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Harvard-Westlake School - Los_Angeles, CA

Data Source:

School NameAddressPhoneGradesCountyTypeDistrict Name
Harvard-Westlake School700 North Faring Road
Los Angeles, CA 90077
(310) 274-72817-9Los Angelesprivate 

Ethnic BackgroundPercentYear
White, non-Hispanic68.73322008
Black, non-Hispanic7.210242008
Hispanic5.323452008

Students per TeacherYear
5.117242008

School Head OfficialYear
Mr. John Amato2008

DateWhoComments
6/25/2012parentP.S. -- (I just wrote the previous email) -- both of my children graduated from HW and attended the colleges of their choice. No, they weren't Ivy League material in terms of academic achievement -- far from it. And yes, there most certainly is a slightly more relaxed game board for on which some legacy kids play in order to enter the most selective colleges. But that fact is not Harvard-Westlake's fault. (Also, don't forget -- in order for any campus to be truly diverse, wealthy families are needed there as well as others from all walks of life. Their generosity is the very reason my own kids have been able to obtain their education from private high schools and colleges.) In terms of college counseling, my kids were very well handled at HW, and they happily attended colleges that fit them perfectly. The whole reason why HW attracts so many wealthy families is that it's the very best at what it does -- period. If the school's administration was truly guilty of pandering to the rich and ignoring the poor, the school wouldn't continue to flourish as it does. I think so many people have a sour-grapes attitude because unfortunately, HW can't take everyone.
5/24/2012otherAs a former student the post that reads "kids are overwhelmed, overworked, etc.." pretty much hits the nail on the head. The previous two are obviously caught up in status and social climbing. Who picks a high school to make connections? And the previous post mentioning that, their son, like his friends, is rich and there are renown families attending. Which unfortunately is prevalent at HW, but it is at almost any private school in LA. After all, this is LA! Bottom line, anyone that says or writes that they just started HW and it is not that difficult, is not a 10th - 12th grader or on a lower academic track. Otherwise, it's a BURN OUT and anyone that is honest, will concur. Especially after they receive their average college acceptance if they are not a legacy, ethnically diverse or an athlete applying! Remember parents, you are choosing a place for your child to grow emotionally and intellectually. Not a place for them to rub elbows with rich and famous or try to outwit the Ivy Admissions (which isn't going to happen). Bottom line: your child only one opportunity to be a teenager, allow your high school student to be a teenager not a burnt out college student prematurely!
5/21/2012parentMy son started this year. Despite many doom-and-gloom stories, I personally found the administration, faculty, students and the academic incomparable and beyond expectation. My son was always hailed as somewhat super-bright until he entered HW. Though he struggled with his time-management and organization skills that affected his grades, he is learning so much, and his friends are rich yet mature, and lots of fun, like my son. I think, just because the school is located in the middle of L.A. rather than in the east coast, people often mistake HW to be just another private school. Beware! It is a college prep school, ranked 12 in the U. S. that draws the top students and renown families beyond the U.S. The #12 ranking, however, does not mean it is the 12th most rigorous school, but just that based on the size of the endowment and college matriculation, student/teacher ratio, etc. it is ranked #12 by Forbes magazine. My child went to a small private elementary school. Despite its small size, it had unending problems and issues with the administration. In contrast, HW is so much bigger, but runs without a hitch. I give this school 6 stars.
3/26/2012otherI went there for 6 years. The connections you make will last a lifetime. College seemed just like another grade for me since I was prepared academically so well. No huge adjustment. The only reason I am not giving it 5 stars is because there is a snobbery element there. But that is too be expected.
6/28/2011otherit the best school i have ever seen in my life. i dont think it can get better than this
5/14/2011otherI'm a new student there this year. It's competitive, but not better than two other private schools that I've been enrolled. Overall the money spent for tuition is NOT worth it. Lot's of the students at Harvard-Westlake school are just plain rich with no concept to money value. And there's a lot of pressure to spend more money for oversea trips.
