because of students who decided to enroll elsewhere), so if you’re really dying for a spot in a certain school and are willing to be make a last-minute switch, you could end up getting your preferred school.