Chicago School Magnet Applications

Right now my husband and I are busy trying to apply for magnet schools for our oldest son, who will be in kindergarden next year.

It’s surprisingly not that difficult a process. The CPS Access and Enrollment has a really easy to use website. If you want to apply online, all you do is hit the “Apply Online” box in the top, right corner of the screen. Request a PIN. Five days later it is sent to your house. Then you can register as a returning user. You only need the PIN once. If your child is already in a CPS school, get their student # first. You’ll need it.

Here are a few tips and useful bits of information that might be helpful for you when applying.

1. The maximum amount of magnet schools, magnet cluster schools, and/or open enrollment schools you can apply to is 20.

2. I found ratings under a few different websites, including Great SchoolsChicago Tribune Rankings and Chicago Magazine Rankings

3. The latest ruling on magnet schools states that if you have a sibling in that school you are guaranteed to get in. Of the remaining seats after siblings, 40% will be admitted based on proximity – within 1.5 miles of the school. The final seats are chosen also by lottery but broken into 4 different socio-economic groups. The tiers are complicated, based on a number of things including family education and income.

Even though the process is not that difficult, to get in is another story. Chicago Magazine wrote, “Last year, Chicago’s 39 magnet elementary schools received 13,678 applications for 2,097 slots for the 2010–11 school year.”

4. You can also apply to other school besides magnets, namely Selective Enrollment Schools. You can apply to a maximum of 6 of these schools and your child will have to test in. There is no preference for sibling or home address.

5. Last day to apply is December 16, 2011. You should hear back by April 1st, 2012.

6. The CPS website states that you do not need to apply to your neighborhood school. I’m not sure how you enroll yet but I’ll let you know when I get there.

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