What does the online application consist of?

The Chicago Academy for the Arts application includes information about the applicant, family, previous school, and artistic interest. International applications require additional information. Please devote the necessary time to providing the most complete information possible so our admissions office can properly review your application. The good news—you can save the application and return to it later!

How much does it cost to submit an application?

For applicants to the 9th grade, the non-refundable application fee is $89.

For transfer applicants to 10th or 11th grades and international students, the non-refundable application fee is $150.

To which department should I apply?

One of The Academy’s primary goals is to prepare students to successfully audition at the most selective college, university, and conservatory arts programs in the world. Therefore, it is important that students pick one area of concentration, and focus on the depth of the discipline.

More Admissions Information

When choosing an arts department, keep these points in mind:

1. Musical Theatre involves elements of singing, acting, and dance. Students will need to display an interest and talent in all three areas. The Theatre Department is primarily concerned with acting, directing, and production.

2. The Music Department has two distinct paths: vocal and instrumental. The Department focuses only on classical and jazz music. Every student takes classes in piano.

3. The Media Arts Department is for writers, filmmakers, and animators looking to tell a story. Applicants concerned over whether to apply to Visual Arts or Media Arts should ask whether they are interested in storytelling. Animation students take classes in Visual Arts, so they are not giving up drawing if they choose this department. Students interested in fashion should choose the Visual Arts department.

4. While the Dance program is largely focused on ballet, your audition does not need to be in that discipline. Audition with whatever style of dance in which you are most comfortable.

I do not live in Chicago. How do families from outside of the city get to school?

This year, about 50% of Academy students commute from outside the city of Chicago. We provide buses from the four major Metra stations (Union, La Salle, Van Buren and Ogilvie). A bus picks up in the morning before school and departs twice at the end of the day (4:40 p.m. and 6:00 p.m.).

Do you offer homestay or boarding accommodations?

At this time, The Academy does not provide boarding; however, The Academy partners with Student RoomStay and Global School Access (GSA), two reputable student homestay agency programs. GSA supports both international and national Academy students who need support in finding homestay solutions close to The Academy.

All international students must live with a parent or legal guardian appointed under the Illinois courts and/or be under the care of their international service/organization, regardless of legal age.

More information for International students can be found here.

Does The Academy offer tuition assistance?

Yes, The Academy does have a need-based tuition assistance program. Families that would like to apply for tuition assistance do so during our traditional applicant timeline by submitting an application to FACTS. Families are eligible to receive a range of assistance based on income, but it is impossible to tell what a family might receive without going through the application process.

Where do Academy graduates go to college?

Academy graduates attend schools all over the country. They attend top conservatory and university programs in all fields. Please check out our School Profile and Alumni page to learn more about recent college acceptances and graduates.

How large is The Academy? What are typical class sizes?

This year, we have approximately 140 students. We seek to build a freshman class of 40 students. Some general classes tend to be larger, but most classes have 12 to 15 students. Honors and math classes tend to run smaller at about 7 to 10 students.

Does my child need to have formal training to audition? How difficult is it to be accepted?

The Academy generally accepts about 50% of applicants. Students must be able to fulfill the audition requirements, but that does not mean that they will necessarily have formal training in or outside of school or with other local arts organizations. Formal training is more common in some arts disciplines, like dance or music, but is not necessarily a prerequisite.

With all of the performances, how much time do students have to devote to homework?

While homework load varies by grade level and class, students can typically expect daily work in each of their academic classes. Academic and Arts faculty work together to account for the large commitment Academy students undertake both academically and artistically.

Are students with learning differences eligible for admission?

The Learning Resources Department at The Academy is designed to provide academic support to students in consultation with their teachers. Additionally, the director of The Learning Resources Department is responsible for the case management of students whose families have submitted documentation of school-related learning issues.

Does The Academy have any physical education (P.E.) or sports programs?

No. The Academy is an independent school and therefore not subject to the laws that apply to the public school system. We do have many stairs, and our students are quite active.

Tell me more about The Academy's open campus. Are students allowed to leave throughout the day?

The Academy operates as an open-campus. Students are welcome, within limits, to leave during the day to eat lunch around the neighborhood. Most of our students bring lunches and snacks from home and/or use delivery apps during inclement weather.

How do entrance exams factor into the admissions process?

Completing the Independent School Entrance Exam (ISEE) or Secondary School Admission Test (SSAT) is a required part of the application process, but the entire application is considered holistically in making an admissions decision. Students may retake the ISEE or SSAT if they believe they can improve their scores. Students may also submit other standardized test scores with their applications, but not in lieu of the ISEE or SSAT results.

Learn more about the ISEE and SSAT.

How do your academics stack up to other schools?

Academy students routinely score above the state and national averages on standardized tests. The ACT is the most commonly taken college entrance exam at The Academy, and in the 2017-2018 school year, Academy students scored an ACT Composite average of 25.9, 25% higher than the national average. (2018-2019 scores will be available in the fall).

Furthermore, nearly a third of The Academy graduates pursue a non-arts major in college. Students find that a robust academic and arts education prepares them for a wide range of academic majors, and recent graduates will attend schools like Juilliard, Princeton, MICA, and Stanford, well prepared for a breathtaking variety of paths. Our alums include not only Grammy winners and Broadway stars, but physicists, attorneys, computer programmers, entrepreneurs, executive directors, and other professionals in numerous other fields.