High School Counseling

As a school with a long track record of successfully placing graduates in Chicago's most sought after high schools, Bernard Zell deeply values the transition graduates make when moving to 9th grade. Leaving a school that has been home for 10 years not only carries the opportunity for students to experience more diverse learning communities, but also to navigate a new environment by confidently leaning on the self-advocacy, leadership, and community-building skills they developed at Bernard Zell.

Bernard Zell's High School Counseling program formally begins as families enter into 7th grade. Parents and students are introduced to the high school landscape though individual family intake meetings and group presentations that help set the stage for applications to CPS and independent schools throughout the Chicagoland area and across the country.

The High School Counseling team reconvenes with students and families at the start of 8th grade to develop a personalized plan for the admissions process. From September through mid-November, students and parents have the opportunity hear from over 20 different area high schools during exclusive information sessions. Bernard Zell's alumni and parents of alumni also serve as a valuable resources in this process, eager to share their advice and experiences of applying and transitioning to high school.

The mission of the High School Counseling office is rooted in a holistic ethos; to support students and families from a perspective that values the intellectual, social, and emotional development of graduating students and to help them transition into a high school that is the best fit based on their abilities and interests.

The Process

High School Counseling Timeline

August - September

  • 8th grade parent intake meetings
  • Activate GoCPS to begin application to public schools
  • Review independent school websites and deadlines
  • Register for NWEA MAP test with Chicago Public Schools
  • Parent alumni panel on high school transitions
  • NWEA MAP testing begins in September

October - November

  • Morning admissions presentations from high schools begin
  • Open houses begin at high schools
  • Submit transcript release requests to High School Counseling Team for independent schools
  • Some independent school applications due
  • Bernard Zell Young Alumni High School Forums

December - January

  • ISEE testing at Bernard Zell
  • CPS applications/rankings deadline
  • Independent schools application deadline
  • Teacher recommendations and transcripts submitted to independent schools 
  • Selective enrollment entrance exam

February - March

  • Admissions decisions delivered
  • Principal's Discretion applications for CPS
  • Placement testing for 9th grade classes
  • High School Counseling Team submits final transcripts
  • Rising 7th grade parent intake meetings
  • High School Fair for Middle School families

April - June

  • Principal's Discretion applications for CPS
  • Placement testing for 9th grade classes
  • High School Counseling Team submits final transcripts
  • Rising 7th grade parent intake meetings
  • High School Fair for Middle School families

"From my observations, Bernard Zell students are exceptionally well prepared for success in high school. They have the strong work ethic and personal integrity to effectively manage the challenges that often accompany the academic experience in a high performing high school."CPS Selective Enrollment High School Principal 

Bernard Zell High School Placement 2014 - 2018
Beacon Academy 
British School of Chicago
The Chicago High School for the Arts
Francis W. Parker
Gulliver School
Jones College Prep
Lake Forest Academy
Lane Tech College Prep
The Latin School of Chicago
Lincoln Park High School
Northside College Prep
Rochelle Zell Jewish High School
University of Chicago Lab School
Walter Payton College Prep
Wolcott School