Getting accepted to one of Chicago's elite public high schools — a process often likened to landing a spot at an Ivy League college — became even more cutthroat this year as nearly perfect application scores were not good enough for more students than ever before.I look forward to the day all of our public schools are this attractive to our best and brightest students. We're just not there yet!
"It's been a really brutal admissions year," said Jonina Lerner, a partner at SelectivePrep, the largest test preparation class for the city's selective-enrollment high schools. "Not only did some students not get their first or second choice, but some students who scored in the top 1 percent of the city got their third choice, and some kids who are really good didn't get in anywhere."
Chicago developed its roster of elite selective-enrollment high schools in part to keep middle-class parents from fleeing to the suburbs. Now those city children go through a grueling application process in hopes of landing seats at the schools, which are among the state's best.
Admissions scores are calculated on a 900-point scale based on a student's seventh-grade academic scores, seventh-grade standardized tests and an entrance exam.
Of the 200 students admitted to Walter Payton College Prep, 95 scored 896 or above. At Northside College Prep, more than half scored 895 or higher. That means the difference between being accepted or not came down to missing a few questions on the entrance exam and landing a couple of percentiles below the top on standardized tests.
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