Below are all the Frequently Asked Questions available to you.
Seventh and ninth grades are the two main admission points into Harvard-Westlake. Two hundred fifteen spaces are available in the seventh grade, and approximately seventy-five new students are accepted into the ninth grade as we add to the class. We do not anticipate having any openings in the eighth grade for the 2018–2019 school year. Depending upon total school enrollment, between ten and fifteen students are admitted into the tenth grade. Applications for admission to the eleventh and twelfth grades are only considered in special circumstances, such as a student’s family moving from out of state.
The number varies from year to year, but we usually anticipate three to four applicants for each opening in the seventh grade and approximately four to five applicants for every ninth grade opening.
Harvard-Westlake recognizes the desirability of enrolling brothers and sisters. However, what is right for one child may not be right for his or her sibling. Siblings will only be admitted if they have demonstrated qualities likely to lead to their success at Harvard-Westlake. Siblings of current students and children of alumni and legacy families who have sustained a positive relationship with the school since graduating will be given preference when all other factors are equal. Admission to Harvard-Westlake is not guaranteed, so it is strongly recommended that all applicants apply to other schools as well. As a result of the increased competitiveness for both seventh and ninth grade spaces, unfortunately every year more sibling/legacy families are disappointed. Harvard–Westlake recognizes the desirability of enrolling brothers and sisters. However, what is right for one child may not be the right school for his or her sibling. Siblings will only be admitted if they have demonstrated qualities likely to lead to their success at Harvard–Westlake. Siblings of current students and children of alumni and legacy families who have sustained a positive relationship with the school since graduating will be given preference when all other factors are equal. In addition to applying to Harvard–Westlake, it is strongly recommended that all families apply to other schools because admission to Harvard–Westlake is not guaranteed. As a result of the increased competitiveness for both 7th and 9th grade spaces, every year more sibling/legacy families are disappointed as their applications have not been equal to others.
Sibling and legacy applicants are strongly encouraged to take the ISEE by December. Sibling/legacy families should refer to the information sheet for sibling/legacy applicants and call the Admission Office if they have further questions.
Harvard–Westlake prides itself on the diversity of its student body. We seek to enroll students from a variety of schools and backgrounds. This past year, we offered places to students from nearly 110 different schools, including public, religious, independent, and foreign schools.
Admission to Harvard–Westlake is competitive. We are looking for bright and active students who have the ability to contribute to the school community and have the potential to be successful and happy at Harvard–Westlake. We consider the following: the information given on the application; the student’s academic records, essay, and test scores; the teachers’ and school’s recommendations; the student’s talents, character, and leadership qualities; and information gathered during the interview at Harvard–Westlake.
Each applicant is reviewed by at least two faculty members and discussed by the Admission Committee, which is comprised of deans, school administrators, faculty and members of the admission staff. No one factor is weighted more than another as the Admission Committee considers whether an applicant is a good fit for Harvard–Westlake. The school seeks to create a diverse community of engaged learners.
Test scores are only one aspect of a student’s file. Because we accept children from so many different elementary and junior high schools, these scores illuminate a child’s academic record and provide a standardized measure for the Admission Committee. Our experience has shown that students who routinely score below the median on standardized tests, normed for independent schools, are likely to struggle with the Harvard-Westlake curriculum. However, a broad range of test scores exists among those students accepted by Harvard-Westlake, and we do not have a cutoff point for admission.
More information about the ISEE Test...
Students applying for the seventh grade must turn twelve by the end of seventh grade. For the 2018-2019 school year, students must turn twelve by July 1, 2019.
We strongly recommend that you apply to another school where your child will be happy should he or she not be admitted to Harvard-Westlake. Admission is not guaranteed, and unfortunately each year some families are surprised and disappointed with the decision.
The application deadline is January 16, 2018. Our office will not be sending decision letters by mail. Seventh grade admission decisions will be available online at 5:00 p.m. on March 16, 2018, to those seventh grade applicants whose files were completed by the deadline. Ninth and tenth grade admission decisions will be available online at 5:00 p.m. on March 9, 2018, to those ninth and tenth grade applicants whose files were completed by the deadline.
