School Options Made Easier for Students 

District empowers families to make informed choices

September 30, 2013

CPS prides itself on offering students a variety of academic programs to meet their specific needs. To help families identify which schools might be a good fit for their children, and to help them more easily navigate the application process, the District has created a host of new tools to supplement its existing slate of resources.


The application process for the 2014-15 school year begins on October 1. This process encompasses elementary magnet and selective enrollment schools, as well as several high school options, including magnet, selective enrollment, international baccalaureate (IB), military academies and career and technical education programs.


“Our goal as a District is to empower families to make informed decisions about their children’s unique academic needs and to help them easily navigate this process,” said CPS CEO Barbara Byrd-Bennett. “I strongly encourage families to take advantage of our helpful resources as they begin to explore our high-quality school and academic program offerings.”


Students applying to 9th-grade can now log on to to schedule their own selective enrollment exams and magnet school auditions. They can also use this system to arrange the information sessions that are required by STEM and IB schools and military academies. Students interested in selective enrollment high schools are encouraged to schedule their exams early, as it may help them make informed choices about where to apply.


“Selecting early test dates can be beneficial for families,” said Katie Ellis, Executive Director of CPS’ Office of Access & Enrollment. “Students who schedule test dates in November and December will receive their results prior to the application deadline, which will help them narrow down their options for next year.”


This self-scheduling system is a departure from previous years when test dates were assigned to students at random. The new system will permit students to choose times and locations that work in their calendars, even allowing for the changing of appointments when necessary.


In order to access this system, students MUST have a previously assigned Personal Identification Number (PIN). These were assigned by CPS to all eighth graders in a letter that also listed the programs to which each student is eligible to apply for the 2014-15 school year. This list was based on final grades and standardized test scores from each student’s seventh grade year. All eighth graders are also being provided with a physical copy of the CPS High School Guide, which provides detailed information about all high school options that are available within the District.


To view the Self-Schedule Information Video, which provides a step-by-step guide to accessing the new system, click


Other Helpful Resources

  • The Office of Access & Enrollment (OAE) Website – Visit for general information about CPS schools and programs. For specific information on the application process, as well as selection and notification guidelines, click on the tab marked Resources.
  • Up-to-Date Tier Data – Families applying to selective enrollment or magnet schools may want to use their home address to determine their respective tiers. This information is available at
  • Option Guides – The District offers families comprehensive information on the academic programs available throughout CPS. Both the Options for Knowledge elementary school guide and the searchable high school directory are available in English and Spanish, and can be accessed by visiting Print copies can be obtained at any school, or by visiting CPS Central Office at 125 S. Clark Street.


Families with additional questions are encouraged to call the CPS Office of Access & Enrollment at (773) 553-2060.


Page Last Modified on Monday, September 30, 2013