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Chicago Public Schools Opens Applications for the 2018-19 School Year on GoCPS

10 October 2017

New Online Platform Allows Families to Apply to CPS Schools Using a Simplified Application Process to Improve Access and Equity

CPS Office of Communications

Phone: 773-553-1620
Twitter: @chipubschools
Facebook: chicagopublicschools

** A movie file that includes b-roll of the newly released GoCPS application features can be found at

**CHICAGO - Beginning today, Chicago families can apply to schools for the 2018-19 academic year using GoCPS, the district’s new online application platform to simplify the process, as well as make it more accessible, equitable and transparent.

GoCPS will reduce barriers to applying to all CPS high schools, district-managed elementary schools, and magnet pre-K programs using a single application.

“With technology advancing so quickly, it was important to make it easier for families to apply to schools using the best available software,” said CPS CEO Forrest Claypool. “Investing in a new school application platform will improve families’ experience, along with helping them make the best possible decisions for their children about their school choices.”

“We heard families loud and clear – they wanted a simpler way to apply to schools. GoCPS is a major milestone for Chicago Public Schools as we not only make the application process simpler, but also more accessible and transparent for all our students and families,” said CPS Chief Education Officer Dr. Janice K. Jackson. “With GoCPS, we took the challenges our families faced applying to high school head on and made significant improvements that will increase access to all of our programs for all of our students. By combining these improvements with centralized access to both our elementary school and pre-K applications in one site, we have made it possible for families use a single platform to apply to their children’s schools.”

The application period begins today and extends through December 22. Applications can be submitted online or through a paper process, and applications are available in both English and Spanish. Students and families who speak other languages can schedule time with an interpreter, if needed.

High School Application Process

Beginning today, for the first time, families can apply to all district and charter high schools using a single application.

The new high school application process uses a single best offer model in which students will receive an offer from the highest-ranked program/school on their application that they qualify for and that has available seats. Families can select and rank up to 20 non-selective enrollment programs, and if they are eligible, up to six selective enrollment programs.

Students will be matched with a high school based on their own ranking of each program they applied to, the number of seats available at each school, each program’s admissions requirements, and whether any priority preferences are considered (e.g., siblings attending the school, proximity to the school, etc.).

After applications are processed, students will receive a single best offer to their highest ranking non-selective enrollment school where they are matched. Students who qualify and receive an offer to a selective enrollment program will receive an additional offer if they match. If a student does not match with any programs on their application, or does not apply to any programs at all, they are guaranteed a spot in their neighborhood school’s general education program. GoCPS applicants will be able to review their initial offers through the website beginning in March 2018, and paper applicants will receive offers in the mail.

Elementary School Application Process

The elementary school application process is the same as it has been in past years, but the actual application has been moved into GoCPS to allow families to use a single application portal for all of their students regardless of their age.

GoCPS hosts elementary school applications for all district-managed elementary programs, while charter schools will maintain their own elementary application processes. Families can apply to up to 20 non-selective schools (magnet, magnet cluster and open enrollment), six academic centers (grades 7-8 only), six classical schools/regional gifted centers, three regional gifted centers for English learners, and one international gifted program (grades 6-8 only).

Students will receive offers from elementary schools based on a combination of the following factors: available seats in each school, a lottery for non-selective enrollment schools, as well as testing and rank order of programs applied to for selective enrollment schools.

Based on the selection process, they will receive offers to all the non-selective enrollment schools where they are selected; and an offer from one school in each selective enrollment school type (academic centers, classical schools/regional gifted centers, regional gifted centers for English learners, and international gifted program) where they are selected. Offers will be available for review on GoCPS and will be mailed to families who applied on paper.

Preschool Application Process

Families can apply to the four CPS magnet preschool programs – Drummond, Inter-American, Mayer and Suder – through the GoCPS application process. These programs select students through a computerized lottery process. Notification letters will be available for review on GoCPS and will be mailed to families who applied on paper.

For all other pre-K programs, the application process is managed by the City’s Chicago Early Learning website at Using this site, families can search for preschools and compare programs.

Where to Find Help
CPS’ Office of Access and Enrollment operates a call center to provide support to anyone with questions about our application processes. The call center can be reached at (773) 553-2060 from 8 a.m. to 6 p.m., Monday through Friday.

To learn more about GoCPS and applying to Chicago Public Schools, please visit

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