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Harvard-Westlake School

Student rating 5/ 5 by Cornell University student
3700 Coldwater Canyon North Hollywood CA 91604 United States

Academic

Harvard-Westlake Schoolreview by Cornell University student. Harvard-Westlake School provides without a doubt unparalleled quality of academic instruction. Each department is top-notch, the students superior in erudition to their peers elsewhere, and the teachers appropriate for the university level. Competition is not at all cutthroat is it might be at other respected prep schools, but instead success is usually prefaced by spontaneous and voluntary study groups and sharing of knowledge. Learning is what you make it. At a cursory level, the small class sizes might cater to what is deemed an "exam factory", but given the proper initiative each student can seize opportunities such as Independent Study and learn for the sake of learning.

College Counseling

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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

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Sample insights on admissions
  • "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 transfered from other New York private schools The Elizabeth Morrow School and St. Bernard's were two of the larger feeder schools…"
  • "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. Don't ask their questions for them because their evaluation will be affected by the fact that the guides didn't hear a thing from the kid…"

School Life

The cafeteria is excellent, with a wide vary of ethnic food, a sandwich bar, and a slushee machine. The neighborhood is decidedly upper-middle class, with next door access to Ventura Blvd. and its restaurants and shops. The student body is almost entirely Jewish and Asian, but diversity is attempted by the administration in recruiting African Americans. The administration's most recent triumph was recruiting its first Muslim student.

Although certain sports have less than enviable track records, it's not because of lack of quality in the coaching staff. The constantly losing Track & Field team has several Olympians. However, the Basketball and Water Polo teams have produced many NCAA stars. Similarly, every other extracurricular program is top-notch, as it to be expected. The Performing Arts department is particularly notable, and regularly features cameo appearances by celebrity alumni and parents (ex: Peter Gallagher, Steven Spielberg, and Jake Gylenhaal)