The Chicago Selective Enrollment Process for Private School Kids

The Chicago Selective Enrollment Process for Private School Kids

Many parents of children at private elementary schools consider Selective Enrollment High Schools as an option for their children. These Selective Enrollment High Schools are the top nine public high schools in the city of Chicago, and include schools like: Walter Payton College Prep; North Side College Prep; Whitney Young; Jones College Prep; and Lane Tech. The competition is fierce and admittance to these schools requires near perfect scores.

So what do I need to know?

3 components make up the 900 point score that determines admittance:

  • 7th grade standardized test
  • 7th grade grades
  • 8th grade selective enrollment exam


Each of the three components listed above is scored according to the CPS scoring rubric.

Which test do students take in the 7th grade?

Acceptable 7th grade standardized tests for CPS can change year to year. For 2011-2012, the list of acceptable tests included the following: California Achievement Tests (CAT) – 6th Edition; Terra Nova; Stanford Achievement Test 10; Iowa Tests of Basic Skills (ITBS); Kaufman Test of Educational Achievement 2; Woodcock Johnson Test; or Wechsler Individual Achievement Test 2. If your school is offering one of these tests, encourage your child to do their best!

For 2012-2013, CPS will determine and release the list of acceptable standardized tests in October of 2012. CPS also offers a limited opportunity in October for eighth-graders to obtain a comparable test score at their local elementary school. Contact your neighborhood CPS school in the fall of 2012 to arrange for testing. Going to your local school will be the most affordable way to take a qualifying 7th grade test.

However, if your private school does not offer a qualifying test, we recommend the following:

Stanford 10 test

  • Overview: Computer-based test
  • Contact: Charnell Thomas: (312. 261-3359 or
  • Where: National Lewis University
  • When: Summer
  • Cost $75

Kaufman Test of Educational Achievement

  • Overview: A low stress, no time limit exam that will test math and reading comprehension. A good test to point out gaps in your child’s academic knowledge.
  • Contact: Cheryl Lind (office: 847.901.0173; cell: 847.970.8074 or
  • Where: Center for Gifted in Evanston
  • Cheryl Lind, School Psychologist recognized by Gifted Office at CPS
  • When: Available by appointment
  • Cost: $250

Important to know: Students can take more than one type of exam and submit their highest score. So you may want your child to take a couple tests to try and get into the 99%!

Which test do students take in the 8th grade?

In the 8th grade, all students take the same exam – the Selective Enrollment Exam. Official applications for the Selective Enrollment Exam are submitted in the fall. Last year, the deadline was December 16th. The application can be downloaded here. There will be four or five different dates when students can take the exam. (Hint: if you want more time to prep for the exam – sign up near the deadline and they will have to give you a test date in January). Note: Your current school will have to provide your 7th grade grades – so they will know your intentions.

If you are curious to see the score your child needs to receive on the 8th grade selective enrollment exam, you can use the online calculator.

Finally, if you have any questions, you can call:

CPS Office of Access and Enrollment: 773.553.2060

Educational Endeavors has been assisting students prepare for the CPS Selective Enrollment exam for years. The test evaluates math, reading comprehension, grammar, vocabulary, and spelling skills. While we do not know the exact questions, EE has a vast amount of experience in teaching test strategies, and in the key subject areas students will be responsible to know. We have gleaned valuable knowledge from helping students prepare for the exam, and by collecting important information during exit interviews. Our results have been outstanding, and we have helped many students get into the top Selective Enrollment Schools.

To sign up for a workshop, check out our Ideal Student Workshops today!