We are looking for kind, curious, and engaged students who are eager to contribute to our school community. We consider the information given on the application; the student's academic records, writing, and test scores; teachers and school recommendations; the student's talents, aspirations, character, and leadership qualities; and information gathered during the interview with a member of the Harvard-Westlake community. There is no single factor that determines a decision on an applicant. The school seeks to create a diverse community of engaged learners and citizens ready for their next adventure.
The two main entry points into Harvard-Westlake are seventh and ninth grade. Approximately 215 spaces are available in the seventh grade, and approximately 90 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 2024-2025 school year. Depending upon total school enrollment each year, approximately 5-10 students are admitted into the 10th grade. Applications for admission to the 11th and 12th grades are only considered in special circumstances, such as a student's family moving from out of the area.
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.
Tuition for the 2023-2024 school year is $46,900, with a new student fee of $2,000. Other expenses — which include books, transportation, meals, and class activities — typically average $2,500 to $5,000 (the latter for those who take advantage of the school's comprehensive bus service). 2024-2025 tuition and new student fees will be set by the Board of Trustees and announced in the acceptance letters.
Visit the Tuition Information page for more details
Absolutely. Harvard-Westlake's financial aid program broadens our reach and increases the excellence of our school. We are committed to enrolling students from all economic backgrounds. For the 2021-2022 academic year, the school's budget for financial aid is $13.8 million, about 15% of the school's operating expenses. Approximately 20% of the student body receives aid, and the average tuition responsibility per student is $11,600. All grants are based on demonstrated financial need.
Please note: While Harvard-Westlake maintains a small fund to assist families who suffer unforeseen financial reversals, students who do not apply for aid at the time of admission are not eligible for aid later.
Visit Financial Aid at HW for more information
Harvard-Westlake recognizes the desirability of enrolling siblings and other family members. However, what is right for one child may not be right for another child. Siblings will only be admitted if they have demonstrated qualities likely to lead to their success at Harvard-Westlake. Admission to Harvard-Westlake is not guaranteed; we strongly recommend that all applicants apply to other schools as well.
Harvard-Westlake has always been committed to a holistic admission process, with the Admission Committee considering all aspects of an application file. With that in mind, Harvard-Westlake is continuing our test-optional policy for students applying in the 2023-24 admission cycle. This means that standardized test scores are not required, though applicants may still choose to submit them. Test results have always only been just one factor we consider in gaining a clearer academic picture of each applicant as they provide one opportunity to present a student’s academic potential and preparedness, but this potential can also be represented in other parts of the application. We will not make any assumptions as to why some students may choose to submit a test score and some don't. There will be no penalty for choosing not to submit scores, and applicants who do not submit scores will not be disadvantaged in any way in our admission process.
For students who choose to submit ISEE scores as part of their application, score reports must be submitted from tests taken between August 1, 2023 and January 12, 2024. You can register on the Educational Records Bureau (ERB) website, www.erblearn.org, and list Harvard-Westlake as a score recipient. Our school code is 052135.
Please review the Submit Standardized Testing portion for more information about ISEE testing.
Although Harvard-Westlake has two separate campuses, we are one school. If a student's academic and behavioral record is satisfactory, they will automatically be enrolled in the Upper School.
Students applying for the seventh grade must turn 12 by the end of seventh grade. For the 2024-2025 school year, students must turn 12 by July 1, 2025.
Admission to Harvard-Westlake is competitive. We strongly recommend that you apply to another school where your child will be happy should they not be admitted to Harvard-Westlake.
Most spaces at Harvard-Westlake will be filled by students who apply by the deadline of January 12, 2024. Applicants who begin their application process after this date will only be considered for the waitlist.
The application deadline is January 12, 2024 at 11:59 p.m. PT. Our office does not send decision letters by mail. Admission decisions will be available online for applicants to all grades on March 8, 2024 at 5:00p.m. PT.
Yes. You may send a link, video clip, photo, or PDF document via email to firstname.lastname@example.org. Please include the applicant's name, and details about the submission in the body of the email (ex: which instrument they're playing, jersey number, etc.). We ask that videos not be longer than 5-7 minutes in length. As a reminder, we also will accept one additional supplemental letter of recommendation to add to an applicant's file.
Please submit any optional supplemental materials before the Application and Supporting Materials deadline of January 12, 2024.
