Office of Access and Enrollment

The application period for the 2019-2020 school year opened on October 1, 2018, and closes on December 14, 2018. Visit GoCPS for online and paper applications, Open House dates, guides, and other information.

News and Announcements

Information regarding the GoCPS high school application process can be found in the High School FAQs. If you have additional questions, contact the Office of Access and Enrollment at 773-553-2060 or gocps@cps.edu.

Information regarding the GoCPS elementary school application process can be found in the Elementary School FAQs. If you have additional questions, contact the Office of Access and Enrollment at 773-553-2060 or gocps@cps.edu.

Schools and Programs

Preschool programs for three- and four-year-olds are available at many Chicago public schools.

To apply to the four magnet preschool programs, visit GoCPS. You will apply between October 1, 2018, and December 14, 2018, for the 2019-2020 school year. The four magnet preschools are below:

  • Drummond Montessori Magnet School (three- and four-year-old program)
  • Inter-American Magnet School (four-year-old program only)
  • Mayer Magnet School (three- and four-year-old program)
  • Suder Magnet School (three- and four-year-old program)

At these four schools ONLY, the preschool program feeds directly into kindergarten. (This means that preschool students enrolled in these schools do not have to submit an application in order to attend kindergarten at the school where they are enrolled.)

To apply to the preschool program at any other Chicago public school, you will apply through the Chicago Early Learning application process, which is managed by the city of Chicago and takes place in the spring. For information, visit the Chicago Early Learning website or call 312-229-1690. For information on schools that offer tuition-based preschool programs, contact the Office of Early Childhood Education at 773-553-2010. (Note that if your child is enrolled in a preschool program through the Chicago Early Learning process or the tuition-based preschool program, and you want him/her to remain in that school for kindergarten, you will need to submit an application for kindergarten the year before your child will start kindergarten. Students in these preschool programs DO NOT automatically continue into kindergarten.)

Magnet Schools
Specialize in one particular area, such as math/science, Montessori, or Humanities. In most cases, magnet schools do not have neighborhood attendance boundaries. Seats are filled through the application and computerized lottery selection process.

Magnet Cluster Schools
A neighborhood school that specializes in one particular area of the curriculum, such as technology, world language, or fine and performing arts. Magnet cluster schools accept students who live within their neighborhood attendance boundary. Available seats for students who live outside of the boundary are filled through the application and computerized lottery selection process.

Open Enrollment Schools
A neighborhood school that does not specialize in a particular area of the curriculum. Open enrollment schools accept students who live within their neighborhood attendance boundary. Available seats for students who live outside of the boundary are filled through the application and computerized lottery selection process.

Selective Enrollment Elementary Schools
Consists of four types of schools/programs: Academic Centers, Classical Schools, Regional Gifted Centers, the International Gifted Program, and Regional Gifted Centers for English Learners. These schools are designed for academically advanced students and testing is required.

Applying to high schools is easy! See the important information below and contact the Office of Access and Enrollment at 773-553-2060 or gocps@cps.edu if you have any questions.

But first, please note the following:

  • The application period begins October 1, 2018, and ends December 14, 2018.
  • You have a choice of applying through the online application site, or by using a paper application. (We highly recommend the online application process – you will be able to submit your application, receive notifications and updates via email or text, and receive and accept your child’s offer(s) – all online!
  • Students will apply to ninth grade using one application. Students can apply to both Selective Enrollment Programs and Choice Programs on the single application. (Selective Enrollment programs are the 11 Selective Enrollment High Schools: Brooks, Hancock, Jones, King, Lane, Lindblom, Northside, Payton, South Shore, Westinghouse, and Whitney Young. All other programs are in the Choice Programs category.)
  • When you decide on the programs to which you will apply, it is important that you list the schools/programs on your application in the ORDER OF YOUR PREFERENCE. This means that you will list the program you want MOST as your first choice, the program you want next as your second choice, and so on. This is the order in which the student will be considered.
  • The application process for high schools is a single-offer model. Students will receive an offer from the highest-ranked school/program on their application for which they qualify and for which there are available seats. Choice Programs and Selective Enrollment Programs are considered in separate selection process. Accordingly, a student can, at most, receive one Choice Program offer and one Selective Enrollment offer. If students are enrolled in a school that also serves grades 9-12 (called a “continuing” school), they are also guaranteed an offer from this school. Finally, all students are guaranteed a seat in the general education program of the designated neighborhood for their home address.
  • Your child’s application results will be released in March 2019. This will notify you whether or not your child received an offer or a waitlist number from any of the programs to which you applied. If you apply online, your results will be posted to your online account. If you apply via paper application, your notification letter will be mailed to your home address.

To start the application process, visit GoCPS!

 

How to Apply to 9th Grade

Step 1: Go to GoCPS. Click ‘Apply’ at the top of the home page. This will allow you to open an account, with an email address as your user name, and create your password.

