First Choice vs. Second Choice for SE high schools

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    • #10224 Reply

      Hello all!

      I’ve been scouring the ‘net and haven’t been able to find an answer to this question, so I’m asking here.

      When an incoming HS freshman ranks their school choices, does listing a choice in 2nd place give them less of a chance at the school than if they had listed it in 1st place?

      Here’s a scenario to clarify the question:

      Two 8th graders, Joe and Sue, are applying to SE High Schools. The two are neighbors (same Tier) and friends. Both have reasonably 7th grade grades and NWEA test scores. Both would love to get into one of the upper tier SE high schools, but neither consider themselves shoe-ins.

      Joe decides he wants to try to get into Northside and lists that school as his first choice and a competitive IB program at a nearby HS as his second choice.
      Sue decides to ‘play it safe’ and lists the same IB program as her first choice, and lists Northside as her second choice.

      Now, the two friends both get fantastic results on the SE test and achieve identical overall SE scores (the score out of 900 points) that are sufficient (for their tier) to (barely) get into Northside. They both achieved the score listed as the lower end of the accepted range.

      The question is: Do they both get in?
      It seems like Joe would get in directly as he listed Northside as his first choice and achieved a score which would make him eligible.
      My question is about Sue. Does she get in? She achieved a the same score as Joe, but she listed Northside only as her 2nd choice.

      To put the question a couple of other ways:  How does the actual selection work and is a student penalized for listing a more competitive school 2nd?

      Here’s another question and scenario. What if the two kids above didn’t do as well on the SE exam and had achieved an overall SE score insufficient to get into Northside, but just good enough to get into the competitive IB program. In this scenario, it would seem that Sue’s ‘play it safe’ strategy would win her a spot at that program. Now the question is about Joe — given that he listed the IB program as his second choice, is he also going to get an acceptance letter to the program?

      I guess I’m looking for information on just how the seats are granted based on students’ choice rankings…


    • #10225 Reply

      Short answer: IB and SE are separate categories.  Admissions to them are unrelated.  You can get into both at the same time.

    • #10226 Reply

      SEHS and IB are separate categories. IB is a ” choice school”.

      The ranking will influence the chances for schools in the same category, not across categories.

      Let’s suppose Joe and Sue are applying for Northside and Walter Payton.

      My understanding is the system will match them by giving preference to the student’s ranking of the school. Therefore it is possible that a student with a lower score could get in if they rank the school higher.

      Disclaimer: my child is applying this year, so this is just my understanding of the system.


    • #10227 Reply

      As was noted before, SE and High School are seperate categories.  However, in your example, if both schools were SE schools – then ranking your 1st choice lower because you don’t think you’ll be able to get in will actually hurt you.  For example, if you ranked Lane ahead of Northside because you weren’t sure you’d get into Northside – you’d be accepted into Lane even if you had a score high enough to get into Northside because you ranked Lane higher.  You don’t get any benefit by ranking a program higher.

    • #10228 Reply

      Sorry, I meant SE and IB programs are seperate categories.

    • #10345 Reply

      Need help with understanding ranking on Selective enrollment HS application next Fall. My kid is in 7th grade, winter maps = Math: 97, Reading:99. Straight A’s in all subjects. Assuming grades and maps are similar in this Spring and does well on the HS entrance exam. What would be the safe ranking when she applies for high school? Tops choices Northside and Lane.

    • #10360 Reply

      Based on this, she has a good shot at getting her first choice school, no matter what tier you are in.  She would need to decide her actual top choice and rank that first.  If it is Lane and she does not rank it first, she would end up at a different school.  To be safe, you can also rank schools less competitive than Lane to make sure she has options.  Or perhaps Lincoln Park IB?

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