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The 12 Largest Schools in Chicago Are Massive

Chicago skyline from Lincoln Park

The 12 Largest Schools in Chicago Are Massive

As the third largest city in the United States, Chicago is home to many highly-rated and massive schools. The Chicago Public School District has over 300,000 students and Chicago has 649 public schools overall. If you've ever wondered about the largest schools in Chicago, keep reading.

Despite the city's enormous population, Chicago Public Schools are rated above average and there are numerous schools to choose from. Check out the 12 largest schools in Chicago below.

Happy young university students studying with books in library. Group of multiracial people in college library.
Some of the largest schools in Chicago are public and private universities, many with over 20,000 students.

©Jacob Lund/Shutterstock.com

University of Illinois at Chicago

1200 West Harrison St., Chicago, IL 60607

The University of Illinois at Chicago has a student population of 34,199. This public university was rated as the largest and most diverse university in Chicago by the U.S. News & World Report. More than one-third of undergraduates at the university are first-generation students.

The history of the University of Illinois at Chicago goes back to 1859 with the founding of The Chicago College of Pharmacy. The university has grown significantly since then, now home to 16 different academic colleges that offer 95 bachelor’s programs and 100 master’s programs. 

Notable University of Illinois at Chicago Alumni

Justin Hartley – American Actor known for Green Arrow

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Michael Gross – American Actor known for Family Ties

Adrian Smith – Designer of the Burj Khalifa

Al Jourgensen – Frontman of Ministry heavy metal band and close worker of Wax Trax Record label


DePaul University

1 E. Jackson Blvd., Chicago, IL 60604

DePaul University is a private four-year college with 20,917 students. As the largest Catholic university in the U.S., they offer numerous undergraduate and graduate programs for students. DePaul University has two different campuses, one in the business district and the other in Lincoln Park. 

This university was named one of the best midwestern colleges in the country as well as one of the best national universities. They offer thousands of opportunities for internships and help students build connections that impact their education and future.

Notable DePaul University Alumni

Stana Katic – Canadian Actor known for Castle

John C. Reilly – American Actor known for comedy and the movie Step-brothers

Joe Keery – American Actor and Musician known for his band Djo and Netflix Series Stranger Things

Lila Downs – Mexican Singer/Songwriter


University of Chicago

The University of Chicago is one of the nation’s leading research universities with 18,832 students. This university believes in diversity, inclusion, and being civic-minded. They aim to use the resources they have to build better communities and help the citizens of Chicago.

Students at the University of Chicago are also encouraged to do their best work and challenge themselves through intellectual debate. They offer 53 majors and 47 minors at the undergraduate level and seven professional schools for graduate study.

Notable University of Chicago Alumni

Barack Obama – Former US President

Bernie Sanders – Current Senator of Vermont

David Rockefeller – Former CEO of Chase Manhattan Bank

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Carl Sagan – American astronomer, planetary scientist, cosmologist, astrophysicist, astrobiologist, science communicator, author, and professor


Lane Technical High School

2501 W Addison St, Chicago, IL 60618

Lane Technical High School is not only one of the oldest schools in Chicago, but it’s also the largest school in the state. With 4,369 students, Lane Technical High School is a magnet high school with selective enrollment, which means students must pass a test and benchmark to gain admission.

Lane Tech teaches students in 7-12 grade and focuses on the technical aspects of modern education. Although it originally opened as an all-boys school in the early 1900s, the staff now helps a diverse student population prepare for college with a focus on technology. 

Taft High School

6530 W Bryn Mawr Ave, Chicago, IL 60631

Taft High School is a four-year public high school in Chicago. With a population of 4,162 students, this school is one of the largest high schools in the area. Taft High School falls in the top 50% of schools in the state based on their reading and math proficiency. They also fall in the top 20% of the most diverse schools in Illinois.

The mission and vision of Taft High School are to educate global citizens and create a better world. Their academic program includes Advanced Placement Courses, an IB Program, and Career and Technical Education. 