Students applying to ninth grade will need an Activation Code to open an online account, unless the student applied to schools through GoCPS last year. CPS students received their Activation Codes at their school in June 2018 and again in September 2018. (If you misplaced your code, you can get the code from your child’s school counselor, or by calling the Office of Access and Enrollment at 773-553-2060, weekdays between 8 am and 6 pm, from a telephone number on your child’s CPS Student Information file.) Activation Codes for non-CPS students who took the NWEA MAP in September 2018 were mailed to the parent’s home.

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: Non-CPS students applying to programs with academic criteria must be administered the NWEA MAP by the Chicago Public Schools. This is the standardized exam used by CPS to determine student eligibility for schools/programs with academic criteria. If you did not register your child to take the NWEA MAP that was offered to non-CPS students in September 2018, contact the Office of Access and Enrollment at 773-553-2060 or gocps@cps.edu by December 14, 2018, for information about the NWEA MAP that will be administered in January 2019. (If your child takes the NWEA MAP in January 2019, you will have to submit a paper application by the December 14th deadline, and you will not apply using the online process or receive an Activation Code. Your child’s eligibility to be considered for the schools to which you apply will be determined approximately two weeks after he/she takes the NWEA MAP in January. You will be given next steps at that time. Please go to GoCPS, click ‘High School’ and ‘Apply,’ to print a copy of the high school paper application and click the link for the High School Supplemental Document for additional important information.)

If your child took the NWEA MAP in September 2018, an Activation Code will be mailed to your home address (unless you applied for your child last year and already have a GoCPS account); you will use this Activation Code to open your online account. Your child’s scores will be posted to your online account within two weeks after the date of his/her second NWEA MAP exam. At that time, you can resume the steps of the application process as indicated below.

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.
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.

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 Choice (formerly known as 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 Choice 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 (i.e., admission exams, auditions, information sessions or interviews).

Step 7: After you have submitted your application, you will receive an email and/or text confirmation, depending up on the contact method you selected when you created your application.

Eligibility

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, along with each program’s selection process, can be accessed below.

Eligibility Requirements and Selection Processes

Admissions Screening

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.

Also below are the dates, times, and locations of Information Sessions for International Baccalaureate programs and Service Leadership (formerly Military) Academies.

Results

Selection Process
Students will be considered for Choice Programs and Selective Enrollment Programs separately. If the student applies to both Choice Programs and 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 (lottery or 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 that they are listed on the application. 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 (i.e., lottery number, final points), and the status of other applicants to those schools/programs.

First Round
If a student applies to both Choice Programs AND Selective Enrollment Programs, the most he/she can receive is two offers: one Choice Program offer and one Selective Enrollment offer. It is also possible to receive an offer from one type of program and not the other, or to not receive an offer in either category. If a student attends a school that also serves grades 9-12, the student will also receive an offer from that school. Students are always guaranteed a seat in the general education program at his/her neighborhood Chicago public high school.

Second Round
If the student is not satisfied with his/her first-round offer, did not receive a first-round offer, or did not participate in the first round, 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 accepts a first-round offer 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 2019.

Waitlists
For Choice 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. Families will have 48 business hours to accept or decline a waitlist offer.

Transfers
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.

For details on the application process, visit GoCPS!

 

A student entering a Chicago public school at the 10th, 11th, or 12th grade is considered to be a transfer student.

Each high school establishes its own guidelines and requirements for transfer students.

You will need to directly contact the school(s) in which you are interested for information on transfer opportunities.

Useful Tools and Information

Below are the test dates for the Selective Enrollment High Schools for the 2019-2020 school year:

  • October 20, 2018
  • November 17, 2018
  • December 1, 2018
  • December 15, 2018
  • January 19, 2019

Students who test on October 20th will receive their scores back before the December 14th deadline. Students who test on all other dates will receive their scores in March 2019, with their application results.

Tests will be administered at five sites: King, Lane, Lindblom, Westinghouse, and Whitney Young. (Note that tests will not be administered at all sites on all dates.)

Eligible applicants who apply using the GoCPS online application site will schedule their exam after they submit their application. Eligible applicants who applying using the paper application will have their test scheduled by the Office of Access and Enrollment and will be notified of the date, time, and location via U.S. mail.

The application process for the 2019-2020 school year opens October 1st and ends December 14th.

Students do not have to live in the city of Chicago in order to apply and participate in the selection process for the Selective Enrollment schools and programs, magnet schools and programs, and open enrollment schools.

However, students DO have to live in the city of Chicago in order to enroll in and attend these schools, as well as any other Chicago public school. Proof of residency is required by July 1st of the year that the student will enroll.

NOTE: The tiers for the 2019-2020 school year have been updated.

Selection Process for Magnet and Selective Enrollment Schools: An Overview

On August 24, 2011, the Chicago Board of Education approved the Admissions Policy for Magnet, Selective Enrollment and Other Options for Knowledge Schools and Programs. This policy is designed to ensure equal access and equity in the provision of magnet and selective enrollment schools and programs offered by the District. The following provides information regarding the impact of the policy on the selection process.

