Today begins the application period for the Options for Knowledge program, which includes the following centralized CPS programs:

  • Selective Enrollment High Schools
  • Selective Enrollment Elementary Schools
  • Magnet Schools and Programs
  • Magnet Cluster Schools
  • International Baccalaureate High Schools
  • College and Career Academies
  • Military Academies
  • Open-Enrollment Elementary Schools

Here are 10 tips to help you navigate this process:

  1. Deadlines. The application period runs from October 1 – December 11, 2015. Applications cannot be submitted after the December 11 deadline.
  2. Who Can Apply. All students, including English Learners and those with IEPs, may apply to the  centralized programs for which they are deemed eligible.
  3. How to Apply. The best way to apply is through the Online Application Portal. Visit apply.cps.edu to get started. Paper applications are also available, however we recommend the online option as it is faster, easier, provides email confirmation and reduces chances for error.
  4. Your PIN. In September, 8th grade students should have received an eligibility letter outlining the types of schools and programs to which they may apply. This letter contains a Personal Identification Number (PIN) that is required for the application process. If you have not received your PIN, please contact your school directly. PreK-7th grade students can apply for a PIN at apply.cps.edu. Only one PIN is needed per family!
  5. Consider All Your Options. Different schools and programs offer students different things. Options range from the rigorous curriculum offered by selective enrollment schools to programs focused on the arts, world language, career pathways and technology. In-depth information on every type of school is available at cpsoae.org. Before you apply, take some time to consider what school might be the best fit for you.
  6. Eligibility Requirements. Different school types have different requirements. These can include admission exams, auditions, grades, or test scores. Visit cpsoae.org to review the requirements for the schools and programs that interest you.
  7. Student Selection. How students are selected depends on the type of school or program to which they apply. At some schools, admission is based on a combination of grades and test scores, while at others, seats are filled through a computerized lottery. Visit cpsoae.org and click “Departments” to see how different types of schools select students for admission.
  8. Scheduling Admission Exams. The self-scheduling tool within the online application allows you to choose dates and times that work for you. If the school you hope to attend requires an admission exam, consider getting this done in November. Testing early will allow you to receive your results prior to the application deadline of December 11, and knowing your score will give you a better sense of where to apply.
  9. When Will I Know? Depending on the school or program to which you apply, you will receive notification in February or March of 2016.
  10. Additional Resources.   For a detailed description of every program and step-by-step instructions on how to apply, visit cpsoae.org. And if you have any questions about the process, contact the CPS Office of Access and Enrollment at (773) 553-2060 or oae@cps.edu.