Navigating the High School Admissions Process

By Shannon Andreen, Advisor for High School
7th and 8th grade can be an overwhelming time for both students and parents as they begin to think about the future and make crucial decisions regarding high school. In addition to homework, studying, sports, and other extracurricular activities, students must also determine where to spend the next four years of their lives. Here at Pilgrim, we guide students through the high school admissions process. Our goal is to help find the high school that best fits each student’s strengths and needs. As a result, 95% of Pilgrim graduates place into their number one choice of high school.

As the Advisor for High School, my role is to help examine each student’s needs, unique abilities, and preferences as they determine the right high school for them. During the 7th grade school year, I stress the importance of attendance records, report cards, and test scores. I also encourage students to start attending high school open houses. As students head into 8th grade, I remind them to continue to keep their grades up and attend more high school open houses and fairs to develop a checklist for what they want in a school.

There are several steps to the high school admissions process, and my goal is to make sure each family understands the criteria and is aware of the deadlines. Whether students are looking at CPS high schools or private high schools, I’ve outlined the main steps for each below.

Five Deadlines & Steps for Navigating the High School Admissions Process

Well, according to the NEA (National Education Association), second language learning carries with it some definite benefits:

  1. October: The CPS application process opens
  2. November/December:
    • Testing for both CPS and Catholic high schools takes place
    • Deadline for auditions, visual art portfolio submissions, and teacher recommendations if applying for performing arts high schools
  3. December: CPS and private high school applications are due
  4. February: Catholic high schools send out offers
  5. April: CPS high schools send out offers
  6. Although grades and test scores are important, I encourage students and parents not to stress out and to enjoy their final years at Pilgrim. The hard work of our students pays off! Pilgrim students regularly earn places in high schools such as Jones College Prep, Lane Tech, Walter Payton, Northside, Whitney Young, Lincoln Park, Von Stueben, DePaul College Prep, and the Chicago Academy for the Arts.

    We are proud of our graduates and excited to see where the future takes them!

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