Payton vs Northside vs Lane vs….catholic like Loyola Academy?

Home Forums Chicago Public Schools (CPS) CPS High Schools Selective Enrollment High Schools (SEHS) Payton vs Northside vs Lane vs….catholic like Loyola Academy?

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    • #10212 Reply

      Please advice. We moved from Europe and have no clue about high schools in Chicago.

      We moved to Illinois 2 yr ago. We don’t have any family or friends whose kids are in high school, we have no one to ask for an opinion or advice. We have been trying to learn & research about high schools for our child for a past year. We need to fill out application by Dec 14.

      We like Payton,Northside and Lane. Northside was our first choice but we recently found out that it has “different “ kind of teaching, it is very competitive among students ;therefore, they are very stressed out and depressed. Can anyone give us quick characteristic of each school? And why so many students love Lane? What is so good about it? We are concern that Lane doesn’t have very high ACT & SAT scores comparing to Payton or Northside. Too bad you cannot shadow at those schools to see how they really are.

      We were also researching Catholic schools like Loyola Academy and Fenwick. Our child shadowed there & said that honor classes were challenging & smart students came out as not spoiled , rich kids (sorry but there are some opinions about kids attending those 2 schools). We do not mind Catholic schools. We know that currently 35% attending students at Loyola Academy are not Catholic. What worries us is if a child has a same chance to get into top colleges  like Northwestern or University of Chicago from Catholic high school versus applying from Payton/Northside/Lane? Please help.




    • #10213 Reply

      I’ll share my experience(s).  Long answer:  I can’t tell you specifically about Lane, but I have a sophomore at Payton.  He’s not stressed or depressed anymore than any other typical teenager.  Payton is a perfect fit for him.  (He wanted to go there since he was in 6th grade, so he planned ahead and did all the research to get in.  He knew more about the selective enrollment process than my wife and I did by the time he got in.)  NB:  I also have another kid who graduated last year from a level 2+ school, which was sadly recently bumped down from level 1.   So I’ve seen how schools from two different levels are run.  Principal Devine at Payton and the staff do a great job.  I’m very impressed.


      I’ll note this, my Payton kid actually has LESS stress than he had as an 8th grader at a neighborhood CPS school.  Sure, he comes home with homework but even with doing sports 3 nights a week M, W, Fri nights, he’s able to manage it.  (Their block schedule helps.  I think it’s a great model for HS.)

      He wakes up at about 6:15am, gets ready and rides two buses to school.  It takes him about 30 min to get there.  He gets there about 30 to 45 early to study and practice music.  He goes to bed about 10:00pm to 10:30pm most nights.  He is very tired at the end of the day. (But he also chooses to do sports and participate in band.  He has M,W,F 3 hour sport practices.)  His schedule is very tight but he’s become very good at managing his time.

      On weekends, he crashes.  He sleeps in till 10:00am/11:00am, wakes up, does a little homework on Sat (and/or Sun) but he has plenty of down time on weekends (He plays video games and watches stupid youtube videos.  Which, as long as he’s getting straight A’s, how can I complain?!)

      I’ve got friends who’s kids attend Lane, and they report similar levels of homework and rigor.

      I say it all comes down to what is best for your kid.  Each kid is different.  If your kid is competitive and can manager his/her time well, and likes energy and fast paced environments, then Payton or Lane Tech maybe a good fit.  Do as much research as you can, with the time you have available. You didn’t say, but if  your kid is an 8th grader now, you don’t have much time left, if any.  Have your kid doing as much research he/she can do too. If your kid is a 7th grader, you have some time.  If your kid is a 6th grader, you have even more time.  Keep asking questions from other parents.  Keep researching.

      I have another kid who is an 8th grader this year.  Still awaiting test results for the Selective enrollment test. 2nd choice is one of the IB programs at Lincoln Park and Admunsen.

      Final thought:  I’ll be completely honest, I didn’t like my oldest kid’s Level 2 HS.   He often said it felt like half the class didn’t want to be at school (My Payton kid NEVER says this.)  My oldest would have rather attended another higher ranked school, but he’s glad for the friends he met.  He was not a very high achiever in grade school or HS, however, in HS he got nearly straight A’s and ranked 7th in his graduating class.  He made the best of it, made some life long friends, and in the end received 2 full ride scholarship offers to his top 2 university pics.  He went with his top choice and bottom line is we’re paying about 3K per year out of pocket (so technically not “full ride”, but we have saved enough to manage this.)  Bottom line is he’ll finish college debt free, and for this we are ecstatic.

      If you have money and can afford to send your kid to a private school, go for it.  But it’s not without stress either.  I’ve been told Fenwick is not easy to get into.  And if you want to save several thousand per year in tuition, then my advice is don’t rule out Chicago Public Schools YET, if your kid doesn’t make it to a SEHS.  You can still get your kid in a very good school that will be a great stepping stone for his or her choice of college.


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