Frequently Asked Questions

Parents and students often have questions about the application process and life at Wolcott.  Here are some of the most frequently asked questions.

Who is a Wolcott learner?
A Wolcott learner is a creative, athletic, curious student who benefits from a participatory experience and prefers active learning. 

If your child has superior to average intelligence but is not reaching full academic potential or is experiencing frustration in school, look closely at Wolcott College Prep. Through small classes, partnerships with teachers, and regular Learning Strategies classes, we address each student’s learning profile – leveraging strengths to foster learning. Strong arts, athletics, and extracurricular activities emphasize student interests and talents, while our academic and college counseling support round out our approach to preparing every child for college and for life. 

Our students typically have diagnoses such as dyslexia, dyscalculia, ADHD, executive function, and/or processing speed deficits and find that they thrive best in our smaller, more personal setting.

Our program is not designed to meet the needs of students with primary emotional or behavioral challenges.

What does Wolcott look for in an applicant?
We are looking for students who are motivated learners and who have demonstrated that they possess:

  • Cognitive and intellectual abilities to meaningfully engage in our college prep curriculum
  • Academic achievement scores indicating the potential to succeed at Wolcott   
  • Typical social and emotional behaviors

How would you describe the Wolcott community?
Diversity is at the root of Wolcott’s mission. Our community is intentionally diverse — just as our students come from a wide range of socio-economic, racial, and religious backgrounds, they also travel from 45 different neighborhoods across Chicago-land.

Through our community engagement, clubs, and affinity groups, our students are encouraged to celebrate their identities and build mutual respect.  

My student isn’t failing at school – more like falling between the cracks. Would Wolcott be a good fit?
There are many reasons why capable students fall through the cracks — whether it be the pace of the classroom, the quantity of homework, the emphasis on memorization, or the delivery of content.  At Wolcott, our students engage in a college-prep curriculum that stresses visual, auditory, and experiential learning. We structure our program to be as equally rich in content as it is engaging, interesting, and manageable. 

We create an environment where every student feels known and valued. How do we know? Because time and time again, we hear our students say with satisfaction, “My teachers understand me.” This is an essential factor in helping students become critical thinkers and confident, strong self-advocates. 

What are the transportation options?
Wolcott is convenient to families traveling from the north, south, and west. Most students travel to school by car, bus, or train. 

As Wolcott students come from 66 different zip codes across Chicago and Chicago-land, we are committed to making the trip to school as smooth as possible. Wolcott contracts with a private shuttle bus company to provide daily morning and afternoon shuttle service. The bus stops at four downtown stations. 

Visit our Transportation page for more detail.

When should I apply? 
Applying is easy through our online admissions portal. Families can start an application without the need for completing it in one sitting. To be considered in our priority acceptance pool, please submit all materials by the December 1, 2020 deadline. Applications are reviewed on a rolling basis after the priority deadline. Click to see the application link.

We accept applications for grades 9, 10, and 11.
To request consideration for an application fee reduction, please email Rachel Spiro at or call 312-610-4925.

We encourage you to apply early as spots are limited.

What items do I need to apply? 
We evaluate the WHOLE student, and not just test scores or grades. Along with an application, we request that families submit a copy of their student’s most recent (within 3 years) psycho-educational evaluation completed by a licensed clinician. Also requested are teacher recommendations, standardized test scores, and current grades. Some students may have an IEP, 504 Plan or another type of school learning plan. A copy should be submitted if applicable.
Click to see complete checklist.  

Does Wolcott accept transfer students?
Wolcott welcomes transfer students in for 9th, 10th, and 11th grade. 

Does my student have to have a 504 Plan or IEP in order to attend Wolcott?
No. An IEP or a 504 plan are not required to attend Wolcott.  Some of our students have 504 or IEP plans issued by public schools; however, many of our students attended independent or parochial schools and have never had a 504 or an IEP plan. Further, we have students applying from public schools who have documented learning differences from private evaluators, but who were not granted 504 or IEP plans from their public schools because they did not fully meet the public schools’ criteria for eligibility.

What is a psycho-educational evaluation and why is one required for admissions?
It is a comprehensive evaluation conducted by a clinical psychologist that helps answer questions regarding an individual’s overall learning profile (including strengths and weaknesses) as well as emotional and behavioral functioning. A typical evaluation assesses an individual’s functioning in cognitive reasoning, oral expression, language comprehension, academic skills, and social emotional well-being. The results determine whether a student’s functioning meets the diagnostic criteria for a learning difference. We require a psycho-educational evaluation for admissions because it helps us determine whether Wolcott’s academic program will be a good fit for a student’s learning profile and needs.

What is the Wolcott parent community like?
The Wolcott Parent/Guardian Network is a vital and active part of Wolcott. Opportunities exist for families to become involved on a social level as well as to support the educational, financial, and community values of the school. 

How do I schedule a visit to Wolcott?
Visiting campus is an important and valuable experience for both prospective students and parents. Currently, we are currently limiting visitors to campus in order to keep our community as safe as possible. We can accommodate one family at a time during school hours. Tours are currently limited to our main campus  located at 524 N. Wolcott Ave.  Self guided virtual tours are available by clicking HERE. 

Families are encouraged to attend an admissions event in person or virtually. Please visit the event page for dates and registration details. 

What is the social life like at Wolcott?  
High school is a time for students to build their independence and expand social connections as they prepare for the transitions ahead. Our students readily acknowledge how much they enjoy Wolcott’s tight-knit community and the opportunity to meet students from different neighborhoods. Mandatory participation in Wolcott’s robust after-school and extracurricular activities fosters a balance between school and life.

Families, students, and friends typically pack the bleachers and outnumber our rivals, home and away. 

What type of tuition assistance is available?
Each year, we provide tuition assistance to over 50% of our families to ensure that every qualified student has the opportunity to attend Wolcott College Prep.

It is our philosophy to keep the school within the financial reach of all our families. We are committed to working with families to make a Wolcott education affordable.  If you think Wolcott is appropriate for your student, and are concerned about tuition or transportation, we encourage you to reach out to Rachel Spiro, Director of Admissions. Read more about tuition assistance here.

Where is Wolcott located?
Wolcott is located in Chicago’s West Town neighborhood. Our campus is comprised of three buildings:

Main Campus Building
524 N Wolcott Avenue
Chicago, IL 60622
(312) 610-4900

Arts & Athletics Center
1950 W Hubbard Street

Educational Services
1845 W Grand Avenue

The closest main intersection to all campus buildings is Grand Avenue and Damen Avenue. 

How do I contact the Admissions Office?
Feel free to email Rachel Spiro, Director of Admissions, or call (312) 610-4925. We look forward to hearing from you.