How Tiers are Created

Every Chicago address falls within a specific census tract. We look at five socio-economic characteristics for each census tract: (1) median family income, (2) percentage of single-parent households, (3) percentage of households where English is not the first language, (4) percentage of homes occupied by the homeowner, and (5) level of adult education attainment. We also look at a sixth characteristic, the achievement scores from attendance area schools for the students who live in each census tract.

Based on the results of each of these six areas, each census tract is given a specific score; these scores are ranked and divided into four groups – or 'tiers' – each consisting of approximately the same number of school-age children. This is how we establish the four tiers. Consequently, every Chicago address falls into one of the four tiers, based on the characteristics mentioned above.

How Tiers are Used for Selections

Siblings and Proximity
For magnet schools, magnet cluster schools, and open enrollment schools, the first seats are offered to applicants who are siblings of students who are currently enrolled, and who will be still enrolled, in the school in the 2018-2019 school year. (If more siblings apply than there are seats available, a computerized sibling lottery will be conducted to fill the available spaces.) Sibling preference will only be given if the application indicates that the student is applying as a sibling, and this information has been verified.

After the siblings are accommodated, the next 40% of the available seats in magnet schools are designated for students who live within the school's proximity (a 1.5 mile radius of the elementary magnet school).

After the proximity students are accommodated, the remaining seats are distributed evenly among the four tiers, and the seats are filled by computerized lottery. (Note that the distribution of seats among the four tiers applies to the entry-grade level only – for most elementary schools, the entry-grade level is kindergarten. In the three Montessori magnet schools, the entry-grade level is the PreK-3 level, and in Inter-American Magnet School, the entry-grade level is the PreK-4 level. For high schools, the entry-grade level is ninth grade.)

There is no proximity or tier consideration for non-entry grades in magnet schools, elementary magnet cluster schools, open enrollment schools, or high school magnet programs. In addition, proximity lotteries are not conducted at magnet schools that have an attendance boundary.

Selective Enrollment Schools
For the entry grade level for Selective Enrollment Elementary and High Schools and programs, the first 30% of available seats are filled strictly according to the student scores – also referred to as the "rank" score – the seats are filled by the top-scoring students. The remaining seats are equally distributed among the four tiers and are filled by the highest-scoring students in each tier. There is no sibling or proximity consideration for these schools.

How to Find Your Tier

  1. Go to cps.edu/map.
  2. Type in your address in the box at the top left of the page.
  3. A box will appear on the left side of the page that identifies your neighborhood schools. The box also shows the tier in which you live.

Additional Information

See below for a Tract-to-Tier chart, Tier map, and Summary Tier Information.

 

Applicants to the CPS Selective Enrollment schools participate in a highly competitive admissions process. In recent years, the Office of the Inspector General has investigated two types of fraud by families attempting to secure a Selective Enrollment seat: tier fraud and residency fraud.

All families submitting applications for Selective Enrollment schools or programs should be aware that these actions will not be tolerated within the Chicago Public Schools system. Students found to have engaged in fraud in order to gain entrance to a Selective Enrollment school or program will be subject to removal from the school. In addition, any students found to have engaged in tier or residency fraud will be permanently banned from attending any Selective Enrollment school or program for the life of their enrollment in the Chicago Public Schools.
The Selective Enrollment Point Calculation Tool is designed to support decision-making in the Selective Enrollment High Schools application process, and aid parents and students in identifying schools that match well with students' achievement.

The Chicago Public Schools does NOT recommend, endorse or sponsor ANY test preparation courses, study guides, or sample questions for the Selective Enrollment Schools testing process.

The admissions exams used for the Selective Enrollment Schools are designed to assess your child's academic capabilities or reasoning and thinking skills. The Office of Access and Enrollment has not seen any direct correlation between student acceptance rates in Selective Enrollment Schools and their participation in courses offered by test preparation companies.

Please note that our department receives feedback each year from parents whose children participated in a test preparation course and were not selected for any of their school choices.

Let the buyer beware.

Given the significant number of students who apply and test for the Selective Enrollment High Schools, there are many who achieve the same number of total points. To differentiate between students with the same final point score, tiebreakers are used. These include areas such as the core percentile on the entrance exam, and the individual sections of the exam. The specific order of the tiebreaker is as follows:

  1. Core Total
  2. Math
  3. Reading Comprehension
  4. Vocabulary
  5. Language Arts

Utilization of this method allows us to rank students who have the same final point score.

Eligible applicants to the CTE Programs at Hancock and Jones are selected on a point system based on NWEA MAP scores and 7th grade final GPA. Students are ranked and selected from high to low. Students residing within the attendance overlay boundary of the school are selected first. Click below to view the overlay boundary maps for Hancock and Jones:

Page Last Modified on Wednesday, December 12, 2018