The moment has arrived!  You got your CPS results.  

Before you do anything else, take a deep breath. Remember, GoCPS is largely a lottery system and the results in the letter you received this week have little to nothing to do with the academic potential of your child. These letters say much more about the educational system in Chicago, where, as in much of the country, access to a quality education comes through  a “lottery.”

As a recap, here are the different types of Chicago public elementary schools:

  1. Selective enrollment (test-based)
  2. Choice Schools (lottery based)
  3. Neighborhood schools (residency based)  
  4. Charter schools (not run by CPS and enrollment based on individual charter schools)

For more about these types, see my earlier post about applying to CPS.

GoCPS sends two different letters:

  1. one letter for selective enrollment elementary schools
  2. one leter for selection into CPS” Choice schools. * (Elementary charter schools manage their own enrollment separate from the GoCPS process.)


Your Selective Enrollment letter will let you know whether your child won a seat at one of the Selective Enrollment schools.

The options for selective enrollment schools are: (1)offered, (2)waitlist, (3)not offered. Remember, selective enrollment schools have a testing criterion. The letter will say Offered or Waitlist and give you a wait list number.

In order to qualify for the school, your child has to have the following scores:

For selective enrollment schools, the decision is based solely on test scores.  

For classical schools, students needed to score about the 75% in reading and math to qualify.

For gifted schools, students needed to score above 115 to be considered.

What about tiers?  For selective enrollment schools, tiers are only considered for kindergarten or the entry grade  for individual schools.

If your child won a seat, congratulations! You have successfully gotten your child into a school that is harder to get admission than HARVARD!!! It is time to “Celebrate!”


A “Choice School” is any Chicago Public School that is NOT (1) selective enrollment/test-based (2) your specific neighborhood school or (3) a charter school.

GoCPS sends a separate letter telling you your status for Choice Schools. Again, Choice Schools includes magnet, magnet cluster or neighborhood schools where your child doesn’t live in the school’s residency zone. If you want more information on the differences between those schools please click here.  

Okay, all caught up.
How to access your acceptance letter:

Here is a sample of a choice school application letter:

  1. If the words OFFERED appears, that means your child has earned admission!  This is your time to celebrate!!! Wait…. call and/or email confirmation to the school first!!! Call the school now!  You MUST confirm your offer by May 6. If you fail to confirm, your child will lose the slot! Okay, now it’s your time to celebrate!    

2. Multiple acceptances-  It is possible to get accepted to more than one school. In the sample letter below, there are THREE acceptances to choices schools: 1)Disney, 2)Nettlehorst, and 3) Newberry.  Now you have to decide which school is best for you and your family. Call right away and try to visit your schools or attend any Open Houses for prospective new parents. Whatever you decide, make sure to confirm one by May 6.  You can only accept ONE school.

ShaRhonda tip!

  • Things to take into consideration for school selection
    • School location
    • School hours
    • Before and after school care
    • Is it a good fit for your family?
    • Commute time

3)  No acceptances.  That means your child was not chosen for any of the schools where you applied. Remember acceptance to choice schools is based solely off a lottery.  This says nothing about your child or their intelligence.  It is literally a lottery. Somehow they have gotten away with scratch-off lottery options for our children (end of ShaRhonda rant #2) Every child in Chicago is automatically accepted to their neighborhood school. Call CPS if you don’t know your neighborhood school.


About the waitlist…this is going to be a long, complicated, and nonsensical process.  I will try my hardest to guide you through this, first explaining what CPS says it means and then what it really means (based on stories, research, and those who have been through purgatory, I mean the wait list)

Options: Selective Enrollment and Choice Schools

  1. Offer
  2. Waitlist

Waitlist: Round 1. After all the people have selected their schools, the choice school that still have availability, will begin going through their waitlist. In theory, the higher the number your number on the waitlist, the more likely it is that you will be accepted to the school.

*That is NOT factual. Well, in theory, it is, but in practice, you are just as likely to get an acceptance to a school that you were 40 on the waitlist as number 2.  

ShaRhonda tip:  There are a lot of factors that go into the waitlist, so as a precaution, I would suggest you assume there’s a possibility of getting into ANY school that you are on the waitlist for, regardless of your number.

Also, remember that choice school offers can come anytime between now and the early  months of next school year! Yup, you can be enrolled at a school in September 3rd and get an offer to a school on your waitlist on September 15th!  Admission is ongoing until October! Unfortunately, there is no way to predict who will have space. Again, in theory, it is based on the waitlist.


What exactly is Round 2?  Okay, CPS now has a round 2 application process. However, the name is a little misleading.  Round 2 application is an opportunity for parents who didn’t apply to choice schools in round 1, to reapply.  However, in round 2, you can only choose from schools that have availability. Meaning, schools that have a waitlist will NOT be a part of the second round!

To clarify: if you are on a waitlist from round 1, you will still be placed at a school BEFORE someone on round 2 of the CPS application process.  The Round 2 Application Process will start on May 22nd.


You might be wondering to yourself, ” ShaRhonda, is there any way to get my child into the CPS of my choice? Can I “Aunt Becky Full House” the CPS system?”

My Answer: probably not, but maybe…

The only other option I know that you have to get into a specific school outside of this process is:

  1. Are you willing to move? If so, you can find a neighborhood school that you like, and you can move into the school community.  

Also, as a Harry Potter devotee, I’ve heard that using a mixture of, Sage, holy water, and an animal sacrifice (bezos), will also get you the “magic entry into the school! (I totally made that up!  But, if it works, please let me know!)


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