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Elementary Selection

Elementary School Selection

During the selection process, a computerized lottery will randomly fill the available seats at all Choice elementary schools, and the application system will try to place the student in the highest-ranked Selective Enrollment elementary school on their application for which they qualify and that has available seats.

This process is called Selections and this page will help you understand the processes and methodologies that determine how offers are issued and how you can manage them.

Selection Process

Students are considered for available elementary school seats based on a combination of the following factors:

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The order that they ranked each program on their application (selective enrollment only)

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The number of seats available in each program

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Each program’s selection process (lottery or point system)

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Whether any priority preferences are considered (e.g. siblings attending the school, proximity to the school, etc.)

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Results from any required admissions screenings or supplementary requirements (e.g. testing)

Selection Results

Students who apply in the fall application window will receive their Selection Results in early spring.*

Every student is guaranteed a seat in the general education program of their neighborhood school.

Students could also:

Choice Programs

  • Receive up to 20 Choice Program offers.
  • Be placed on the waitlist for any programs for which they did not receive an offer due to not having enough available seats.

Selective Enrollment Programs

  • Receive a single best offer to an Academic Center (7 & 8 grade only)
  • Receive a single best offer to a Classical or Regional Gifted Center
  • Receive a single best offer to a Regional Gifted Center for ELs
  • Be placed on a waitlist for any programs listed on their application for which they qualified, but where there were not enough available seats.

**Note: Only applicants who do NOT receive a Selective Enrollment offer will be automatically placed on a Selective Enrollment waitlist.


Have questions about your Results?

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Accepting & Declining Offers

Families will have three weeks from the date of their offer(s) to log into the GoCPS Online portal and accept or decline them. Remember that an applicant can only accept one offer at any given time and accepting an offer will decline all other offers.

Accepting or declining an offer does not affect your waitlist status for any program.

If an offer is not accepted by the Accept/Decline deadline, it will expire.

If you are not able to log in and accept/decline your offer make sure to call the GoCPS Hotline and have the offer accepted/declined over the phone. Offers will not be re-offered once they expire as they will go to the student that is next on the waitlist.


Have questions about Accepting & Declining Offers?

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Waitlist Process

Approximately three weeks after the initial round of selections has been released, the rolling waitlist process will open. During this process, applicants will be able to access their existing applications and add themselves to the waitlist of programs with existing waitlists. Selective Enrollment applicants who meet eligibility criteria but who did not receive any Selective Enrollment offers will be automatically added to the waitlists of programs to which they applied. Applicants who received a Selective Enrollment offer in the initial round of selections will NOT be automatically added to any Selective Enrollment waitlists. If an applicant's Selective Enrollment offer expires or is declined, then families will need to manually add their student to the waitlist of programs in which they are interested.

If a seat becomes available at a school where a student is waitlisted, the family will receive a notification through phone or email from the Office of Access and Enrollment. Make sure this information is up to date in the applicant’s GoCPS portal. Families will have two business days to accept or decline a waitlist offer. Waitlist offers are available at 8 am and will expire at 8 am two business days later.

Students will remain on waitlists and can accept a waitlist offer any time it is received. If a student accepts a waitlist offer for a Choice program, their waitlist status for all other Choice and Selective Enrollment waitlists will not be affected. If a student accepts a waitlist offer for a Selective Enrollment program, they will be automatically withdrawn from all other Selective Enrollment waitlists. Accepting a Selective Enrollment offer will not affect the student’s status on Choice waitlists.

Guide to the Waitlist Process      Spanish Version


Have questions about the Waitlist process?

view faq

Adding New Programs to Application

If an applicant is not satisfied with the Selection results or did not receive an initial offer, they can still select additional programs to apply to once the waitlist process opens.

Families will be able to log into their GoCPS accounts and see participating programs for which they are eligible. These programs will be sorted by proximity to their home. If a program has many available seats with no waitlisted students and the applicant meets the criteria/there is no criteria, the applicant will be able to receive an immediate offer. If the program only has a few seats and/or selects students based on descending points, the applicant will be able to join the waitlist.

  • Waitlists that are sorted in descending score order will be re-sorted nightly as new students join the waitlists.
  • Elementary Schools will make waitlist offers as they determine they have space available.

Appeals Process

The CPS appeals process is designed to provide a remedy in cases where a process within the application system was not implemented according to CPS policy, or where a decision-maker failed to follow CPS policy.

The Appeals Process will be available after results are released for high school and elementary school results are released. Please request an appeals application in your student’s GoCPS online portal.

The appeals window for the 2024-25 application year will open on March 4, 2024 and will close on May 17th, 2024.

All appeals must be submitted within this window.

Guide to Submitting an Appeal

Go to Elementary School Resources



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Contact Info Office of Access & Enrollment


Chicago Public Schools
42 W. Madison St, 3rd Floor
Chicago, IL 60602

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