CPS : Applying to Selective Enrollment Schools Begins October 1, 2015

cps-small-newI am often asked “how do I get my child in a selective enrollment school”? Here I have pall the information in one place directly from the CPS site.

*Note to complete the application you will need to apply for an electronic pin. Just a heads up I tried the link provided by CPS  to apply for the pin and it doesn’t seem to be functioning yet. I’ll try again next week in hopes that CPS has corrected the issue because the PIN does need to mailed your address.

Follow these directions for applying:

Applying to Selective Enrollment Elementary Schools is easy! Just follow the directions below, and contact the Office of Access and Enrollment at 773-553-2060 or oae@cps.edu if you have any questions.

But first, please note the following:

  • The application period begins October 1, 2015, and ends December 11, 2015.
  • You have a choice of applying through the online application portal, or by using a paper application. (We recommend the online portal – it’s easier, faster, reduces chances for error, and provides email confirmation.)
  •     Admissions testing is required for the Selective Enrollment Elementary Schools (Regional Gifted Centers, Classical Schools, Academic Centers, International Gifted Program). All age-appropriate students applying to grades K-4 will be tested. Students applying to grades 5-8 must pre-qualify to take the exam, based on their NWEA scores.
  •    Your child’s application notification letter will be mailed to your home no later than March 25, 2016, to notify you whether or not your child received an offer from any of the schools to which you applied.

Next, see the step-by-step instructions below, categorized according to CPS, Charter, Contract Students, and Non-CPS Students, and whether you are applying to grades K-4 or 5-8, for both the online process and the paper process. Throughout the instructions, you will also find application tips – just click the links!

ONLINE PROCESS:

APPLYING TO GRADES K-4

CPS, Charter, Contract Students AND Non-CPS Students

  1. Starting October 1st, go to the online portal, apply.cps.edu, and click “Step 1.” This will allow you to open your account, create your password, and request your Personal Identification Number (PIN), which will be mailed to your home.
  2. After you receive your PIN, and access the online portal, click the SCHEDULE button for Selective Enrollment Elementary Schools and schedule the date, time, and location for your child’s exam(s). (If your child is applying to kindergarten, click here for additional information.) If you need to reschedule your child’s test, you can reschedule it using the online portal.
  3. After you schedule the exam(s), click the APPLY button to select the schools to which your child is applying. You will rank the schools in order of your preference. You can apply to up to six Regional Gifted Centers/Classical Schools and up to three Regional Gifted Centers for English Learners.
  4. After you successfully schedule your child’s exam and submit your application, the online portal will show the word “Completed” under the status for both scheduling and applying. You will also receive an email confirmation for both actions. If the online portal shows “Not Completed” for either status, you have not successfully completed the action.

APPLYING TO GRADES 5-8

CPS, Charter, and Contract Students:

  1. Starting October 1st, go to the online portal, apply.cps.edu, and click “Step 1.” This will allow you to open your account, create your password, and request your Personal Identification Number (PIN), which will be mailed to your home.
  2. After you receive your PIN, you can access the online portal. If your child is eligible to take any Selective Enrollment admissions exam, based on his/her NWEA scores, click the SCHEDULE button for the Selective Enrollment Elementary Schools and schedule the date, time, and location for your child’s exam(s). If you need to reschedule your child’s test, you can reschedule it using the online portal.
  3. After your schedule the exam(s), click the APPLY button to select the schools to which your child is applying. You will rank the schools in order of your preference. You can apply to up to six Regional Gifted Centers/Classical Schools, up to three Regional Gifted Centers for English Learners, up to six Academic Centers (grades 7-8 only), and one International Gifted Program (grades 6-8 only).
  4. After you successfully schedule your child’s exam and submit your application, the online portal will show the word “Completed” under the status for both scheduling and applying. You will also receive an email confirmation for both actions. If the online portal shows “Not Completed” for either status, you have not successfully completed the action.

