Students enrolled 727
Hours no info
School leader Mr. John Amato
Transportation options no info
Type no info
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700 North Faring Road
Los Angeles, CA 90077

(310) 274-7281
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Map of Harvard-Westlake School address.

4 stars
Based on 39 ratings

Let others know what you
think about this school

August 29, 2014
This is the only school in Los Angeles and likely anywhere outside of the northeast of the country that is a true college prep school in the matter of Phillips Exeter , Groton, Choate etc. My son is now in 10th grade having started in 7th, and while it is not easy to get As, he is not killing himself with work ,has many friends and is enjoying the school without spending more than on average 2 hours a night on homework. The teachers are incredibly smart and love what they do , with more than half having PhD's and masters . The turnover is low and many have taught for 10 or more years ( it was voted recently by employees the best place to work in LA). This is clearly not the school for everyone however, as an average student will find it perhaps too hard . My son got straight A's at his well regarded private elementary school but now has to work hard to get an A .he loves being with smart kids though and while many are wealthier, due to the great financial situation about 25% are on financial aid which makes it economically much more diverse than Brentwood , Buckley Viewpoint etc I know he will likely find college easy after HW and will be super prepared.

- submitted by a parent
June 05, 2014
I graduated from this school Cum Laude .There is no doubt that the quality of academic education is stellar and the college counseling system is tremendously helpful. In college, I was one of the best prepared and ended up helping many peers with school work. HOWEVER, unfortunately, IMO the community is particularly lacking in moral character and shockingly so. Not only do students take their parents' wealth for granted, but they are selfish and obsessed with superficial appeals such as GPA, SAT scores, and college admissions. It can be very hard for a student with low self esteem as I was. The environment is very competitive and if students are not emotionally mature enough to manage setbacks, it can ultimately be detrimental to their self-confidence. Do I regret attending HW? Not at all - college has especially helped me appreciate the life lessons the school has taught me. Would I send my own children? Not if I expect them to rely on a nurturing environment. However, if they are confident enough in their own abilities, not easily influenced by a toxic environment and have a thirst for learning rather than recognition, this institution is full of amazing learning opportunities.

- submitted by a community member
November 10, 2013
Harvard-Westlake is the number 1 private college prep school in the Western U.S. for a reason. It challenges your character as well as your intellect. I'm currently a junior, and this school year is quite possibly the most difficult thing I've ever faced in my entire life, and I love it. All of the students who gave the school negative reviews below are the one's who didn't have the will to succeed. The education i have received thus far is such an asset to me, and I really am just starting to appreciate that. The years I've spent so far here are the best. The people are all genuinely nice and those who say otherwise just don't have many friends because they never made an effort to get to know new people. This is a college environment, and if you can't handle that, then this is not the place for you. It is fast paced and teachers will not go out of their way to make sure you don't get left behind. That is up to you. Even taking 4 AP's/Honors this year I still find it manageable with a varsity sport and a girlfriend/social life on top of it all. Those who complain about the difficulty are the ones who struggle mightily and blame others for their shortcomings, and they do exist at HW

- submitted by a community member
January 02, 2013
My son blossomed at Harvard Westlake. There, he finally found kids like himself - kids who are driven to excel. As a result, he developed a wonderfully rewarding social life. You might worry that having so many driven kids in one place would lead to an unhealthy atmosphere, but we didn't found it to be so. The kids work hard and have tons of fun while they're at it. The honors classes are exceptionally challenging, and you shouldn't pressure your child to take them unless he/she is prepared for it. The regular courses are sufficiently challenging for most students and comparable to honors classes at many other middle and high schools. Regardless of which college the students ultimately attend, they will all have received an exceptional education that is well worth the tuition. Teachers are highly approachable and supportive of the students in addition to challenging them. The range of elective courses is truly astonishing, providing something for absolutely everyone. The range and quality of extracurricular programs is equally impressive. You really couldn't do better.

- submitted by a parent
June 25, 2012
P.S. -- (I just wrote the previous email) -- both of my children graduated from HW and attended the colleges of their choice. No, they weren't Ivy League material in terms of academic achievement -- far from it. And yes, there most certainly is a slightly more relaxed game board for on which some legacy kids play in order to enter the most selective colleges. But that fact is not Harvard-Westlake's fault. (Also, don't forget -- in order for any campus to be truly diverse, wealthy families are needed there as well as others from all walks of life. Their generosity is the very reason my own kids have been able to obtain their education from private high schools and colleges.) In terms of college counseling, my kids were very well handled at HW, and they happily attended colleges that fit them perfectly. The whole reason why HW attracts so many wealthy families is that it's the very best at what it does -- period. If the school's administration was truly guilty of pandering to the rich and ignoring the poor, the school wouldn't continue to flourish as it does. I think so many people have a sour-grapes attitude because unfortunately, HW can't take everyone.

