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The application process in Chicago varies among school type. Learn more about enrollment. 

Elementary High School 

Other Options & Resources

Elementary Students


 

1-type.pngTraditional Neighborhood

Every child in CPS is zoned to a school in their local neighborhood and that is governed by CPS. If you are planning to send your child to your zoned school then you can register with the school. 

If you want your child to attend another neighborhood school outside of your community, then you will have to complete an application for that school. If there are open seats available students living outside of the zoned boundary will be selected by random lottery.

 

Note: If you are unsure of which school your child is zoned to, check here by inputting your address.

 

 

 


 

2-type.pngCharter

These schools manage their own application processes independent of CPS. Students are selected via random lottery if there are more applicants than seats available. If there are less applicants than seats available all applicants will be offered a seat in the school.

Each charter school organization has a separate application and you will have to contact the school directly to apply. Some schools will have both online and paper application, while others may only offer one method of application. Most charter school organizations offer preference to applicants who are siblings of current students. 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 


 

MAG-ELEM.png

Magnet 

To attend these schools, you must submit an application. Admission is not guaranteed and students are selected by a lottery. Applicants who are siblings of current students will receive priority and some magnet schools have a geographic preference or attendance boundary.

Note: Magnet cluster schools, are more like a traditional neighborhood school when it comes to enrollment. Students are zoned to the school, just like a traditional neighborhood school. Any student who lives outside of the zoned attendance boundary may submit an application. 

When applying to a magnet school at the elementary level, it is important to determine if it is a magnet school/program or a magnet cluster school, because there are different processes for each type of magnet.

 

 


 

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Contract

Similar to charter schools, each contract school has an individual application that must be filled out by the family. Anyone can apply. If there are more applications than seats in a school, spots are assigned through a random lottery. Most contract schools offer preference to applicants who are siblings of current students. 

 

 

 

 

 

 


 

5-type.pngSelective Enrollment

Students must take an entrance exam and fill out an application  to be eligible for a selective enrollment elementary school. The first 30% of open seats are filled according to scores from the exam. The rest of the seats are equally distributed across 4 tiers according to the tier system, where the highest scoring students from each tier are selected. In that way, students who are not part of the initial 30% are only competing for seats against students from their own tier. 

A note about Classical School options.

Classical schools are a type of selective enrollment school. Like other selective enrollment options, classical schools require an entrance exam. However, the classical school entrance exam is different than the exam for other selective enrollment options. To apply for a classical school, parents will have to fill out the Selective Enrollment Elementary Schools (SEES) application and the student will have to take an entrance exam. All children applying for grades K-4 will be tested.   Students applying for grades 5-8 will have to qualify for testing based on their NWEA MAP scores in reading and math. You will have to schedule a time for your child to take the exam.

 

High School Students

SPECIAL NOTE: On April 26, 2017 the Chicago Public Schools (CPS) Board of Education voted to move towards a single application system called GoCPS. The new system will launch in fall 2017 for eighth graders applying for their freshman year in SY 2018-19, and may affect the process for traditional, charter, magnet, contract, and other school types along with programs like IB and CTE . We look forward to updating you as we learn more.

To learn more about the single application please visit: SINGLE APPLICATION


 

1-type.png

Traditional Neighborhood

Every child in CPS is zoned to a school in their local neighborhood and that is governed by CPS. If you are planning to send your child to your zoned school then you can register with the school.

If you want your child to attend another neighborhood school outside of your community, then you will have to complete an application for that school. If there are open seats available students living outside of the zoned boundary will be selected by random lottery.

 

Note: If you are unsure of which school your child is zoned to, check here by inputting your address.

 

 

 

 


 

2-type.png

Charter

These schools manage their own application processes independent of CPS. Students are selected via random lottery if there are more applicants than seats available. If there are less applicants than seats available all applicants will be offered a seat in the school.

Each charter school organization has a separate application and you will have to contact the school directly to apply. Some schools will have both online and paper application, while others may only offer one method of application. Most charter school organizations offer preference to applicants who are siblings of current students. 

 

 

 

 

 

 


 

MAG-HS.pngMagnet

To attend these schools, you must submit an application. At the high school level, magnet schools are selective or partially selective. 

Some include programs that require additional testing (an entrance exam) as part of their enrollment process. Others require students to have prior academic achievement.

Check the school directly to clarify enrollment requirements for magnet high schools.

 

 

 

 

 


 

4-type.pngContract

Similar to charter schools, each contract school has an individual application that must be filled out by the family. Anyone can apply. If there are more applications than seats in a school, spots are assigned through a random lottery. Most contract schools offer preference to applicants who are siblings of current students. 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 


 

5-type.png

Selective Enrollment

Students applying for the 9th grade will have to take the Selective Enrollment High Schools (SEHS) admissions exam. Students must qualify to take the exam based on their NWEA scores in both reading and math. You will know if your student is eligible when they receive their eligibility letter September of their 8th grade year.

You will first schedule the SEHS exam and then you will begin the application and select up to six (6) schools to apply to, ranked in order of preference. Students are selected based on their point score on the SEHS exam and in accordance with the tier system.

 

To help you identify a selective enrollment high school that match's your child's academic achievement CPS offers a Selective Enrollment Point Calculator.

 

 

A Note about Career Academies

Enrollment to College and Career academies varies according to type. For all lottery academies and most selective academies, there are no minimum requirements, except for the selective academies at Hancock and Jones College Prep. For those two schools, students must qualify for entry based on their NWEA scores. There is no admissions test and you can apply to up to five (5) academies.

 

Other Options and Resources


Special Note Regarding Enrollment

While the enrollment information presented is true in most cases, some schools have exceptions within the process. For example, there may be multiple programs housed within one building; a traditional neighborhood school and a selective enrollment program at one elementary school. In this case, a special test or application may be required for the selective enrollment program. 

It can often be helpful to contact the school directly to learn about any special enrollment needs they might have. 


CPS Application Timeline and Process

While CPS has not released the official dates for application season yet, it usually lasts from the beginning of October through the first week of December. Elementary counselors can help you complete your application via proxy, if you need assistance.

You can apply online to magnet, magnet cluster, and selective enrollment elementary schools and to magnet, selective enrollment, IB, Military, and Career/Technical Academies for high school. While an online application is preferred by CPS for these school types, paper applications are available on the CPS enrollment website. 

Important note about Applying Online

  • Elementary: To apply online you’ll first need to create an account and a request a PIN. After receiving your PIN you can enter the application website and begin applying to schools.
  • High School: If your child is applying to 9th grade they will receive a PIN with their CPS Eligibility letter. But if your child is applying for any other grade level, you will have to request a PIN.  After receiving your PIN you can enter the application website and begin applying to schools.

PINs are only good for one application season, so you will have to request a new PIN when applying in subsequent years.


Military Academies (High School)

Military academies also called Service Leadership Academies, do not require any special testing though students must pre-qualify and attend a mandatory information session. Some academies have supplemental application materials, but it depends on the institution. More information can be found here.


Options Schools

Options Schools are designed for students who have been out of school for a while, and may need additional supports to re-enter the school environment and obtain a high school diploma. Students may require alternative schedules to accommodate work or other needs, may require child care, or may need help earning additional credit. To enroll in an options school CPS will help you navigate to a choice that meets your needs and support you through the application process. More information.

 


 

Small

Small schools have attendance boundaries. Priority is given to students who live within a school’s zoned boundaries. Applicants outside of the boundary can apply if space is available, but some schools have different admissions requirements. There is no centralized application for these schools, so you will have to contact the school directly for an application.

 

 

 

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