Using one of the Fairfax County Zip Codes to find a home by school is like using a plumbing plan to find the electrical main on a house.
When an architect draws plans for a house, there is a specific plan for the plumbing installation, and a different plan for the electric installation.
If we were to put these different plan drawings on top of each other, it’s possible that the electric and plumbing installation share certain paths throughout the home, say, along the same wall. But most likely, each of these installations have enough differences that they each require a drawing of their own.
Just like when building a home, when setting up the infrastructure of a county, there are different plans for dividing the area
- Fairfax County Zip Codes are one plan – used mostly by the United States Postal Service (USPS) to determine mail routes.
- Fairfax County School Boundaries are another plan – determined by the School District to assign homes to schools.
And rarely do these two plans match when placed on top of each other on a map.
Let’s look one of the most popular Fairfax County Zip Codes: 22101
McLean High School is within the 22101 zip code. And many of the homes within 22101 also belong in the McLean High School boundary. But about half of the homes in that zip code do not attend McLean High School (see area delimited within the purple line in the map below).
As we can see, about half the homes in the 22101 zip code are excluded from the McLean HS boundary.
On the other hand, there are homes in the adjacent 22043 and 22046 zip codes (Falls Church area), that are included in the McLean High School boundary. See the image below:
But wait, there’s more… if you notice in the image above, there are also homes in the 22182 zip code of Vienna that are assigned to McLean High school, along with homes in other Fairfax County Zip Codes.
- While a school may be located in a certain zip code, that doesn’t guarantee that homes in that zip code will belong to that school boundary.
Let’s see another example:
To make things more interesting, Langley High School is also physically in the 22101 zip code; like McLean High School.
Langley HS serves the other half of the homes in the 22101 zip code, plus many more homes. The Langley HS school boundary spans a total of 6 Fairfax County Zip Codes:
Langley HS serves students living in 22101, 22102 (McLean), 22182 (Vienna), 20170 (Herndon), 20194 (Reston), and 22066 (Great Falls).
As you can see, trying to use zip codes to find a home by school is like trying to find the main electrical cable on a home by looking at the plumbing plan.
- A better way to find homes assigned to a school is by using the school boundaries map
Although, sometimes, some Fairfax County Zip Codes do match a high school boundary fairly well…
In our example above, finding a home by school in Mclean using the 22101 zip code isn’t too bad, since most of 22101 goes to Mclean HS and the other part goes to Langley HS. (And both high schools are within 22101).
But other times, Fairfax County Zip Codes don’t match a high school boundary at all
Consider, for example, a zip code like 22182, in Vienna.
Homes in the 22182 zip code are assigned to at least 6 different high schools, (and none of these 6 high schools are physically located in the 22182 zip code).
Summary: Using Fairfax County Zip Codes to find a home by school doesn’t work
- Zip codes are one way of dividing the County – by the USPS, for mailing purposes.
- School boundaries are another way of dividing the County – by the school board, for attendance purposes.
In Fairfax County, zip codes don’t match school boundaries, so searching for a home by school using zip codes is like using the plumbing plan to find the electrical main on a house. It simply doesn’t work…
Next time, when you see an online home search by “nearby schools” that match the home’s zip code with a school’s zip code, you’ll know that such a search isn’t going to take you very far…
Log into our interactive Fairfax County Map of School Boundaries to find your next Home by School
Log in to the Fairfax County Map of School Boundaries to see the location of each of these boundaries within Fairfax County and to choose your ideal boundary.
When you log in to the Fairfax County Map of School Boundaries, you will find:
- Photos and videos
- Highlights of the area covered by each boundary
- Statistics about housing
- School rankings for schools in each boundary
See you on the other side!
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