Although Harvard-Westlake has two separate campuses, we are one school. If a student's academic and behavioral record is satisfactory, he or she will automatically be enrolled in the upper school.
Most spaces at Harvard–Westlake will be filled by students who apply by the deadline of January 16, 2018. Applicants who complete their applications after this date will only be considered for the waitlist.
Yes. You may send a link to the performance via email to firstname.lastname@example.org. Please include the applicant's name, his or her voice part/instrument, and the musical selections in the body of the email.
Yes, the Admission office will accept the following CSSAD (Consortium of Secondary School Admission Directors) common recommendation and transcript request forms:
CSSAD Administrator Recommendation Form
CSSAD English Teacher Recommendation Form
CSSAD Math Teacher Recommendation Form
CSSAD Transcript Request Form
Harvard-Westlake admits international students who move here with their parents and intend to complete their secondary education through the twelfth grade in our academic program. Since we do not offer a program in English as a Second Language (ESL), students need to be completely fluent in English for reading, speaking, and composition. Harvard-Westlake is a day school and does not offer any boarding or homestay arrangements. Students need to move here with their family and live with their parents.
Tuition for the 2017-18 school year is $37,100, with a new student fee of $2,000. Other expenses—which include books, transportation, meals, and class activities—typically average $2,000 to $4,000 (the latter for those who take advantage of the school’s comprehensive bus service). 2018-19 tuition and new student fees will be set by the Board of Trustees and announced in the acceptance letters.
Absolutely. For the 2017-18 academic year, a total of $11 million, representing more than 14% of the school’s entire operating budget, has been committed to aid. Approximately 300 students, nearly 20% of the student body, will be served, with average grants of $27,000. Harvard-Westlake awards grants to families who demonstrate financial need. Grants are awarded on the basis of the Parents' Financial Statement and the Harvard-Westlake School Financial Aid Committee's review.
Harvard-Westlake has a strong commitment to students with diverse socioeconomic backgrounds. Families who do not apply for aid at the time of their application will be much less likely to receive aid in a subsequent year.
Please click here for more information about tuition and financial aid.
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Harvard-Westlake has an agreement set forth by students, faculty, and administrators that states middle school students are allowed no more than 30 to 40 minutes of homework per academic subject per night. Although a stated policy, not every teacher gives the maximum amount of homework every night. Students average 1 1/2 to 2 1/2 hours of homework per night, but most utilize their free periods during the day to work on homework and meet with teachers, which minimizes their evening workload. The homework for upper school students varies depending on their coursework.
Harvard-Westlake School is larger than most independent schools in the area, with a total enrollment of 730 on the middle school campus and 850 students on the upper school campus. Seventh and eighth grades have approximately 220 students per grade, and ninth through twelfth grades have approximately 290 students each. While the size of each grade is large for an independent school, the number of students in each classroom is small, usually no more than 15 to 17. The student-teacher ratio is 8:1, and two deans are assigned to each grade in the middle school. Deans serve as student advocates and help students both socially and behaviorally, encouraging communication among students, teachers and parents and ensuring that students never feel lost. In the upper school, each student is individually assigned a dean, who will eventually serve as his or her college counselor.
The size of the school also allows Harvard-Westlake to provide a range of academic, athletic, artistic, and extracurricular opportunities. Students can select from an impressive array of subjects and activities, including 32 Advanced Placement courses, 95 teams in 28 different sports, over 60 clubs, and extensive artistic and community service opportunities perhaps only available at a school of our size.
Lunch periods are not scheduled for students. Instead, students eat during one of their free periods. Seventh and eighth graders are encouraged to use the free period after Physical Education class to eat lunch. Students may bring lunches or purchase hot food, sandwiches, salads, drinks, and snacks at the cafeteria. The cafeteria is open from 7:30 a.m. until 3:30 p.m. Students purchase food with their ID cards, and charges are billed monthly.