Harvard-Westlake prides itself on the diversity of its student body. We seek to enroll students from a variety of schools and backgrounds. More than 240 different schools, including public, religious, independent, and international schools, send students to Harvard-Westlake.
Harvard-Westlake admits international students who move here with their parents and intend to complete their secondary education through the 12th 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 writing. 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.
Yes, the Admission office will accept the following LAIS (Los Angeles Independent Schools) common recommendation and transcript request forms:
LAIS Administrative Recommendation Form
LAIS English Teacher Recommendation Form
LAIS Math Teacher Recommendation Form
LAIS Transcript Request Form
Students in grades 7, 8, and 9 attend the Middle School, 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, 11, and 12 attend the Upper School, located in Studio City, just south of Ventura Boulevard on Coldwater Canyon Avenue.
Yes. Harvard-Westlake students arrive on campus from 27 distinct routes throughout the greater Los Angeles area. All service is provided on a shared-cost, nonprofit basis, and we serve all areas that generate ridership sufficient to cover costs. Current 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). Pick-up 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.
View Middle School bus information >
View Upper School bus information >
At the Middle School with its six-day rotating cycle, the schedule begins at 8:00 a.m. Monday through Friday. On Monday, the school day ends at 3:15 p.m., while 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.
At the Upper School with its six-day rotating cycle, the schedule typically begins at 8:00 a.m. Monday through Friday. One late start day occurs on every Day 3 of the six-day cycle. Classes meet for a 75-minute block every other day, and community time (including a common break and a common lunch) occurs every day. Co-curricular activities begin at 3:15 p.m.
View a sample middle school schedule for grade 7 and grade 9
View an overview of the upper school schedule
Lunch periods are built into each student's schedule; however, a student may eat during any of their free periods or during their activities/break period. Seventh and eighth graders have their lunch period scheduled after Physical Education. Ninth through twelfth graders have a lunch period scheduled during the course of the day. 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.
A free period is a period during which no class has been scheduled. The Middle School schedule follows a six-day cycle wherein academic classes — English, history, math, world language, and science — meet on five days in 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 meet with their teachers, work on projects with other students, or work individually in the library or other places on campus. Once academic responsibilities have been met, students may use their X period as they choose.
Yes, the school offers several levels of student support beginning with grade level deans. Deans are academic and guidance counselors, and their first priority is to help students thrive at Harvard-Westlake. Each campus also has learning specialists, dedicated counselors, and there are psychologists on staff. Balance and wellness are priorities at Harvard-Westlake.
Harvard-Westlake does not require its students to wear a uniform. There is a 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.
Harvard-Westlake has an agreement set forth by students, faculty, and administrators that states middle school students are allowed no more than 30 to 45 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 about 1,620 students (approximately 745 on the Middle School and 875 on the Upper School). Seventh and eighth grades have approximately 215 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 16, and the student-teacher ratio is 8:1. In the Middle School, the seventh grade and eighth grade each are assigned two deans, and the ninth grade is assigned three deans. Deans serve as student advocates and help students academically, socially, and emotionally, encouraging communication among students, teachers, and parents/guardians. In the Upper School, each student is individually assigned a dean, who will eventually serve as the student's 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 25 Advanced Placement courses, over 90 teams in 28 different sports, numerous clubs, and extensive artistic and community service opportunities perhaps only available at a school of our size.
Harvard-Westlake hosts a recommended, but optional, summer program called Fast Start for all seventh graders and all new ninth graders in August before school begins. About 95% of students participate. During the program, students take mini-classes to get a feel for 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 in the Middle School takes a week off from school to attend a class retreat. Seventh graders travel to El Capitan, eighth graders travel to Joshua Tree or Catalina Island, 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.
The Harvard-Westlake schedule allows students to explore numerous activities and discover their passions. There are more than 100 existing clubs to join, and creating a new one is easy. There is also at least one no-cut sport per season on each campus, so anyone can play. As long as students manage their time well, they have many opportunities to get involved.
Approximately 21% of the student body receives financial aid. Tuition grants, awarded for demonstrated need, average 71% of tuition (approx. $33,000 this year). Families from a wide range of income levels have qualified for assistance based on individual family circumstances, and Harvard-Westlake strives to meet 100 percent of demonstrated need for each student it enrolls.
