An Overview of Walter Payton College Prep High School

One of Chicago’s youngest but most prestigious public high schools, Walter Payton College Prep High School, was founded in 2000 and named after the late Chicago Bears football legend, Walter Payton. Boasting impressive stats, Walter Payton College Prep High School (also known simply as “Payton”) is ranked as the 9th best public school in the nation, and the 1st best public school in the state of Illinois.

Payton’s enrollment is 977 with a student to teacher ratio of 18:1. Of their total enrollment, 57% of students are people of color, and 33% of students eat free or reduced-price lunches. Among other stats, Payton has a notable U.S. News Scorecard of 99.95%. The Scorecard is measured using the percentage of students who are proficient in math (97%) and reading (98%), took at least one AP exam (98%), passed at least one AP exam (93%), as well as their graduation rate (99%).  

The school offers a massive array of classes. Something that really stands out among other schools, however, is their seminar menu. Payton offers seminars in everything from Game Theory, Coding, Neuroscience, and Financial Investments to Film, Special Olympic Coaching, Skateboarding, Poetry, and Painting. For a full list of seminar offerings, visit In addition, Payton also has an exchange program for students in Melbourne, Australia and Paris, France as well as trips to Italy, Belize, and China.  

Payton also offers specialized classes in English, Math, Science, Social Studies, and Technology in addition to more standard classes. Additionally, most upper level courses offered at Payton are either honors or AP with the idea that more rigorous coursework will help to better prepare students for college. Payton is also recognized as a World Language Academy offering courses in French, Spanish, Chinese, and Latin. Most students at Payton take four years of World Languages, studying both the language itself as well as the culture, technology, and global challenges of the country. The school also offers classes in theater, band, visual arts, and choir. Furthermore, the choir often travels internationally to compete or perform and will be going to China in 2020.

In addition to excellent class offerings, the school has a range of athletics with over 20 sports including water polo, sailing, ultimate frisbee, as well as more common sports like track and field, baseball, and soccer. For more information on athletics, academic curricula, or seminars, visit the school’s website:

Lauren Lynch, Tutoring Coordinator
(312) 848-1266