Numbers and data obtained by the Channel 4 I-Team show roughly half of all students who applied in Metro school's choice process didn't get into the school they wanted most to attend.
After parents complained to the Channel 4 I-Team about the odds, we filed open records requests to obtain the actual numbers.
Metro school records show in this year's school choice process, also commonly referred to as the lottery, 6,405 applied, and 3,103 students got their first choice.
That means 3,302 didn't get into their first school choice.
Those numbers mean students have a roughly 50/50 chance of getting into the school they most wanted to attend.
Parent Claire Carrico said it's those odds that forced her family to send their son to a private school in the fall because they just assumed he wouldn't get into his first choice school.
"It seems like we're underserving an entire population of our school system," Carrico said.
"We wish every family could go to the school they want, but obviously, we have to deal within the constraints of our capacity in our buildings," said Olivia Brown, spokeswoman for Metro schools.
Carrico's son wanted to attend Meigs Magnet Middle School. The data shows that 745 students applied and 189 got in.
"We have a whole school who could be populated with that waiting list," Carrico said.
The odds are tough at other top performing magnet schools as well.
The records show for Head Middle Magnet School, 841 students applied and 174 got in.
For Rose Park Middle Magnet School, 443 applied and 98 got in.
For Hume Fogg High School, 376 applied and only 32 got in.
"Are parents going to see these numbers and be discouraged?" asked chief investigative reporter Jeremy Finley.
"Because the demand is higher, it does become harder to get into those schools. But there are other schools that are equally great that hopefully parents will take a look at," Brown said.
Metro schools are urging parents to apply for other schools, not just one, and point to John Early Middle Schools as an example why.
There is no waiting list at that school and it is also a feeder school to one of the best high schools in the city.
"We just hope that families aren't too disappointed that they didn't get that one school that they wanted, and will then look at some of the other schools that are available," Brown said.
The records show that if student's apply for more than one school, their odds greatly increase that they will be able to attend one of their top three choices.
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