3/13/2011parentOne of the top prep schools in the U.S. (Forbes). Competitive colleges may not be confident that an A in most high schools means an A for them, but they can rely on the accuracy of a HW GPA to predict college performance. Add in high avg SAT scores and you get the most competitive school in L.A. Also, the number of National Merit Scholars is amazingly high. Scholarships are available, but not to the extent of need-blind colleges (approx 10% of the student body). The choice of programs is so wide that one would have thought, given our two children's different interests, that they attended two different schools. And had we a third child, a different HW might have awaited him. The common denominator is students who work extremely hard with good time management skills. While intelligent wealthy children fill up a substantial proportion of the student body, only those who can endure the academic demands stick it out. Problematic students will not get through the program merely due to wealth. Another parent provided reasonably accurate stats on admission to top colleges; most of the others go to colleges just below that level, so the outcome is good for most who can graduate.
3/12/2011parentAdministration is very unfriendly and snobbish. The students are overworked and many are unhappy with the teachers. Money plays a big role in your social status. Better save your money to good college tuition than spend $40K a year!.
12/1/2010othergreat school with perfect location and preparation for entrance into college of top tier. performing arts, musical arts, and athletics all top class
3/2/2010studentI love this school! I have a lot of friends including many of the teachers. At Harvard-Westlake, you can be who you want to be, do what you want to do without hesitation and with support from friends and faculty no matter who you are or where you come from. As a Harvard-Westlake student, your teachers do have high expectations, but ones easy enough to reach because of the quality of the teachers and the way the academics are taught. This school is truly amazing and a great choice for any student who wishes to excel in school and succeed in life
12/16/2009parentThis is an amazing school with a ton of opportunities. Sure, it is hard to get in and very demanding, but Harvard-Westlake teaches you life long skills and actually prepares you for the real world. Alumni have come back to Harvard-Westlake saying 'College is so much easier!'
11/2/2009parentHarvard Westlake is an absolutely extraordinary educational institution in virtually every regard--competitive? Very--but there are no secrets when going through the admissions process. It's not right for everyone, and certainly best for those kids who set their own bar high and who have a solid work ethic. It is possible to 'do it all' at HW: play 3 competitive sports, play an instrument, be involved in student government; but solid time management skills are a must. The sense of accomplishment when success is achieved is incredible to watch!
5/4/2009studentThe students care about the community and are generally well rounded kids. Sometimes they focus too much on clothes or money, but they always straighten out in the end. The teachers are amazing and are dedicated to helping the students master their subjects. Best school ever!
4/16/2009parentI attended this school many years ago, and I am thrilled that my daughter is now attending. The academic work is demanding but the teachers are dedicated to helping the students master their subjects. Students have a number of free hours throughout the week, and the wise ones spend this time either studying or, better yet, meeting with the teachers to resolve problem areas. Several of the sports teams are 'state championship' class, and it is very difficult to get a place on these teams. Others, however are 'no cut' so everyone can find their place. In terms of the arts, this school is unsurpassed. The middle school has a newly completed arts complex. The auditorium includes a stage with orchestra pit. Orchestra, band, and dance all have their own sound-isolated practice areas. While the upper school campus is a bit dated, the middle school looks like a small college.
3/3/2009studentThe academic standards are high and the facilities are beautiful. Unfortunately, in my experience as a student at HW, it quickly became evident that the student body was not selected for intelligence or character, but for the amount of money that their parents earned. I would never choose such a status-conscious environment for my own children and I regret making the choice to attend HW myself.
2/15/2009studentHarvard- Westlake is a wonderful school. The environment is very energetic and friendly. Courses are molded to fit each and every student instead of having them forced into certain courses. The people are very caring and helpful. While HW does offer some of the best academics in the country, it is also just a regular high school. We all learn values, morals, and leadership skills. Harvard Westlake is a great school if you are motivated, driven, determined, and have goals. While there is work involved it is worth every moment because Harvard Westlake lives up to its name when they say college preparatory. I love Harvard-Westlake and could not imagine going anywhere else.
12/9/2008parentIt's unfortunate that a school with such high academic standards fails to teach ethical standards. Success isn't the name of the school on your diploma or your car hood ornament, or the high GPA that you cheated to get, but HV's culture rewards status rather than character. Such a shame.
