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High School Selection

High School Selection

High school applicants who have completed the application during the initial application window will receive their results in early spring. The application system uses a combination of factors to attempt to give the student an offer from the highest-ranked Choice Program and/or Selective Enrollment Program on their application for which they qualify and for which there are available seats. Applicants who miss the initial window, will be able to complete the application and add themselves to the waitlist of programs that have space remaining.

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 Factors

During the selection process, the application system will try to match the student with their top-ranked Choice Program and their top-ranked Selective Enrollment Program. If all the available seats at the student’s top-ranked program are filled by students that ranked higher based on the school’s admissions process or priority preferences, the system will try to match the student with their next highest choice.

This process continues until the student receives an offer or the student is considered for all of the programs on their application and does not qualify for any.

Guide to Tie Breakers

Students are considered for available ninth-grade seats based on a combination of the following factors:

Choice Programs & Selective Enrollment Selection Process

Students are considered for high school programs based on a combination of factors that include:

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Results from any required admissions screenings or supplementary requirements (e.g., testing, auditions, essays, etc.)

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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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The order that they ranked each program on their application

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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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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.

*Please remember that students are not guaranteed an offer from any programs to which they apply outside of the general education program at their neighborhood school.

Students could also:

  • Receive a single best offer to a Choice Program.
  • Receive a single best offer to a Selective Enrollment Program.
  • Students who attend a continuing school are guaranteed a seat in the continuing 9th-grade program.
  • Be placed on a waitlist to any programs for which they qualified, ranked higher than the program for which they received an offer, but where there were not enough available seats.

Accepting and 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 reoffered once they expire as they will go to the student that is next on the waitlist.

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Waitlist Process

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, they will remain waitlisted for any programs ranked higher than the program from which the offer was received. At the same time, the student will be withdrawn from the waitlists for any programs ranked lower than the program from which the offer was received.

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Have Questions on Waitlist Process?

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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.
    • High Schools will make waitlist offers as they determine they have space available.
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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.
    • High Schools will make waitlist offers as they determine they have space available.
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HS Admissions Screenings

Programs that require a screening will be available to students to add themselves to a waitlist until the school is ready to make an offer. Please note, that students will be sorted nightly by their total points. Students will have to screen/audition unless they did so during the fall. If a student has screening scores from the initial application window, they will not be permitted to screen again, we will re-use their score.

Students who did Not Submit a Fall Application

Students who did not participate in the fall application window must first fill out a registration form before being able to access programs that they can then receive offers for or join the waitlist. Please see the step-by-step guide below to see how this process works.

Spring Registration Guide Coming soon.

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 for roughly 4 weeks after both high school and elementary school results are released. Please request an appeals application in your student’s GoCPS online portal.

Appeals for the 22-23 school year are now closed. Guide to Appeals coming soon.

Principal Discretion

Principal Discretion is the process that allows Selective Enrollment High School principals to fill a designated number of seats, outside of the regular selection process, based on information provided through Application Packages submitted by students.

Application Period

The Principal Discretion application period for the 2023-2024 school year opens in the spring after initial offers are released. Students can only apply through Principal Discretion to a school they had previously applied to.

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Application Period

The Principal Discretion application period for the 2023-2024 school year opens in the spring after initial offers are released. Students can only apply through Principal Discretion to a school they had previously applied to.

Principal Discretion Handbook Cover

Principal Discretion Handbook

The Principal Discretion Handbook is added below for your review prior to the opening of the window. The handbook provides step-by-step instructions for submitting a Principal Discretion Application Package and contains the guidelines and requirements for the process.

**Please note that the handbook below is from the previous year and is here as a guide. All dates/processes are subject to be updated prior to the 23-24 Principal Discretion window opening.

Application Packages are submitted online in the GoCPS portal, and detailed instructions will be provided to help you with the submission process. If you are unable to submit your package online or have any questions, please contact the Office of Access and Enrollment at 773-553-2060, weekdays between 8 am and 5 pm, or email gocps@cps.edu.

THE PRINCIPAL DISCRETION HANDBOOK

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Go to High School Resources

Resources

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Contact Info Office of Access & Enrollment

773-553-2060
gocps@cps.edu


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Chicago, IL 60602

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