The teachers are nice for the most part. But the cirriculum is just so perfectionist and rigid (see last part) that it's silly.
Making matters worse is that the math classes are like the Common Core before there was a Common Core--it makes simple topics so much harder by forcing students to "discover the concepts and proofs themselves" and write essays on why the binomial theorem is true.
They hardly offer any APs to lower-classmen, so they have to cram alot more APs into their junior and senior schedules. Also, you have to Ace Algebra II to get into Honors Pre-Calc (and there's no regular Pre-Calc; you'll have to take an extra year of math if you don't Ace Algebra II). Then, you have to Ace Honors Pre-Calc to get into AP Calculus BC (There's no other Calculus--didn't get an A in Honors Pre-Calc? No Calculus). Plus, they don't offer AP English Lang, so the only course you can take to clear college writing is AP English Lit. But before you can take AP English Lit you have to excel at an insanely challenging Honors Euro Lit class that doesn't give you any AP credit.
All in all, compared to schools like Mission Viejo High, it's twice as much work--and you'll end up a semester behind kids in college because of the silly AP policies.
Even in 9th and tenth grade Humanities, it's a bit much. They're very perfectionist about writing these mammoth term papers called Anchors.
This is a school where you are judged by your GPA, not your character. Alot of valedictorians bully less-achieved students--and they're still popular. Everyone blindly praises high-achievers, even if they treat more average students as second-class citizens.
Ok, it's safe and clean because it's in Irvine. And the teachers are nice. But it goes downhill from there.
Get ready for competition and workload that rival Singapore. This is a school of perfectionists fixated on Ivy Leagues, 4.5 GPAs, perfect SAT scores, Debate Champions, chess masters, violin prodigies, and the Math Olympiad. Still in Algebra One as a Freshman or planning to go to community college? You will be stigmatized.
People are impractical--they can't swallow their pride. They'll take out big loans to go to Columbia University and major in low-paid, liberal arts majors, thinking that all that matters is the name and that their PhD in journalism will be worth fortunes just because it's from Columbia. Nope. Financial Experts agree that an Accounting graduate from an average school, say Cal State Fullerton, will earn way more than a Sociology grad from Harvard (not to mention have less debt and a higher GPA). Alas, the ellitists are "above" Cal States.
For all the Ivy League bluster, expect to go to college a semester behind kids from other schools, especially if you're in STEM. Unlike places such as Mission Viejo or Aliso Niguel High, They don't offer any practical APs here, like Calc-based Physics, Microeconomics, and AP English Lang. Also, unlike Mission Viejo or Aliso Niguel, they don't let any freshman or sophomores take any APs except for Music Theory, Art History, and Statistics. Which means you'll have to cram more APs junior and senior year than kids from other schools.
And the system is so all-or-nothing. There's no regular Pre-Calc; all the B students in Algebra 2 have to take an extra year of math. There's no AP Calc AB, just Calc BC; all the B students in Honors Pre-Calc just can't take Calc at all. Then, to even get a chance to get into AP English Lit (the only course here that clears College Writing), you have to get a B in insanely challenging Honors Euro Lit. Less opportunities, more work, and less learning.
Finally, if you're a Conservative Christian, you will be stigmatized. This is probably the most liberal high school in the OC south of the 55 Freeway.
Parents, think twice for your kids. There's so many schools like Mission Viejo High that offer a safe, clean, conservative environment where your kids can relax more AND do better in college. Northwood's not worth it!
Never have I gone to a school where the administration has been disrespectful to me on multiple accounts. Never have I been to a school where the teachers do not teach yet blame you for your not understanding. Never have I been to a school where a teacher has laughed in my face during a vulnerable moment. Northwood staff is incredibly disrespectful and takes no account/responsibility for anything. I'm a new student to Northwood this year and absolutely hate it! I'm an all honors/ap student with good grades, I've never ever had problems with any school I've ever gone to except for this school.
Teachers try to promote higher level thinking by placing a problem you have never seen before and have no clue how to do it in front of you and having you and your table group figure it out.. No instruction has ever been given, you need to be self motivated and teach yourself
I'm a sophomore here and so far I've liked it. If you get involved in school, whether it be clubs, or student government, or sports, you'll enjoy your time much more and feel more connected to the school. Our pep rallies are fun and the dances are too, especially homecoming. The people are nice, and while some think they may be snobby most are pretty chill and genuine. Like every school, there's going to be both good and bad people. The campus is beautiful. Better than any other campus in Irvine, and I'm not just saying that because I go here. People always bag on our athletics, but most of our teams win league and our football beat irvine this year so we're getting there lol. However, the academics here are hard, and competition is very high. Everyone is taking the hardest classes they can and doing the best they can to ace them. So you have to stay on top of that. Other than that, it's a great school with a good environment. I've found that the only people who dislike it are the people who aren't involved and only show up for their required classes. Some teachers are bad, but most are okay and want you to succeed. There are so many events, clubs, and programs that it would be stupid to not take advantage of it!
My son run into a couple of bad and lazy teachers who either lost many of his work or forget to enter his grade properly into the system even if his papers were graded. When I challenged her on the last day of school, she still refused, citing that the change wouldn't make any difference anyway. WTF.
The assistant principal blamed us for not bringing this up sooner. In fact my son repeatedly reminded the teacher to correct his grade.
I am a sophomore at Northwood. If you are planning on transferring into the district or moving into the area which Northwood is in, I would advise you not to. Irvine in general is a very competitive place and Northwood truly embodies this competitiveness. I moved here from a small town in the fifth grade and learned quickly that this was going to be a very hard adjustment. When I reached highschool I suffered tremendously. A majority of the teachers here at Northwood simply do not teach, instead they will hand you a worksheet and make you work on it and understand the material. There are a few gifted students will go to some of the top universities but a majority of us are left hoping to get into a UC. Had I stayed in my old school I would have easily become a 4.0 student with ability to go to any college I want. With that being said, Northwood will decrease your chances of getting into a good college but will help you tremendously when you get to college. Hope this helps!
Ok, so you might have heard about how Northwood's sports "suck" or everyone here is "snobby" but the reality is that the students who write these reviews are not taking advantage of the great clubs, fine arts, academics, and sports Northwood has to offer. I am a junior and I'm in one year-round sport, 5 college-prep level classes, one Honors class, and 4 clubs. Northwood's teachers truly care about the students and although the academics may be challenging, the teachers are available for you to ask questions after class or during tutorial (tutorial is a 40 minute study-hall like period every Tuesday and Thursday where we can go ask questions or finish homework or study for tests). Our sports at Northwood go to CIF regularly. Also, our fine arts programs such as choral music, instrumental music, and drama are above average and our school has won 6 Grammys. I do not understand how students who actually try to get good grades at Northwood could hate it so much when almost all of the students are genuinely nice.