9/15/2008parentI have two children in the upper school at Harvard-Westlake and they couldn't be happy. The instructors are top notch, the administration is responsive and caring, and the student body is inspiring, motivated, and diverse. The clubs and extra curricular activities are endless. There is something for everyone. It is easy for a child to find a group of friends, since the student body is actually larger than most private schools. Whether you are an athlete, an intellectual, a musician, an actor/actress. or into Mock Trial or Model United Nations, it is easy to find a group of kids with the same interest. There is absolutely no grade inflation here - you get what you earn. It is extremely fair, and all students are treated equally. The college deans are an absolute gem. It is as if your child is their child. They are so dedicated to what they do.
9/2/2008studentthe high standards and level of competition at hw keeps students from learning about themselves and giving back to he world. priorities are mixed up, many students aim for grades and money rather than happiness and generosity.
8/21/2008parentMy son just started a year ago, but we've been very impressed so far. We were a little concerned about sending him because we're not a family of means; we receive a very generous aid package. But my son's friends are decent and down-to-earth. It's just not a big deal that his house is small and not in the best part of the city. The administration, faculty, and staff have always been professional, caring, and dedicated. And the facilities are amazing. Yes, it's a lot of work at times, but the education is absolutely first-rate.
4/29/2008parentWe live in the area. Our children went to HW for 2 years. The friends they were bringing home from Harvard Westlake were rather 'full of themselves.' Even the students who were not exactly intelligent, would like to have you believe that they were doing much better than they were. They would tell you such any time they had a chance. It is unfortunate that such a great group of kids feel they have to cheat on test just to be accepted. Several of the teachers at HW are stellar and above and beyond. We just could not figure out why this school churns out so many cookie cutter, cut throat, rude, and obnoxious humanes. Wasn't our cup of tea.
2/27/2008otherStudents who come out of Harvard-Westlake are well intelligent and overall well rounded. They are incredible young adults.
12/24/2007parentThe best school I have ever seen.
4/20/2007parentIt is one of the three best schools in the country. Simply stated, you never need to explain why your son or daughter went to HW. Other parents will always try to justify why their children 'decided' not to go there. Everything a bright kid could need to launch them into a stellar future.
5/1/2006teacherAs a teacher, I can say that I consider H Dub, as the kids call it, a terrific place for students to grow, to learn, and to thrive. My students seem truly happy and it's my goal to keep them feeling that way!
4/7/2006former studentGreat school for academic kid
3/26/2006former studentI went to Westlake from my sophomore to senior years. The education was top rate with the best instructors available. Westlake was very demanding academically and prepared students to excel later in life. Extracurricular activities abounded and parental participation was extremely high. I would highly recommend Westlake to anyone.
6/7/2005parentSimply the best college prep school in California. Students matriculate to the best schools in the nation, with approx 30% going to Ivy league schools, 11% to UC Berkeley - that's almost half the class of 275-280 kids. High academic workload, excellent sports integration with the entire student body considered student athletes if they desire. Many state champion sports teams over the past ten years. Excellent music, chorale and instrument, drama programs. Arts programs often tour around the world on vacations. Very supportive faculty and administration, very available to each student and family. Parent involvement at a level each could be comfortable with, but not academic. High financial committment, but actually average for private schools in LA. Have sent and are still sending three kids through HW, and have no regrets.
4/5/2005former studentSpeaking as a local, most consider Harvard-Westlake the best school in the Los Angeles area. Academics are top notch with a college matriculation record that places more kids in the Ivy League and Stanford than any other. The facilities are fantastic. The lower school campus (the old Westlake School for Girls campus) is truly beautiful in the heart of Holmby Hills. Truly the best of LA. No question that other High Schools in the area try to compete with the standards of this school. The campus' and curriculum is diverse; they have a first rate sports program. Parent involvement is high (since most are VERY thankful that their kids attend the school).
1/24/2005teacherExtremely challenging curriculum, helped my child get 3 Ivy League scholarships. The students and teachers and very involved.


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