New this Year: Changes to the CPS High School Application Process

New this Year: Changes to the CPS High School Application Process

The new school year is upon us, and for 8th grade students and their parents, it also marks the beginning of the all-important high school selection and admissions period. While most schools will not begin accepting applications until later this fall, there are some important changes to the CPS process that you should be aware of.

Beginning Monday, August 26th, the CPS Office of Access and Enrollment is fielding application PIN requests from non-CPS students. To receive a PIN, families are required to submit both 7th grade final grades and CPS-accepted 7th grade standardized test scores. Current CPS students will automatically receive eligibility letters from their school counselors which identify the schools and programs that students are eligible for based on their 7th grade ISAT scores and grades.

So what does this mean? First, and foremost, it means that students and their parents will have the ability, for the first time ever, to take control of scheduling their Selective Enrollment exam, International Baccalaureate information sessions, and Magnet program auditions. In the past, students first requested a PIN, then submitted their academic information online and waited for the OAE to schedule these events for them. This year, via the OAE online application website (, parents who have submitted their student’s academic information and received an eligibility letter will be able to schedule and reschedule their own appointments.

Besides the convenience of self-scheduling, CPS is offering the added benefit of early testing and early results. This year Selective Enrollment testing will begin in October. Students who schedule and complete testing in October or November are guaranteed to receive their scores within three weeks of the testing date. These students will then have the benefit of knowing their full Selective Enrollment Score before the application deadline. For those who would like more test prep time, or are unconcerned about early results, you may choose later test dates in December and January as in past years.