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Harker School

School rating 4 / 5 by

500 Saratoga Avenue San Jose CA 95129 United States
K to 12th


Harker School review by .

I've gone to The Harker School since I was in the 3rd grade and graduated from the high school in 2009. The strengths were definitely the teachers and class sizes. The teachers truly did care about what the students had to say, how they learned, and they did everything in their power to ensure that the students were understanding the knowledge. The maximum class sizes were 20, but most were around 12-15, with the smaller classes being around 5-8. Although Harker has a great reputation for math & sciences, I have greatly noticed how much they have helped me in my basics of writing as well. While in high school, I thought my writing was mediocre in comparison to everybody else, but after graduating, I've realized that the standard at Harker was extremely high and I had exemplary writing technique in comparison to my college classmates. Harker does have its high points, but I have to say that their weaknesses are not preparing students for college in the way college is taught. Harker requires a lot of busy work through homework and projects, while in college, it is mostly about reading mass amounts of text. There is also a lot of pressure from the school to exceed, which is great, but at Harker it is very competitive so its difficult on a student if they feel like they are not doing as well as their peers. Harker capitalizes on college admission and their rankings, almost to the point where students will feel an overbearing pressure not only from themselves, their parents, but also their school, to the point where it can be too much.

College Counseling

Harker has an incredible college counseling program. When I was applying for colleges in the....

Sample insights on college counseling

  • They have contacts at most of the major universities and feel perfectly comfortable picking up the phone and advocating for a student to get accepted somewhere they feel is a good fit for that student. However, these counselors are certainly not magic bullets. They cannot guarantee that a student will get into an Ivy League university...
  • For those wishing to move on to Oxford or Cambridge, the provision is second-to-none. In the months running up to application and interview, every subject faculty offers classes (often run by former Oxbridge tutors) exploring further areas of their subject as well as offering advice on personal statements, interview technique and more...

Admissions - Getting Accepted

I entered Harker in the 3rd grade, but I do recall Harker trying to diversify....

Sample insights on admissions

  • For the interview, dress conservatively. Try to be very clean and put together. Also, I was a tour guide for two years and at the end of every tour, we were asked to evaluate the candidate so if you think the tour is not apart of the process, you are very wrong. Ask questions and be interested. Also, tip for the parents: the kids speak on the tour. Do not ask their questions for them...
  • Most younger siblings have an easy time in the admissions process. I can only think of one case of a younger sibling not being admitted. About half of the students who entered with me had come from public schools. The remainder came from private K-6 schools, or had transferred from other New York private schools The Elizabeth Morrow School and St. Bernard were two of the larger feeder schools...

School Life

Overall, there was an immense amount of pressure on students to succeed. The campus culture was very segregated into cliques divided amongst grades. Although there were cliques, it was great because since Harker was such a small school, people would be friends amongst cliques and intermingle. The student community was forced to be rather conservative, but I have a feeling that many people had liberal thoughts, but were just not allowed to voice them because Harker did usually censor their students through dress code, allowed clubs, and public voice (posters, speeches, etc had to be approved by faculty). In my....

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