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Harvard-Westlake School

School rating 4 / 5 by

3700 Coldwater Canyon North Hollywood CA 91604 United States
7th to 12th


Harvard-Westlake School review by .

Academics at Harvard-Westlake are notoriously rigorous, with particular strengths in the math, science, and history departments. That's not to say that other departments are lacking in any way, but these departments generally gain national recognition year after year. Scores in AP classes are among the highest in the nation, and students regularly participate in independent studies with teachers once they have exhausted all of the normally taught curriculum. Teaching is mostly traditional and is founded on question-based lectures. While some may favor a discussion based format, Harvard-Westlake's style prepares students for a similar college environment. While students are competitive, they become very close after years of work at Harvard-Westlake. Students are forced into close contact in small classes, hovering around 15 people. For students who struggle at Harvard-Westlake, and almost all do at some point, teachers and peer tutors are there to help. Students usually balance school with an extracurricular activity, followed by hours of homework. Ultimately, the ordeal is worth it. Nearly every student who returns to Los Angeles after a year at school says the same thing: "College is so much easier than Harvard-Westlake."

College Counseling

College advising at Harvard-Westlake begins sophomore year with a detailed plan of what students intend....

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

Admissions to Harvard-Westlake are very competitive, but certain steps can improve a prospective student's chances.....

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

Students at Harvard-Westlake enjoy one of the most independent campus atmospheres imaginable. Students are given free periods that allow them the chance to socialize or go off campus if they are seniors. There are plenty of quiet places to study, but most students choose to relax during free periods. The neighborhood is safe and great for students, with a variety of food choices within walking distance. Campus facilities rival those of some colleges, especially in the science department. Much can be said about a school that has an electron microscope in a biology classroom. In such a stressful environment, students....

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