Admission & Audition Process: Freshman 2017

Freshman 2017: The 2017-18 Application is closed.

If you are an instrumental musician and would like to be considered for admission, please contact the Admissions Office as soon as possible.

Please see the Steps for Admission below.  

Our application will now be available through CPS. Please visit for more information and a link to the application.

Academic Requirements

ChiArts is a college-preparatory school, so both academic and artistic programs are rigorous. Students may apply and audition if they meet each of the following criteria:

1. Attendance: No more than 10 unexcused absences in the 7th grade year.

2. A minimum percentile score of 24 in both math and reading on the 7th grade NWEA. Other nationally norm-referenced tests (ex. ISAT, ITBS, TERRA NOVA, etc.) will also be considered.

Students with IEPs may have a combined reading and math percentile total of 48 (e.g., reading 20 and mathematics 28). The absence requirement is unchanged for IEP students.

By completing the application, students are indicating that they are interested and willing to attend an audition. Check the posted audition dates before applying to avoid conflicts, as separate auditions will not be scheduled to accommodate individual students.

Steps for Admission

Only complete applications will be considered. A complete application includes both the ChiArts application and test scores/report card.

1. Apply no later than Wednesday, December 14, 2016 at 5:00 pm. ChiArts does not accept the Selective Enrollment application. It is the student’s responsibility to provide accurate contact information. Due to the high volume of applications, early submission is strongly recommended.

Online application is strongly encouraged. After applying, the family will receive an email with the list of required documents, as well as instructions to view the application checklist online to see if any documents are still missing. Paper applications must be received by ChiArts before 5:00 p.m. on December 14, 2016.

Applications sent through the Chicago Public Schools (CPS) mail run must arrive at ChiArts on or before December 14, 2016.

Students may apply for no more than two disciplines: creative writing, dance, music, theatre, or visual arts.

2. Submit copies of the 7th grade test scores and 7th grade attendance no later than Wednesday, December 14, 2016 at 5:00pm. Student records may be sent by a counselor, but must be received by the same deadline. It is the student/parent’s responsibility to ensure that documents are sent; ChiArts does not contact counselors for paperwork.

3. Watch your email and/or postal mail for an audition invitation, sent no later than January 9. If you have not received notification by this date, you should contact the admissions office if you wish to continue the admissions process.

4. If you are invited to audition, be prepared to present an audition with all requirements for your discipline listed to the right. It your responsibility to present a complete, prepared audition.

Parents are welcome to accompany their auditioning child on the scheduled date, however they will not be allowed to observe the audition.

Students with disabilities are strongly encouraged to apply. If your child is selected for an audition, and s/he requires an accommodation identified in the Individualized Education Plan (IEP) that is necessary in order to audition, the accommodation will be provided. Your child’s IEP must be provided to ChiArts before the audition. The procedures for this will be communicated once audition invitations are sent.

Live auditions are required for Illinois residents. Video auditions are allowed for out-of-state and international applicants, and must adhere to audition requirements as instructed by the admissions office.

5. Admission decisions will be sent by March 1. Your status will either be Admit (you have been accepted), Waiting List (no openings are available, but we will contact you if/when we can admit you), or Deny.

6. If a parent/guardian wishes to appeal an admission decision, a written request must be submitted to the Executive Director within ten business days of receiving the admission decision. The appeal will only be heard by committee if the basis of the appeal is an inequity or technical problem that occurred during the audition. An appeal against the panel’s judgment of artistic merit will not be heard.

Notes on the Audition Process

Auditions/interviews will take place in late January and throughout February. Audition requirements for each discipline are provided in the links to the left. It is the student’s responsibility to research and meet all requirements, and present a prepared audition. Auditions are scored using a rubric (samples are in the links to the left), judging performance, presentation and potential. The audition panel for each discipline includes, but is not limited to, at least one of each of the following: a CPS designee, a community arts partner, a ChiArts representative; and a member of the Office of Specialized Services if the applicant has made this request.

If you become ill/unable to attend, please contact the school immediately. Written verification documenting the illness from a doctor must be presented to the school within three (3) business days of the student’s originally scheduled audition date. A new audition date and time will be scheduled for the student by the school ONLY if there are additional audition dates and times available.

Students will only compete for slots in their discipline and within each subgroup of each discipline (flute students will not compete with visual artists for a slot, and beginning dance students will not compete with advanced students.) Admission slots for each freshman class include:

  • Creative Writing: 15
  • Dance: 30 (novice and advanced combined)
  • Music: 60 (strings, winds, voice, guitar, percussion, and piano combined)
  • Theatre: 30 (acting and musical theatre combined)
  • Visual Arts: 30

ChiArts reserves the right to adjust admission slots in each area based on the number of applicants.

Ready to apply? Click here!