For about nine years, Philadelphia's 8,500 8th graders have done all (well, most?) of their homework. Now comes the biggest project yet. Finding a high school. 

More than 100 public, private, charter and Catholic high schools will be on hand next weekend at a fair to help students finishing middle school in Philadelphia figure out their next step. 

The 2015 Philly High School Fair will be held at the Pennsylvania Convention Center on Friday, October 16 from 3 p.m. to 7 p.m. and the next day from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m.

For parents and students alike, the fair is a chance to explore the bewildering array of school options — between competitive admissions schools and neighborhood high schools, there are 53 public high schools in the city alone, along with dozens of private, Catholic and charters. 

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Representatives will be on hand to talk about admissions criteria, vocational training, extra curricular activities and other special programs. 

Organizers say that more than 10,000 parents and students attended the event last year, prompting a move to larger space at the convention center. 

Attending is the beginning of what can a long process.

“It isn’t accurate to say that this is half the battle,” said Kristen Forbriger, public affairs director of the Philadelphia School Partnership. “It’s the first step.”

The event is also important because the application deadline for the city’s competitive admissions schools this year is Nov. 13. 

There are approximately 8,500 8th graders in Philadelphia public schools — and far fewer seats at charters, and magnets. 

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That’s earlier than usual, said School District Spokesman Fernando Gallard, because parents who weren’t given their first choice of schools have requested earlier notice so they have more time to evaluate options. That deadline also applies to school transfer applications for elementary-aged students who want to attend a school other than their neighborhood school, and to students who apply to selective middle schools.