Applications are available on January 25 (for 2016) and due by March 4, 2016. You can apply online, by phone at (718) 935-2067, or in person at a family welcome center. You'll learn where your child is accepted in May.

To register, go to the school in person with your child, the child's birth certificate or passport, immunization records, and proof of NYC residence such as a recent utility bill. You do not need a green card or a social security number to register.

A word about waitlists

Popular schools have long waitlists, while others never fill up.

If you don't get your top choice, you will automatically be waitlisted there and for any school listed above the one you got into. If you did not apply to a school you like, you can still apply after the deadline and get on a waitlist.

A tip: Be persistent and patient. Some seats open up in September and October when, for example, a family moves. Schools receive budgets according to how many children are enrolled on Oct. 31, so the staff is eager to fill any empty seats. Make sure your favorite school knows you still want a seat.