Before you begin:

  • The online application is only available to current HCPS eighth-grade students.
  •  All parents or guardians must complete an online Parent Authorization and Waiver Form, accessible through the PowerSchool Parent Portal starting Nov. 8. The deadline to submit this form is 4 p.m. on Jan. 10. The form is located under the menu on the left: “Specialty Center” (star icon).
  • Once the permission form has been submitted, the Grade 8 student will have access to the online application during the application window within 24 hours. Please note: Application will not be open for access until Nov. 15.

For more information regarding HCPS specialty centers and the application process, click the Specialty Center button.

Read all directions
before beginning the application. 

Application window opens Nov. 15, 2021

Application window closes Jan. 10, 2022

Apply online at

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Student Application Directions:

The “Parent Authorization and Waiver Form” is required. Twenty-four hours after a parent or guardian submits the form during the application window (Nov. 15, 2021-Jan. 10, 2022), students can access the online application at to begin the application.

    1. Log in to the PowerSchool Parent Portal. Click the “Specialty Center Online Application” link and use your HCPS credentials to log in. 

    2. Log in to the online application at

Note: PowerSchool Parent Portal credentials does not allow access to the application. Student credentials only.

    1. Review the Home tab:It contains important information.

    2. Begin the application: Select the “Create Application” button.

    3. Take a moment to verify personal information:If there are any errors, please report them to the school counseling office before proceeding with the application. This may require the student to log out and return the application on another day.

    4. Select specialty centers:From this page, select all centers the student would like to include in the application. Once this is complete click the “Process Selections” button.

    5. Enter activities:Enter an activity name, hours per week, grade levels of participation and the description for each activity. With each activity entry, save the activity. The activity will show up at the bottom of that page. Once the student has completed all activity entries, they must click on the “Finish Activities” button (top right). Note: The student is required to include at least one activity but no more than five.

    6. Teacher recommendations:Select two teachers from the current school to request recommendations. One of the teachers you select should be from a core subject area (math, English, science, or history). With each teacher selection, save. When two teachers are selected, click once on the “Complete Recommendations” button.

    7. If student applied to the Center for the Arts (dance, music, theatre and/or visual arts): Under the “Select Specialty Centers” tab, the student will need to select an audition session. Click once on the blue “Edit” button next to each center to select an audition session. Once complete, click once on the “Apply Changes” button.

    8. Review specialty center selections, activity submissions, teacher recommendations and audition selections (if applicable):Before you select the “Finalize Application” button.  Note: At this point you can still make changes by clicking on the tabs.

    9. Select the Finalize Application button to submit.

    10. After the application has been submitted:

      1. Project page:Once you select “Finalize Application” and then “Continue,” you will be directed to the project page. If the center to which you are applying requires a project, you will see the information on this page. Print this page and complete all projects. Another option is to use the snipping tool to snip and save.

      2. Confirmation:An email will be generated to the “Contact 1” and “Contact 2” on file in PowerSchool, confirming that the application has been received and is being processed. The contacts are reminded to follow up with their student to ensure they complete any required projects or attend any mandatory events.

      3. The student can login anytime during the active application window and view the “Application Summary” or “Projects” tab.

      4. If the student wishes to change their application, they must see their school counselor.

    11. Projects: Students will need to drop their required projects into the Schoology course called “Specialty Center Writing Samples and Projects.” (Example: “Brookland MS Specialty Center Writing Samples.”)

Please note: This application is a different process from the Maggie Walker Governor’s School application or the ACE Centers application. Each application process must be completed in its entirety and are considered a separate application process.