Harvard-Westlake hosts an optional summer program called Fast Start for all seventh graders and all new ninth graders during the last week of August, a week before school starts. About 95% of the students participate. During the program, students can set up their class schedules if they have not already done so, and they take miniclasses to get a feel of what a typical day would be like at Harvard-Westlake. Fast Start also serves as a great opportunity for new students to make friends, meet their classmates, teachers, and deans, and become comfortable with the campus surroundings before the entire middle school returns to campus.
In addition, during a week in October, each grade takes a week off from school to attend a class retreat. Seventh graders visit local sites in and around Los Angeles and spend one night camping at a local campsite, eighth graders camp overnight at Pali Mountain, and ninth graders camp and canoe down the Colorado River. Retreats provide another opportunity for students to make friends and get to know teachers, as well as encourage team building and class unity.
A free period is a period during which no class has been scheduled. The Middle School schedule follows a six-day cycle where academic classes—English, history, math, language, and science—meet on five days each cycle. The period when an academic class does not meet is called an X (free) Period. The X Period is first and foremost a learning period. During this time, students may be asked to meet with their teachers to work on projects or work in the library. Once academic responsibilities have been met, students may use their X Period as a time during which they may choose the activity in which they will engage.
Harvard–Westlake does not require its students to wear a uniform. There is an informal dress code to the extent that students are expected to be appropriately and neatly attired. Clothing must be clean, tidy, in good repair, and in good taste.
Harvard-Westlake is a nondenominational independent institution. Both a rabbi and an Episcopal chaplain are on the faculty and available to students. Both lead religious activities for interested students and faculty.
At the middle school, school begins Monday through Friday at 8:00 a.m. On Monday, the school day ends at 3:15 p.m. Tuesday through Friday, the school day ends at 3:05 p.m. There are nine periods scheduled each day, and each class is 40 minutes long. In addition, there is a 30-minute assembly period each Monday when the entire middle school community meets. Often, this time is used to showcase student talent or bring an outside speaker or performer to campus. On Tuesday through Friday, students have a 25-minute activity period, during which many clubs meet. Clubs range from more academic ones such as MathCounts, Mock Trial, and the Robotics Club to special interest clubs such as Chess, Sudoku, and Knitting.
At the upper school, school begins Monday through Friday at 8:00 a.m. On Monday, the school day ends at 3:10 p.m. Tuesday through Friday, the school day ends at 2:35 p.m.
Yes. Harvard-Westlake students arrive on campus from all over the Greater Los Angeles Area through a daily bus service. All service is provided on a shared-cost, nonprofit basis, and we serve all areas that generate ridership sufficient to cover costs. Current middle school routes serve: Pacific Palisades, San Vicente/Sunset, Los Feliz/Hancock Park, Westchester/Ladera Heights/Cheviot Hills, West San Fernando Valley (Agoura/Calabasas), North San Fernando Valley (Chatsworth/Northridge), and East San Fernando Valley (Arcadia/Pasadena). Additional areas may be served if ridership interest warrants (40 students are needed to operate a route). Pickup and drop-off points are located on major arteries to minimize total ride time. Riders have a choice of two afternoon buses each day; the early bus departs after classes and the late bus departs at the conclusion of most after-school sports and activities. Some interscholastic games and events may end later, so students may sometimes have to make alternate transportation arrangements.
For Middle School bus information, please click here.
For Upper School bus information, please click here.
Students in grades 7–9 attend school on the middle school campus located at 700 North Faring Road, tucked into the neighborhood just north of Sunset Boulevard and east of Beverly Glen Boulevard in Holmby Hills. Students in grades 10–12 attend school on the upper school campus in Studio City, just south of Ventura Boulevard on Coldwater Canyon Avenue.
Yes, the deans at Harvard-Westlake are trained to help students with both academic goals and personal issues, which are kept in confidence. Their first priority is to help students thrive at Harvard-Westlake, and their offices are always open.
The Harvard-Westlake scheduling system allows students to explore numerous activities and discover their passions. There are dozens of existing clubs to join, and creating a new one is easy. There’s also at least one no-cut sport per season, so anyone can play. As long as students manage their time well, they have many opportunities to get involved.