Applying to CPS High Schools

Chicago Public School (CPS) Application Process: 

  • The High School Placement Test (HSPT) is a comprehensive placement test for eighth graders for placement in the ninth grade for assistance with admissions, scholarship selection, and curriculum placement. It covers verbal and quantitative skill, reading, math and language. There is ONE application for all CPS schools, and a single entrance exam for all selective enrollment high schools. 

  • CPS provides specific directions for non-CPS students.

  • You may rank up to 20 CPS choices, including 5 Selective Enrollment High Schools. 

  • If your student is interested in applying to any CPS high school, the child must first register on GoCPS and sign up to take the MAP test in the fall of 8th grade.   

  • Applicants must take the entrance exam in order to be considered for admission to a selective enrollment high school. On the application, you will indicate whether the student will NOT be able to take the test on any of these dates, and select a test site where you would like for your child to be assigned to test. (The choice of site does not affect final selection.)  

  • The results of the selection process are sent in late spring to all students who completed the application process and took the Selective Enrollment entrance exam. Applicants who have been selected for admission also receive an information packet from the schools that selected the them. 

  • Applicants have approximately two weeks to accept an offer of admission. Failure to respond to the selective enrollment high school by the deadline date results in a loss of admission to that school. 

  • CPS administers its own version of a standardized test/entrance exam and does not release the type/name of the test. The entrance exam is approximately 3 hours long. It includes reading comprehension, vocabulary, language arts (grammar) and math word problems. Calculators are not allowed (unless it is an accommodation on the student’s IEP). 

  • Students may apply to up to 6 schools. 

Changing Your Program Rankings

  • You will be asked to select and rank up to 20 non-selective enrollment programs

  • If eligible, you will be also be asked to rank up to 6 selective enrollment programs

  • Even after you submit your application, you can make changes up to the Dec. 14 deadline

 Selective Enrollment

  • Designed for academically advanced students (honors, AP courses)

  • Selective enrollment CPS schools: Lane Tech, Walter Payton, Jones College Prep, Northside College Prep, Whitney Young

  • Eighth grade students must have taken the NWEA MAP test that is administered by CPS; only students who registered for the NWEA MAP by the September registration date are able to apply using the online application portal.   

  • MAP scores pre-qualify students for admission exam. Students must score in the 24th percentile in reading and math; students with IEP must score in 48th percentile.

  • Eligible students will receive a PIN with their notification letter and can apply via the online portal at apply.cps.edu.

  • Parents will receive an email and call to notify them when scores are uploaded to the NWEA MAP portal. You can login to see if your child is eligible to take the SEHS exam.  

  • If eligible, click SCHEDULE button then the APPLY button. Sites are King Lane, Lindblom, Westinghouse and Whitney Young. Be sure the status is COMPLETE before leaving the site.

  • Remaining test dates: Dec. 1, Dec. 15, Dec. 19. Students will receive their scores in March 2019.

  • Those who haven’t already applied online can apply by paper application by Dec. 14. Contact the Office of Access and Enrollment: 773.553.2060; gocps@cps.edu.

Criteria for Selective Enrollment

  • Selection based on a 900 point scale:

  • MAP score (300 points)

  • 7th grade cumulative grades (language arts, math, science, social science) = 300 points

  • Admissions exam (300 points)

  • First 30% of seats filled by rank score

  • Remaining seats divided equally among top students in four tiers.

  • No sibling preference

  • No consideration for proximity to school

Magnet Program Selection Process  

  • Magnet Programs: Fine/performing arts, engineering and agricultural sciences

  • Senn High School: evaluated by fine/performing arts through audition and portfolio review

  • Von Steuben Scholars Program: evaluated by NWEA scores, teacher recommendation, essay

  • Disney II: arts and technology, evaluated by current enrollment, sibling enrollment, proximity to Lawndale facility, tier distribution

  • Eighth grade students must have taken the NWEA MAP test that is administered by CPS; only students who registered for the NWEA MAP by the September registration date are able to apply using the online application portal. Be sure the status is COMPLETE before leaving the site.

  • Approximately two weeks after your child takes the second NWEA exam, you can log in to your account to review if your child is eligible to apply for the Magnet High School program.  

  • This is a computerized lottery system and siblings are accepted first.

  • You can apply to up to 8 schools.

  • Those who haven’t already applied online can apply by paper application by Dec. 14. Contact the Office of Access and Enrollment: 773.553.2060; gocps@cps.edu.

International Baccalaureate Program Selection Process

The International Baccalaureate (IB), founded in Geneva, Switzerland, is a nonprofit educational foundation that works with over 3,700 schools in 147 countries to develop and offer four challenging programs to more than 1.1 million students.

CPS IB schools: Lincoln Park High School; Senn High School, Amundsen High School; Schurz High School

Eighth grade students must have taken the NWEA MAP test that is administered by CPS; only students who registered for the NWEA MAP by the September registration date are able to apply using the online application portal.   

  • Eligible students will receive a PIN with their notification letter and can apply via the online portal at apply.cps.edu.

  • Parents will receive an email and call to notify them when scores are uploaded to the NWEA MAP portal. You can login to see if your child is eligible to take the SEHS exam.  

  • If eligible, click SCHEDULE button then the APPLY button. Be sure the status is COMPLETE before leaving the site.

  • Those who haven’t already applied online can apply by paper application by Dec. 14. Contact the Office of Access and Enrollment: 773.553.2060; gocps@cps.edu.

  • Selection based on overall applicant score:

  • MAP score (450 points)

  • 7th grade cumulative grades (reading, math, science, social science) = (450 points)

  • Each IB high school selects its own minimum cutoff score for selecting students

  • Principal discretion allows principals of selective enrollment high schools to fill seats outside selection process.

  • In March, after initial acceptance letters sent

  • Students notified in May