How to Navigate L.A. Magnet Schools, a Step-by-Step Guide

School Bus Illo - THR - H 2017
Illustration by: Rami Niemi

Hollywood connections won't help with getting into L.A.'s best magnets (where Beats by Dre president Luke Wood has sent his kid). Demystify the points system with The Hollywood Reporter's decision tree.

In Los Angeles, private school tuition and other associated costs can easily soar past $40,000 per year, making magnet schools an attractive option. After all, magnet schools, which are public, don’t charge tuition and provide free bus transportation for any student that resides within the Los Angeles Unified School District (LAUSD).

Magnets focus on theme-based curriculum that can include medicine, the humanities, the performing arts or STEM (science, technology, engineering, math). Keith Abrahams, LAUSD’s executive director of student integration services, says magnet programs are "historically academically successful," citing a 2017 study that showed magnet students outperforming those in non-magnet programs in areas such as math and English-language arts.

But the admission process for magnets can be tricky, as LAUSD is the second-largest school district in the country, with more than 1,000 total schools and 292 magnets. Selection is the result of a combination of a random lottery and a points system. Since putting a down payment on a house near a great public school is not feasible for everyone, see the steps below to a successfully enroll in the LAUSD magnet system. As always, experts advise having honest conversations with your child to determine which schools would be the best fit.