First, consider the true cost of an independent school education. Tuition in 2023-24 is $46,900. This means roughly $52,400 including books, lunches, transportation, and other costs.
Calculate your ability to cover these costs. If you are counting on gifts from relatives, it is important to discuss with them whether or not they can maintain that help over the course of your child’s career at Harvard-Westlake. Loans are not advisable for secondary education.
If you think you might need financial aid, the time to apply is during the admission process.
The financial aid application process, although separate and distinct, runs concurrently to the admission application process. Be sure to note that the deadline for new applicants is January 12, 2024 at 11:59 p.m. PT. Visit our Financial Aid at Harvard-Westlake page for more information.
Harvard-Westlake is committed to admitting and enrolling as many qualified students as we can. Though we do have a sizable financial aid budget, it is finite. Because we have more qualified applicants than we have the means to fund, our current reality is that we do not have the resources to fund all applicants.
No. When a family submits a “full-pay” application to Harvard-Westlake, this communicates that the family will be capable of covering all educational costs for the upcoming year and the foreseeable future. The school budgets accordingly and commits its limited financial aid funds to other families. Although Harvard-Westlake maintains modest emergency funds for families that request aid subsequent to admission, those funds are strictly reserved for families that encounter dramatic, unforeseeable financial reversals after matriculation. No funds are available for families with pre-existing needs not disclosed at the time of admission. Because the financial aid budget is finite and assistance often spans multiple years, the school does not award aid to families who did not apply for aid at the time of admission, except, as noted, in the case of dramatic, unforeseeable financial reversals. If such financial crises occur during the application process families should notify the financial aid office immediately.
The Harvard-Westlake Financial Aid office makes all final decisions on grants. Beginning Fall 2023, Harvard-Westlake will use Clarity to collect information and tax forms. A link to Clarity will be available here once the 2023-2024 admission cycle begins in the Fall.
We believe all parents have an obligation to contribute to their children’s education. We cannot be bound by the assertion that one parent has disclaimed legally or otherwise any responsibility for educational expenses. If either parent has remarried, we will consider the income and assets of the step-parent, keeping in mind the obligation of that step-parent to their children. If either parent lives in a household with another adult, we may consider the assets of that person.
Requests to not consider a missing parent need to be confirmed by a third party, usually associated with the court.
We believe that families bear the primary responsibility for the education of their children, therefore we expect both parents to contribute to the cost of tuition. If a parent is not working for pay, additional income equal to tuition will be imputed into the tuition calculation. This policy attempts to account for income a parent could earn by choosing to work.
Exceptions to this policy may occur if a parent is caring for a child not yet of school age, a child with a disability, a seriously ill child, parent, or grandparent, or if a parent is disabled and cannot work. Each application is evaluated individually.
You must apply for aid at the time the younger sibling applies for admission. The financial aid application must be for both children, and if the younger child is admitted and you qualify for aid, both children will receive the same tuition grant.
Other K-12 and undergraduate tuitions you pay are figured into our calculations of need, but in order to receive aid from us you must apply for aid at all schools your children attend. We do not consider graduate school tuition while calculating a financial aid grant.
In addition to the tuition grant, financial aid covers all required materials and activities (including trips) for classes, athletic teams, and school-sponsored groups. All students on aid receive a $1,400 draw account for use in the cafeteria and school bookstore at the student’s discretion. The school also provides full or partial support for computers. Families on aid are also eligible for partial transportation costs. The financial aid office also supports “seasonal’ costs such as Homecoming, student dances and formals, and senior year special items. Need-based funds for Harvard-Westlake summer school, external travel-study trips, and various academic and leadership programs are also available. We believe that all students on aid should participate fully in the life of the school. On average, the school allots $6,500 of supplemental aid per student per year.
Families who receive financial make ten tuition payments from July to April at no additional charge.
No. We do not give academic, athletic, or other merit scholarships. Financial aid at Harvard-Westlake is completely need-based.
Yes. The school evaluates financial aid awards annually. The Financial Aid Office will contact you directly with instructions on how to reapply for financial aid and with due dates. If you are a current HW family who does not currently receive financial aid from the school but are interested in applying, please contact the Financial Aid Office directly.
Tuition grants are announced with acceptance notices in March. The grant amount and detailed information will be included in the online contract.
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Director of Financial Aid
Associate Director of Financial Aid
700 North Faring Road
Los Angeles, CA 90077