Curie Metropolitan High School

4959 S Archer Ave, Chicago, IL 60632

Curie Metropolitan High School is a 4-year magnet high school in Chicago. This public school serves 3,175 students in grades 9-12.

The academic programs at Curie High School include a technical program, an IB program, as well as a performing arts and visual program. They also have numerous athletics teams and clubs such as AP Support Club, Anime Club, Book Club, and Academic Decathlon.

Lincoln Park High School

2001 N Orchard St, Chicago, IL 60614

Lincoln Park High School is a public high school in Chicago with 2,149 students. This school has ranked in the top 20% of all schools in the state due to their math and reading scores. They have also ranked in the top 5% of most diverse schools.

This high school was previously North Division High School when it first opened in 1875. At the time, it was the first public high school in North Chicago. The current building was built in 1899 after the school had grown so much that it required more room for students. Now, Lincoln Park High School serves over 2,000 students and is one of the top-ranked schools in Chicago.

Kenwood Academy High School

5015 S Blackstone Ave, Chicago, IL 60615

Kenwood Academy High School serves 2,144 students and has placed in the top 30% of all Illinois schools for their math and reading test scores. Part of the mission of Kenwood Academy is to develop critical readers, writers, and thinkers. They aim for all graduates from their school to become responsible and influential leaders in the world.

Kenwood Academy is a school for students in grades 9-12, but they also have an academic center for gifted students in grades 7-12. In addition to the academic programs, there are over 40 school-sponsored clubs and organizations.

Group of high school students sitting in classroom and writing in notebooks.
High schools like Young Magnet High School offer numerous opportunities for students to achieve academic success.


Young Magnet High School

211 S Laflin St, Chicago, IL 60607

Young Magnet High School in Chicago serves 2,121 high school students. For math and reading test scores, Young Magnet High School ranked in the top 1% of Chicago schools. 91% of students enrolled in the school have achieved proficiency in reading and math.

Part of the mission at Young Magnet High School is to provide students with a rigorous college prep academic program. They accomplish this through their diverse and challenging learning community.

Walt Disney Magnet School

4140 N Marine Dr, Chicago, IL 60613

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Walt Disney Magnet School is a public magnet school in Chicago for students in PreK-8th grade. With 1,536 students, it’s one of the largest K-8 schools in the area. Walt Disney Magnet School was the first magnet school in Chicago when it opened in the 1970s.

In 2004, the daughter of Walt Disney dedicated a $250,000 animation lab for the Walt Disney Magnet School. The mission of the school is for all students, families, and staff to be L.E.A.D.E.R.S., which stands for learners who embrace equity, the arts, diversity, excellence, responsibility, and success. 

Edwards Elementary School

4815 S Karlov Ave, Chicago, IL 60632

Edwards Elementary School is a dual language fine and performing arts IB school in Chicago. With a student population of 1,357, Edwards Elementary has a diverse community of students. The vision of this magnet school is to cultivate respectful and responsible citizens who will help create a better world.

Edwards Elementary provides students with a rigorous academic program with a focus on fine arts and a global mindset. They also offer the opportunity for students to join numerous athletic teams including basketball, soccer, softball, and lacrosse. 

Robert Healy Elementary School

3010 S Parnell Ave, Chicago, IL 60616

Robert Healy Elementary School is a highly-rated elementary school in Chicago with 1,354 elementary students. This public school was named after Robert Healy, an Irish immigrant who came to Chicago in 1836 and served as a School Director and Highway Commissioner.

Robert Healy Elementary School was originally a K-5 school but later expanded to become a K-8 school. The school's core values are compassion, growth, resilience, and teamwork. Their academic programs include a gifted program for 6-8th grade students. 

Choosing a School in Chicago

Choosing the right school for your child can seem overwhelming, especially in a large city like Chicago. There are over 600 public schools in the area, not to mention the two dozen private colleges and universities.

Some of the largest schools in Chicago also have diverse communities, numerous athletic opportunities, and advanced courses for students. If you’re looking for a school with a myriad of resources, try one of Chicago’s largest schools.

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