This from Chicago Tribune by Noreen S. Ahmed-Ullah:
Here are some tips to help you negotiate the Chicago Public Schools admissions process for selective enrollment and magnet schools:

1. Start early like, years early. When you're thinking of buying or renting in the city, put thought into the quality of the neighborhood school in case lotteries or the selective enrollment route don't pan out.

2. Don't rule out a neighborhood school after only looking at test scores, advises admissions expert Christine Whitley. Visit the school. Meet the principal. Talk to parents. Whitley says the difference between a great school and a mediocre one can be a group of dedicated parents who volunteer, raise money and ultimately help change their school.

3. For fall 2011, you should be touring schools and applying right now. Applications are due Dec. 17.

4. It's not a good bet to try and use your in-laws' address to improve your chances of admittance. CPS this year plans to verify the address you use on your application when the child is enrolled.

5. Competition is fierce, and it helps to do research and be realistic about your chances. For example, go to CPS' Options for Knowledge Web site at cpsoae.orgto check the cutoff scores of high school students selected last year.

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