Families with children who start primary school this September in Leeds are being reminded they only have a few days left to apply for their preferred schools.
Education chiefs in the city say that previous years have shown those who apply late may miss out on school places even if they have older children already at their desired schools.
To try to avoid this, Education Leeds is urging families to submit their preferences by Saturday January 15.
While traditional application forms are also available from primary schools, nurseries, libraries and children's centres, applications can also be made online at www.educationleeds.co.uk/admissions.
Families applying online will also each be sent an email confirming their preferences have been received.
All primary school offers will be made on April 20 but parents using the paper forms will have their offer letters sent out by second class post on the offer day so parents should expect to receive them a few days later.
Councillor Jane Dowson, executive board responsible for learning, said: "In the last school year, 550 applications for primary school places were made after the offer date and before the start of term.
"It's far more difficult to allocate places in these circumstances and families which do this risk not being able to send their child to their preferred school.
"It's essential that preferences are made by the deadline on 15 January and that three schools are listed – including your local school – to ensure every child and young person has the best chance of attending their preferred school."
Nigel Richardson, director of children's services, said: "Unfortunately school places cannot be guaranteed and families which send their forms in late, or do not submit a form at all, are often unable to send their children to one of their preferred schools."
Last September, 86.2 per cent of families were offered their first preferences.