Lottery, Decision, Waitlist

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Lottery 2018

The lottery for enrollment for the fall of 2018 was held on March 2. There are substantial waitlists for all grades. The next lottery will be held in March 2019. Waitlists do not carry over from year to year, and all incoming students are enrolled as a result of the annual lottery. Students who are not offered a seat in the lottery are added to the waitlist in an order determined by the lottery. If a seat comes open, the next student on the wait llist is offered the seat.

The Waitlist

If your student is given a waitlist number, there are varying levels of chance that she/he could be offered a spot. Unfortunately, it's impossible for the Enrollment office to discuss the probability of coming off the waitlist. The nature of family decisions - and all the factors that influence them - are highly unpredictable. For this reason, we advise parents with students on the waitlist to secure a spot at their preferred alternate school. You can be enrolled at another school and remain on the waitlist.

The lowest waitlist numbers have more chance to receive an offer after the initial decision period in March than do the highest. For those with high numbers, the chances are greatly diminished. In all cases, if your student is on the waitlist, encourages you to explore other educational options for the fall.

In our experience, it is possible that a family can change their plans over the summer. Openings have occurred shortly before or shortly after school resumes. It can be a very surprising time to receive an offer.

What happens to the waitlist after school starts? Once on the waitlist, the student's name remains on unless the parent withdraws the application. It is very helpful to let the enrollment office know if you wish to remove your student's name from the waitlist by emailing


Lottery Priorities

Here is a list of the lottery priorities that applied for the 2018-2019 school year. Priorities do not ensure an offer given that the number of students registering far exceeds the number of open seats, but the priority can increase the changes of being offered an opportunity to enroll. 

All priorities are subject to verification. Design Tech High School reserves the right to rescind offers of enrollment if the information provided on the application is not accurate and/or if proof is not provided.

  • Children who reside within the boundaries of the San Mateo Union High School District receive a 10:1 preference.
  • Children who reside within the boundaries of the Sequoia Union High School District receive an 8:1 preference.
  • Children eligible to receive free or reduced price meals (FRPM), who reside within the boundaries of San Mateo Union High School District, receive a 16:1 preference.
  • Children eligible to receive FRPM, who reside within the boundaries of Sequoia Union High School District, receive a 14:1 preference.
  • Children who reside in other California school districts receive a 1:1 lottery weighting.
  • Children eligible to receive FRPM, who reside in other California school districts, shall be given a 6:1 preference. 
  • Siblings of current students, children of founders, and employees are guaranteed offers.


Frequently Asked Questions

Q: Does my student have an advantage if I submit the application earlier than others?
No. The time you submit your application between January and the deadline at the end of February has no influence on the outcome of the lottery. 

Q: Is there any way a family can use personal connections to increase their chances of being offered a spot.
No. Enrollment is run strictly by lottery in accordance with the legal requirements of's charter and authorizing body, the San Mateo Union High School District.

Q: If my son or daughter is an excellent student, does he/she have a better chance of being accepted?
No. Whereas private schools make make offers of acceptance based on student profiles, student enrollment at is based solely on a public lottery. 

Q: If my family receives an offer to enroll in the lottery, can we defer acceptance?
No. Offers of enrollment can not be deferred and must be accepted or declined by the stated deadline.

Q: If my family declines an offer, and later reconsiders, is the offer still available?
No. Once declined, the application is withdrawn and the spot is offered to the next student on the waitlist.

Q. If my student is on the waitlist, does it roll over from one year to the next?
No. The waitlist applies for one year only. After that, the student needs to reapply to enter the next lottery for a new grade.

Q. If my child enrolls in, do they have to reapply each year and go through the lottery each year?
No. Once your student is enrolled, they do not need to reapply each year. 

Recision of Offers

  • Applications must be completed accurately and honestly, with verification required upon enrollment, or the offer is rescinded.
  • After accepting an offer from, families must disenroll immediately from their other option school. Families who are discovered to be double-enrolled in and another school beyond the enrollment deadline will be disenrolled from Design Tech High School, and their spot offered to the next student on the waitlist.

If your questions have not been answered here, please email