Admission & Audition Process for Freshmen

Freshman 2021-2022: The  GoCPS Application will open October 1st!

Please see the Steps for Admission below.  

The application for all rising 9th graders is only available for through CPS starting in October of a student’s 8th grade year. Please visit for more information and a link to the application. Be sure you have activated your account or received an activation code from CPS.

For non-CPS students, you MUST take the NWEA and apply through CPS. 7th and 8th graders, contact CPS Office of Access and Enrollment as soon as possible for more information.

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:

A minimum percentile score of 24 in both math and reading on the NWEA. (Non-CPS students, please see testing information below.) To determine eligibility for students applying for high school admission for the fall of 2021, CPS will consider students’ highest NWEA scores from any of the following prior administrations:

  • Winter 2019
  • Fall 2019
  • Spring 2019

Students with IEPs may have a combined reading and math percentile total of 48 (e.g., reading 20 and mathematics 28).

By completing the application, students are indicating that they are interested and willing to attend an audition. Applicants are responsible for preparing and submitting their auditions through the GoCPS application.

Steps for Admission


Only complete applications will be considered. A complete application includes both the CPS application and test scores/attendance record.

CPS Students: Your test scores and attendance record will be automatically uploaded through the website.

Non-CPS Students: You must take the NWEA and receive an activation code through CPS in order to apply. Please visit or contact the CPS Office of Access and Enrollment by phone, 773-553-2060, or email, as soon as possible. All testing and application documents must be submitted by the application deadline.

Students with Paper Applications: Paper applications are available for students and must be received by CPS before the set deadline. Online application is strongly encouraged. Paper applicants will experience a processing delay as well as limited audition options. Please apply online, if at all possible.

Students must apply no later than the date set by CPS. It is the student’s responsibility to provide accurate contact information. ChiArts communicates primarily by email, so please ensure that the email address you provide is valid and checked frequently.

Due to the high volume of applications, early audition registration is encouraged. We have a limited number of available audition days, and late registration or rescheduling an audition may not be an option.

School Ranking

Students, please pay careful attention to where you place schools when ranking them in your GoCPS application. Rank will play a very important role in your school program placement. If ChiArts is your top school choice, be sure to rank your favorite program #1 on your Choice list to ensure that if you pass the audition process, you will secure a seat at ChiArts. For more information, please visit the CPS website,


Students may apply for no more than two of the following disciplines: Creative Writing, Dance, Music (Instrumental or Vocal), Theatre (Acting or Musical Theatre), or Visual Arts.

If you apply for more than two programs, you will be asked to select your two top choices and will only be permitted to audition for those two programs, or the first two programs for which you attend auditions.


If you are eligible to audition based on the above academic requirements, start preparing for your audition! We have helpful audition guides available on our website here.

Be sure to schedule your audition! After you apply, you will be prompted to schedule your audition(s) in the RSVP section of the GoCPS website.

Please be sure to schedule an audition date that you can attend. Due to demand, rescheduling your audition may not be possible. It is the responsibility of the applicants to schedule, prepare for, and attend auditions in order to be considered for ChiArts admission.

Auditions will take place in December, January, and February. Not all programs will be auditioning each audition day. Please see your GoCPS application RSVP for available audition dates.

It is your responsibility to present a complete, prepared audition. Be prepared to present an audition with all requirements for your discipline listed on our website here.

Parents, guardians, siblings, and loved ones are welcome to accompany their auditioning student on the scheduled date, however they will not be allowed to observe the audition. Guests must wait in the designated waiting area. They may not walk about the building or sit with their student in the audition holding room. Any guest found outside of the designated waiting area will be asked to return to it immediately with no exceptions.

Students with disabilities are strongly encouraged to apply. If your child is selected for an audition, and requires an accommodation identified in the Individualized Education Plan (IEP) that is necessary in order to audition, you must inform ChiArts Admissions staff prior to the audition day. The procedures for this will be communicated once audition invitations are sent.

Acceptance Letter

Once all auditions take place, CPS will match students with their best-fit schools and notice of admission placement will be sent out by CPS in March. Students waitlisted will receive notice of their placement on the GoCPS application at the same time as admission placement.

Notes on the Audition Process

Auditions/interviews will take place in December, January, and February. Audition requirements for each discipline are available on our website here. 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 available on our website here), judging performance, presentation, and potential. The audition panel for each discipline includes, but is not limited to, the following: a community arts partner, a ChiArts representative, ChiArts conservatory department head or assistant. A member of the Office of Specialized Services may be available, if the applicant has made this request prior to the audition date.

If you become ill or unable to attend, please contact the school immediately. A new audition date may be scheduled for the student 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, etc.) Admission slots for each freshman class include:

  • Creative Writing: 15
  • Dance: 30 (novice, intermediate, and advanced combined)
  • Music: 60 (brass, guitar, percussion, piano, strings, voice, and winds combined)
  • Theatre: 36 (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!