Selective Enrollment High School Admissions Process for 7th Graders

Research Your Schools

Start early. If you haven’t started already, start thinking about your child’s high school options at the beginning of 7th grade. If you wait until 8th grade, you will need to gather and digest an overwhelming amount of “school intelligence” in a short period of time.

Avoid crowds. Attend fall Open Houses and if possible conduct some preliminary visits during off-peak times so you can get more personalized attention.

Get the numbers. There are some fairly significant differences in admissions scores and college readiness levels among the Selective Enrollment schools. Review SelectivePrep’s Selective Enrollment High School Profiles to find out more.

Check out electives. The high school experience is much more than simply getting good grades in the “basics.” Some high schools emphasize math; others stress the sciences; and still others, the arts.

Uncover additional options. Since Selective Enrollment admissions are so competitive, you should also research other CPS advanced academic programs. The Selective Enrollment application process is completely separate from the application used for other Chicago public high schools. Therefore, you will need to apply to these other schools separately. Note: IB programs no longer have admissions tests. This has increased the importance of 7th grade MAP performance in the admissions process. Among the public schools you may want to consider are:

Seventh Grade Is Key

Strong 7th grade performance is vital to your child’s success in the Selective Enrollment High School application process. Admission is based on a total possible score of 900 points, and 600 of those points (two thirds) are based on your child’s performance in the 7th grade.

7th Grade Standardized Test Scores (300 points or one third of the score). In May 2016 of the 7th grade, if your child is a CPS student then he or she will given the MAP test This test will be given during regular school hours to every student. It measures competency in all math areas and reading comprehension.

In 2017, CPS will use the scores from the MAP test given in mid May for the Selective Enrollment admissions formula. If your child is in private school, he or she will need to take the MAP test as well since it is unlikely that CPS will accept the Aspire or other tests — having just rejected the Terra Nova. 

Recommended Actions:

Review sample material. Since the 7th Grade Standardized Test is an important component of the admission score, we recommend that your child become comfortable with the test format and procedures. To get additional information about the MAP test and sample questions, the NWEA website.

Prepare for the test. SelectivePrep’s 7th Grade Program starts in early March. Superior performance on the 7th Grade Standardized Test is a must. The SelectivePrep program will help your child master its advanced math and reading content. To register for a class, click here.

7th Grade Final Grades (300 points or one third of the score). Your child’s final 7th grade for the following four subjects will be used in the admissions process:

  • Reading
  • Mathematics
  • Science
  • Social Studies

How it works. For each subject:

  • A is worth 75 points
  • B is worth 50
  • C is worth 25
  • D is worth 0

Getting straight A’s or a perfect score in these four subjects is worth 300 points. Getting straight B’s drops the total potential admissions score by a full 100 points and getting straight C’s lowers the total potential score by 200 points.

In other words, getting straight B’s reduces your child’s highest possible score to 800, well below the average score at such schools as Northside, Walter Payton, Jones, and Whitney Young. And getting straight C’s reduces your child’s highest possible score to 700, well below the average at all the Selective Enrollment High Schools.

If your child does not get great 7th grade grades, it is unlikely that he/she will be admitted to a competitive Selective Enrollment High School.

Recommended Action. Focus your child’s attention on getting the best possible grades in these core subjects. If your child is between an A or a B, find out what he/she must do to get an A.

Calculate Your Child’s Admissions Score

Once you have all or even most of your child’s 7th grade data (e.g., test scores, grades, days absent, etc.) click here to plug them into SelectivePrep’s Know the Score calculator to help understand your child’s Selective Enrollment High School admissions possibilities.