Frequently Asked Questions
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!
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.
Because a goal of The Academy is a student’s conservatory placement in college, it is truly important to pick one art department to concentration on. The Chicago Academy for the Arts welcomes prospective students to be a part of The Academy experience through a Shadow Day: Full Shadow Day from 8:15 a.m. - 4:30 p.m. or Arts Shadow Day from 1:30 p.m. - 4:30 p.m.
Applicants must submit the online application and complete the Shadow Day Registration to reserve a Full Shadow Day. This includes observing academic classes in the morning and your art department of choice in the afternoon.
An Arts Shadow Day is for interested applicants who want to get a better understanding of what it is like to hone their artistic skills at The Academy by observing and participating in a regular afternoon of art classes.
Please contact Jessica Phelan, Senior Admissions Associate, at firstname.lastname@example.org to learn more about your Shadow Day options.
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.
This year, nearly 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.).
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 organization, regardless of legal age. At this time, we do not have a boarding or home-stay program; however, we are exploring boarding options for domestic and international students. Please complete this survey so that we have a better understanding of our prospective students' needs.
The Academy has academic coursework from 8:30 a.m. - 1:20 p.m. (six, 45-minute periods of which one is lunch). Students then study exclusively in their arts department from 1:30 p.m. – 4:30 p.m. Students are often at The Academy until 6 p.m. because of rehearsals or by choice! Families often wonder how this compares with a more traditional high school day. We tell them the academic portion of the day includes all of the core academic courses minus electives like PE and shop, and the afternoon is a three-hour immersion in the student's respective arts department.
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.
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.
This year, The Academy accepted about 50% of the applicants who applied. Students must be able to fulfill the audition requirements, but that does not mean they necessarily have any experience outside of school or with other local organizations. This tends to be more department specific—dancers and musicians usually have a high level of outside experience, while visual artists and media artists have less.
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.
Yes. The Academy does have a learning resource specialist on campus; however, please speak with the Admissions Office about the specific needs of the prospective student, as there are limits to the assistance that the school is able to provide. Please refer to the LMAIS Learning Resource Guide for more information.
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.
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.
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.
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.
Registration for Admissions Events is now open! Sign up for Academic Nights and Department Open Houses.
The online application for the 2020-2021 school year is now open. Contact the Admissions Office for more information.
Prepare for your Academy audition.
Tuition and Tuition Assistance Information. Check to see what you may qualify for.