Harvard-Westlake School review by Stanford University student. Let's put it this way; University academics are not rigorous at all for me after having graduated from Harvard-Westlake. Harvard-Westlake becomes very difficult starting sophomore year and one of the classes that has taught me the most was my World and Europe II class. This history class, which was essentially an AP European History course (but more difficult), is a notoriously hard class for sophomores. This class taught me how History was more than just facts; it's analyzing the past and being able to write argumentatively about it. Sophomore year English was also very difficult. Something that was very interesting for me was how what we read in English (Romanticism books such as Mary Shelley's Frankenstein, The Picture of Dorian gray by Oscar Wilde) was based off of phenemomna going on in our History classes. Moreover, this English class taught me how to look at the subtitles of a text and realize how it lead to the bigger themes/meaning of the book. I learned to analyze language in novels through diction, tone, imagery, irony, and many other literary devices. The teachers are Harvard-Westlake are very good; but beware, they grade extremely hard and expect a lot of work out of the typical student. The working environment at Harvard-Westlake is extremely competitive.
The school's approach to discipline was way too liberal. They stress the honor code and how to not cheat. However, my year this girl took a Physics C midterm before everyone else took it. This specific girl was accepted to Harvard early, so you'd expect her to not cheat since she's already into college. WRONG. She took the test and told all of her friends the questions/answers before they took it. What happens then when the school found out? The girl gets some silly punishment with a weak honor board and her admissions to Harvard is still intact (Harvard-Westlake didn't even mention the incident to Harvard). All of her friends (who are intending top notch schools such as Yale, Harvard, U of Illinois, Michigan) that asked her for the questions/answers received even lighter punishments What I find pathetic is these are the kind of kids (i.e. cheaters) that we are sending to some of the best colleges in the country? The general ethnic socio-economic background of people at Harvard-Westlake is rich, Jewish, and Asian. Tutors and houseparents are very involved in the student's academic life and push the students very hard for success.
Students typically spend over 10 hours on extracurricular actives per week. Obviously some athletes spend even more times on their respective sports. Harvard-Westlake really pushes its students to participate in extracurricular actives. I played on the freshman, JV, and Varsity soccer team. The soccer program, in my opionion, was fairly weak. The head coach was very unorganized and some of the coaches weren't "Harvard-Westlake material."