Non-CPS Students: 

  1. Students applying to grades 5-8 must take the NWEA that is administered by the Chicago Public Schools. If you have not yet registered to take the NWEA, click here.
  2. Only students who register for the NWEA by September 10th will be able to apply using the online application portal. (If you register for the NWEA AFTER September 10th, you will have to submit paper applications by the December 11th deadline. See below for the paper instruction process.)
  3. Students who register for the NWEA by September 10th will receive a PIN Letter along with their test notification letter. When you receive your PIN, go to the online portal, apply.cps.edu, and click “Step 1.” This will allow you to enter your PIN, open your account, and create your password. Two weeks after your child takes the second NWEA exam, you can login to the online portal to see if your child is eligible to take the SEES exam(s).
  4. If your child is eligible to take any of the SEES exams, click the SCHEDULE button for Selective Enrollment Elementary Schools and schedule the date, time, and location for your child’s Selective Enrollment exam(s). If you need to reschedule your child’s test, you can reschedule it using the online portal.
  5. After you schedule the exam(s), click the APPLY button to select the schools to which your child is applying. You will rank the schools in order of your preference. You can apply to up to six Regional Gifted Centers/Classical Schools, up to three Regional Gifted Centers for English Learners, up to six Academic Centers (grades 7-8 only), and one International Gifted Program (grades 6-8 only).
  6. After you successfully schedule your child’s exam and submit your application, the online portal will show the word “Completed” under the status for both scheduling and applying. You will also receive an email confirmation for both actions. If the online portal shows “Not Completed” for either status, you have not successfully completed the action.

PAPER PROCESS:

APPLYING TO GRADES K-4

CPS, Charter, Contract Students AND Non-CPS Students

  1. Go to www.cpsoae.orgstarting October 1st and click ‘Apply’ and ‘Application Materials’ to download and print the Selective Enrollment Elementary Schools application.
  2. Complete the application and rank the schools in order of your preference. You can apply to up to six Regional Gifted Centers/Classical Schools and up to three Regional Gifted Centers for English Learners. Be sure to sign the application.
  3. Submit the application to the Office of Access and Enrollment. Paper applications can be mailed or hand-delivered only.
  4. After your application is processed, the Office of Access and Enrollment will schedule your child’s SEES exam(s) and mail a letter(s) to your home notifying you of the date(s), time(s), and location(s) of the test(s).

Non-CPS Students: 

  1. Students applying to grades 5-8 must take the NWEA that is administered by the Chicago Public Schools. If you have not yet registered to take the NWEA, click here.
  2. If you register for the NWEA AFTER September 10th, you will have to submit paper applications by the December 11th deadline.
  3. Go to www.cpsoae.org starting October 1st and click ‘Apply’ and ‘Application Materials’ to download and print the Selective Enrollment Elementary Schools application.
  4. Complete the application and rank the schools in order of your preference. You can apply to up to six Regional Gifted Centers/Classical Schools, up to three Regional Gifted Centers for English Learners, up to six Academic Centers (grades 7-8 only), and one International Gifted Program (grades 6-8 only). Be sure to sign the application.
  5. Submit the application to the Office of Access and Enrollment. Paper applications can be mailed or hand-delivered only.
  6. After your child takes the second NWEA exam, the Office of Access and Enrollment will contact you on January 22, 2016, via email and robo call, to inform you whether or not your child is eligible to take the SEES admissions exam. If your child is eligible to take the SEES exam, the robo call/email will also notify you of the date, time, and location of your child’s admissions exam. (Your child’s NWEA scores will be mailed to you on January 29, 2016.)

Source: CPS Office of Access and Enrollment

Janelle Robinson is from Chicago a proud wife and mother of 2 (teen and preschooler). She is health educator and writer with a focus on providing families with resources and tips throughout all stages of parenthood.

2 Comments

  1. Reply

    It doesn’t seem to be easy at first, does it? The good thing is that there are options. And the best part is that if you don’t get your first choice one year, you can try again the next.

    • Reply

      CPS definitely doesn’t make the process easy. I went through it many years ago with my daughter and we were blessed to get accepted to selection of schools that we were interested in. People ask me all the time how to apply, so I am hoping this post helps. I really want to spread the word that the process isn’t as intimidating as it seems and starting early helps. As you mentioned if you don’t get in on the first try, there is always the next year. Then there is the wait list, even after we picked our school, we received calls from schools we were waitlisted to because seats opened up, so you never know!

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