Chicago Board of Education Approves ‘GoCPS’ Common Application for High School 

Transformation of Application System Will Simplify Process and Create More Equity and Transparency for Families

Wednesday, April 26, 2017                                                   

For more information, contact:
CPS Office of Communications
Phone: 773-553-1620

CHICAGO – The Chicago Board of Education voted today to move toward GoCPS – a single streamlined application process for eighth grade students to evaluate available high school options and to be matched to the best possible school that fits their needs. 

 When launched, GoCPS will empower families with a one-stop hub for information on available options, as well as housing the application system to Chicago schools. With nearly 31,000 offers to high school students going unused, this process will also improve equity for disadvantaged students who face barriers in navigating the current process. 

“GoCPS will simplify the high school enrollment process and create a more equitable system to ensure that students have access to their best possible option for high school,” said Dr. Janice K. Jackson, Chief Education Officer. “Parents, counselors and community members have made it clear that this process needs to be simpler and more equitable, and we are taking action to provide the streamlined application system our families deserve.”

GoCPS will apply to all schools with admissions criteria, including District-operated schools and specialized schools like military and magnet schools, as well as participating charter schools. All students will always have the option to attend their neighborhood school, and selective enrollment options will exist in their own track, utilizing the current criteria and methodology for admission.

CPS is moving to a simplified application process because the current system is overly complex, with great variety in deadlines and requirements among schools and programs. Under the current system, some students receive multiple offers while others receive none, which leaves students, families and schools unable to properly plan and prepare for the upcoming school year.

As a result of this system, deserving students miss out on quality opportunities because offers were held open for too long, and many families are not able to identify the best possible option for their students because of the lack of visibility into options and application processes. CPS aims to address these problems in a significant way by moving to a system that uses a single application and a matching system to ensure every child receives an offer. 

Overview of Improvements:

To provide families with a system that is easier to manage and promotes greater equity, CPS will transition from a system of multiple offers to a Single Best Offer (SBO) System that maximizes the number of students who receive an offer to their best possible match, increasing efficiency and providing schools and families with more time to prepare for the upcoming school year. This evidenced-based SBO approach has seen great results in other large urban districts, like the New York City Department of Education:

  • Before the reforms in NYC, 37 percent of students did not get an offer to any of the choices on their application.
  • After implementing a SBO system, 11 percent of students did not get an offer to any of the choices on their application. Nothing changed that year about school capacity – the changes in operations removed numerous surplus offers from the system, creating greater opportunity for students.

GoCPS will simplify the high school application process and make it more accessible, equitable, and transparent to the benefit of students, families and schools. Benefits include:

  • Families will be able to access school and program information in one comprehensive place to research school and program options and make informed decisions when ranking choices.
  • Students will receive a single best offer to the highest ranked choice with an available seat that they are eligible to attend.
  • Schools will be able to more effectively plan for the first day because they will know sooner which students have accepted an offer to enroll.


In order to implement GoCPS, The Board of Education has adopted the following changes today: 

  • Added requirements for students applying for 9th grade seats outside of their attendance area to utilize the GoCPS platform to apply for district managed and participating charter high schools and program
  • Established specified time frames to facilitate 9th grade student transfers and reduce the current churn of transfers.

CPS has worked with countless stakeholders to determine the best possible improvements for the high school application process. Schools and parents have overwhelmingly expressed that the system is too complicated and education experts from across the country have shared their insights and best practices while implementing a similar system. 

GoCPS will launch in fall 2017 for eighth graders applying for their freshman year in SY 2018-19. In coming weeks, CPS will share a new web site that will provide a portal into the universe of CPS high schools and programs. Next month, families can subscribe for updates, instructions, announcements and advance notifications before the enrollment period begins.  

Chicago Public Schools serves 381,000 students in 652 schools. It is the nation’s third-largest school district.  

Page Last Modified on Thursday, April 27, 2017