FORT BENNING, Ga. (Oct. 17, 2012) -- The countdown to high school selection is underway as Fort Benning parents with children transitioning to high school must decide where to send their eighth-grade students. Students have two options: to attend a neighborhood school or apply to a magnet school.

Typically, where students attend high school is dependent upon their physical residential address. However, for Families living on Fort Benning -- they have three neighborhood school options -- Chattahoochee County High School in Cusseta, Ga., Russell County High School in Seale, Ala., and Spencer High School in Columbus, said eighth grade counselor Lindsay Ratliff. This is because Fort Benning is considered their address, but not their physical residential address.

The Muscogee County School District also has magnet programs students can apply to, however, if they are not accepted they must attend a neighborhood school. Magnet programs concentrate on a specific curriculum, Ratliff said, such as computer science and game design at Spencer High School or advanced college prep at Columbus and Hardaway High School.

"Parents and students should be aware (of) what their student's choices are as early as possible," Ratliff said. "They need to understand that the child's grades, behavior record, and attendance record in middle school will follow them to whatever high school they go to."

In order to meet eligibility requirements for a magnet program, students need to have the following:

•A or B grade point average in all academic subjects
•Good attendance record
•Good discipline record
•Teacher recommendations
•Seventh and eighth grade report cards
•Seventh grade test scores
•Some schools will also require an entrance exam or an interview for admission.

For more information about a particular magnet program's eligibility requirements, contact that particular high school. Applications for magnet programs are due Jan. 31.

But no matter where a student attend high school, all Department of Defense Education Activity students will be attending a new school district -- therefore will need to register for the next school year with the school district that that the student's school is located, Ratliff said.

When selecting a school, Ratliff said, parents should talk to their child about their interests.

"If they are not interested in the subject or course material the student will probably not do as well," Ratliff said. "A lot of students apply to a school just because that is the 'cool' or 'popular' school to go to. This is not a good reason to apply to a magnet program."

A student can be dismissed from a magnet school program if the fail to meet the magnet program's requirements, Ratliff said. If this happens a student will have to return to their neighborhood school.

Ratliff said she strongly encourages parents and their students to visit the high schools and ask questions. Each school will have an open house that Families can go to. Each school has advantages and disadvantages.

"Every student and every Family has a different experience when it comes to school."

For help in deciding on which school to attend or for more information, contact Ratliff at 706-545-0310 or Information about schools are listed on each schools respective website