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Applying to High School

Applying to High School — Grades 7, 8 and 9

High schools within Cincinnati Public Schools serve students in grades 7-12, allowing students to begin high school-level work earlier, gain skills faster in demanding subjects such as math and science, and earn high school credits sooner.

CPS does not assign students to high schools based on home addresses. Students and their parents may select from among all CPS high schools.

The CPS High School Guide has information about all CPS high schools. It also provides instructions on how to participate in the Online High School Application process for current CPS students, non-CPS students who live within district boundaries, and non-CPS students who live outside district boundaries. Translations of the High School Guide are featured online as they become available.

Applying to High School via Online Lottery

Applications for grades 7, 8 and 9 for the 2019-20 school year must be submitted through the Online High School Application process.

Applying during Round 1 offers students the best opportunities to enter their first-choice high school, as many CPS high schools fill up quickly. A student may be entered in only one round per school year. 

Round 2 and Round 3 are for parents/students who did not enter an application during Round 1. Students/parents submitting an application in Round 2 or Round 3 will have far less chance of getting into their first-choice high school. After Round 3 is closed, students currently in 6th, 7th or 8th grade (as applicable) who did not apply in any round should submit a paper application at their school of choice to be added to the end of the waiting list for that school.

After the online High School Application Process ends, applications to high schools will be accepted at CPS' Customer Care Center, 2651 Burnet Avenue, Corryville (45219).

CPS Students Applying to CPS High School – In District

Online applications to high school can be submitted one of two ways:

  1. Parents of current CPS students -- Submit applications from any Internet-connected computer via Powerschool. Computers are available for parents' use at all CPS schools. (Call the school for office hours.)
  2. CPS students currently in grades 6, 7 and 8 (from CPS K-6 and K-8 schools) — can access the student portal of the Online High School Application to submit their application. Some may also submit applications at their current CPS schools using school computers.

How the Lottery Works

  1. CPS parents enter the high school process on the CPS Website, cps-k12.org, using any Internet-connected computer. Click on the High School Application link on the home page. (CPS students entering the process on school computers will enter applications via a different portal; staff will assist students.)
  2. Select one high school as a top choice, then list up to four other high school choices in order of preference (in case the top choice is filled).
  3. Applications will be processed in random order via lottery by computers at CPS’ Central Office to assure that each application received during the application period has an equal chance to be assigned to first-choice schools.
  4. Parents will be notified regarding high school placement within approximately 30 days.

Conditions to Consider

  • Students (or parents of students) in CPS Montessori, Paideia and STEM elementary schools will be asked if the students want to enter a high school that continues Montessori, Paideia or STEM programs. If yes, a choice of these high schools will be offered. If a high school is not selected, the parent/student will continue into the lottery process to select a high school.
  • Students who have passed the Special College Preparatory Program (SCPP) test may select Dater High School, or enter the lottery to select another high school to attend.
    Note: Even though Walnut Hills High School is also a SCPP school, this option is not available as it requires applying at the school.
  • Sibling preference applies ONLY to a student’s first choice high school. This means a student will be given priority over other students to enter a sibling’s high school. The sibling must currently attend the student’s first-choice high school in grades 7, 8, 9, 10 or 11, and must live at the same address.
  • Only one online application per student per school year may be submitted. If a parent/student wants to apply to a different high school after submitting an online application, the parent/student must go to the Customer Help Center to adjust the application within the time frame of the same round as the original application.

Exception: School for Creative and Performing Arts (SCPA) and Walnut Hills High School do not use the online application process.

Details on applying to high school grades at School for Creative and Performing Arts (SCPA).
Details on applying to Walnut Hills High School - Special College Preparatory Program (SCPP).

Parents of CPS students who now attend CPS high schools in grades 7-12 and who want to change (transfer) high schools should apply in person at the high schools they select.

CPS students now attending Spencer Center, schools with grades 7-12 or K-12 may stay at those schools without participating in the application process.

Parents of non-CPS students in grades 6-8 who live within the boundaries of the Cincinnati Public School District and are interested in their children entering CPS high schools are required to submit their online application from a CPS-networked computer from the Customer Help Center in the CPS Education Center located at 2651 Burnet Avenue, Corryville (45219). Learn more.

Applying to High School in Upper Grades (10-12)

Non-CPS (In-District) Students Entering CPS

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