How to Apply
Step 1: Go to GoCPS. If you visit before October 10th, click ‘Activate’ at the top of the home page. If you visit on or after October 10th, and click “Apply” at the top of the home page. This will allow you to open an account, with an email address or telephone number as your user name, and create your password.
CPS students applying to ninth grade will need an Activation Code to open an online account. (If you have misplaced your code, call the Office of Access and Enrollment at 773-553-2060 from a telephone number on your child’s CPS Student Information file.)
Non-CPS students and CPS students applying to PreK through eighth grade do not need an Activation Code to open an online account.
Step 2: Follow the instructions to enter your information and add your child(ren) to your account. Note that you can enter more than one parent/guardian to the account. However – and this is very important – the account must be opened with the name and address of the parent/guardian with whom the student resides. The address for this parent/guardian will be the address that is used for determining tiers, proximity boundaries, and attendance boundaries. If you would like for other parents/guardians to receive communications regarding the account, you can add their contact information later in the account creation process.
Step 3: If your child attends a non-CPS school, and attended a non-CPS school in the 2016-2017 school year, and your child plans to apply to schools/programs with academic criteria, your child will need to take the NWEA MAP that is administered by the Chicago Public Schools. The NWEA MAP is the standardized exam that is used by the Chicago Public Schools to determine eligibility for students to apply to schools with academic criteria. If you have not already done so, please register your child to take the NWEA MAP before the December 22nd deadline. (NOTE: If you register for the January 2018 NWEA MAP test date, you will not be able to use on the online application site to apply. Please go to GoCPS, click ‘How to Apply’ and ‘Elementary Schools,’ and print a copy of the high school paper application. You will have to submit this application by the December 22nd deadline. Your child’s eligibility to be considered for the programs with eligibility requirements to which you apply will be determined approximately three weeks after he/she takes the NWEA MAP in January. You will be given next steps at that time.)
Step 4: Once a CPS family creates the online account, they will see a list of all the high school programs to which the student is eligible to apply. Non-CPS families will see this information after their student’s NWEA MAP scores have been uploaded to the online application site, which will occur approximately three weeks after the student takes the NWEA MAP.
Programs are displayed by eligibility, in alphabetical order, grouped according to the school name. The programs to which the student is eligible to apply will have a white background and those to which they are not eligible to apply will have a gray background. Families will also see a column labeled “Eligible to Apply,” with programs identified with “Yes” or “No.” In the application, students will select the individual programs to which they are applying, rather than applying to the school in general, in most cases.
Step 5: You can apply to up to 20 Non-Selective Enrollment programs and, if eligible, up to six Selective Enrollment programs. (Please note that all Selective Enrollment programs have minimum eligibility requirements and some Non-Selective Enrollment programs have minimum eligibility requirements as well.) A counter will keep track of how many programs from each category have been selected.
Step 6: You will then rank the schools/programs selected in order of your preference, provide any supplemental information requested (e.g., essays or letters of recommendation), and schedule and participate in any required admissions screenings (e.g., testing, information sessions, auditions, etc.).
Step 7: After you have submitted your application, you will receive an email confirmation.
Some high school programs have minimum eligibility requirements in order for students to apply. Eligibility can be based on one or more factors, including NWEA MAP scores, final grade point average (GPA) from seventh grade, and attendance percentage from seventh grade. In addition, some programs may have different requirements based on whether students reside inside the attendance boundary for the school, or whether the student has an IEP or receives bilingual services. A complete list of the Eligibility Requirements for all high school programs can be accessed below.
Download the Eligibility Requirements
Admissions screenings are events required by some schools/programs in order for students to be considered in the selection process. These consist of admissions exams, auditions, information sessions, and interviews. A complete list of the programs that require admissions screenings can be accessed below.
Download the Admissions Screenings
Matching / Second Round / Transfer
Students will be considered for Selective Enrollment schools and Non-Selective Enrollment programs separately. If the student applies to both Selective Enrollment schools and Non-Selective Enrollment programs, he/she will be included in two separate selection processes.
The selection process takes into consideration the specific selection procedures for the programs (such as a lottery or a point system); the student’s performance on any required tests, auditions, or interviews; points given to essays or teacher recommendations; and any other information that the school/program may consider, such as how close the student lives to the school, whether the student has a sibling currently enrolled in the school, or whether the student’s parent is a staff member at the school.
Each student is considered for the schools/programs on his/her application, in the order of their preference. The student is given an offer from the highest-ranked school/program on his/her application for which he/she qualifies, based on seat availability, his/her status for the specific program’s selection process (e.g., lottery number, final points), and the status of other applicants to those schools/programs.
If the student applies to both Selective Enrollment AND Non-Selective Enrollment programs, at most, he/she can receive two offers: one Selective Enrollment offer and one Non-Selective Enrollment offer.
If the student applies to programs in both categories and he/she does not qualify for a Selective Enrollment offer, or if the student only applies to Non-Selective Enrollment programs, the student may only receive a Non-Selective Enrollment offer.
If the student doesn’t qualify for either a Selective OR a Non-Selective Enrollment offer, the student is guaranteed a seat in the general education program at his/her neighborhood Chicago public high school.
For Non-Selective programs, students can be waitlisted for any program that is ranked higher than the program from which they received an offer, and for which they are eligible. (Selective Enrollment programs do not have waitlists.) Students will remain on waitlists whether or not they accept a first round offer.
At the end of the first and second rounds, principals will contact students on their waitlists to fill any remaining available seats, starting with the first student on the list and working in numerical order. Available seats will be offered to waitlisted students beginning with the first student on the waitlist.
If the student is not satisfied with his/her first round offer, or if the student did not receive a first round offer, the student can submit an application for the second round. The second round only consists of programs that still have seats available.
The student does NOT have to decline a first round offer in order to apply in the second round. However, if he/she submits a second-round application and receives a second-round offer, the student’s first-round offer will automatically be forfeited. Because of this, families are advised to apply in the second round only if the student would like to attend a potential second round school/program more than the first-round offer he/she received.
Second-round offers will be released in May 2018.
Students can transfer high schools between July 1 and the 20th day of each school year, or during fixed transfer windows at the end of each quarter.
A list of schools with available seats will be accessible on GoCPS. In order to be considered for a transfer, students will need to contact the school(s) in which they are interested, and follow the admissions requirements for those schools.
Frequently Asked Questions
. Download the high schools frequently asked questions