- submitted by a parent
May 24, 2012
As a former student the post that reads "kids are overwhelmed, overworked, etc.." pretty much hits the nail on the head. The previous two are obviously caught up in status and social climbing. Who picks a high school to make connections? And the previous post mentioning that, their son, like his friends, is rich and there are renown families attending. Which unfortunately is prevalent at HW, but it is at almost any private school in LA. After all, this is LA! Bottom line, anyone that says or writes that they just started HW and it is not that difficult, is not a 10th - 12th grader or on a lower academic track. Otherwise, it's a BURN OUT and anyone that is honest, will concur. Especially after they receive their average college acceptance if they are not a legacy, ethnically diverse or an athlete applying! Remember parents, you are choosing a place for your child to grow emotionally and intellectually. Not a place for them to rub elbows with rich and famous or try to outwit the Ivy Admissions (which isn't going to happen). Bottom line: your child only one opportunity to be a teenager, allow your high school student to be a teenager not a burnt out college student prematurely!

- submitted by a community member
May 21, 2012
My son started this year. Despite many doom-and-gloom stories, I personally found the administration, faculty, students and the academic incomparable and beyond expectation. My son was always hailed as somewhat super-bright until he entered HW. Though he struggled with his time-management and organization skills that affected his grades, he is learning so much, and his friends are rich yet mature, and lots of fun, like my son. I think, just because the school is located in the middle of L.A. rather than in the east coast, people often mistake HW to be just another private school. Beware! It is a college prep school, ranked 12 in the U. S. that draws the top students and renown families beyond the U.S. The #12 ranking, however, does not mean it is the 12th most rigorous school, but just that based on the size of the endowment and college matriculation, student/teacher ratio, etc. it is ranked #12 by Forbes magazine. My child went to a small private elementary school. Despite its small size, it had unending problems and issues with the administration. In contrast, HW is so much bigger, but runs without a hitch. I give this school 6 stars.

- submitted by a parent
March 26, 2012
I went there for 6 years. The connections you make will last a lifetime. College seemed just like another grade for me since I was prepared academically so well. No huge adjustment. The only reason I am not giving it 5 stars is because there is a snobbery element there. But that is too be expected.

- submitted by a community member
June 28, 2011
it the best school i have ever seen in my life. i dont think it can get better than this

- submitted by a community member
May 14, 2011
I'm a new student there this year. It's competitive, but not better than two other private schools that I've been enrolled. Overall the money spent for tuition is NOT worth it. Lot's of the students at Harvard-Westlake school are just plain rich with no concept to money value. And there's a lot of pressure to spend more money for oversea trips.

- submitted by a community member
March 13, 2011
One of the top prep schools in the U.S. (Forbes). Competitive colleges may not be confident that an A in most high schools means an A for them, but they can rely on the accuracy of a HW GPA to predict college performance. Add in high avg SAT scores and you get the most competitive school in L.A. Also, the number of National Merit Scholars is amazingly high. Scholarships are available, but not to the extent of need-blind colleges (approx 10% of the student body). The choice of programs is so wide that one would have thought, given our two children's different interests, that they attended two different schools. And had we a third child, a different HW might have awaited him. The common denominator is students who work extremely hard with good time management skills. While intelligent wealthy children fill up a substantial proportion of the student body, only those who can endure the academic demands stick it out. Problematic students will not get through the program merely due to wealth. Another parent provided reasonably accurate stats on admission to top colleges; most of the others go to colleges just below that level, so the outcome is good for most who can graduate.

- submitted by a parent
March 12, 2011
Administration is very unfriendly and snobbish. The students are overworked and many are unhappy with the teachers. Money plays a big role in your social status. Better save your money to good college tuition than spend $40K a year!.

- submitted by a parent
December 01, 2010
great school with perfect location and preparation for entrance into college of top tier. performing arts, musical arts, and athletics all top class

- submitted by a community member
March 02, 2010
I love this school! I have a lot of friends including many of the teachers. At Harvard-Westlake, you can be who you want to be, do what you want to do without hesitation and with support from friends and faculty no matter who you are or where you come from. As a Harvard-Westlake student, your teachers do have high expectations, but ones easy enough to reach because of the quality of the teachers and the way the academics are taught. This school is truly amazing and a great choice for any student who wishes to excel in school and succeed in life

- submitted by a student
December 16, 2009
This is an amazing school with a ton of opportunities. Sure, it is hard to get in and very demanding, but Harvard-Westlake teaches you life long skills and actually prepares you for the real world. Alumni have come back to Harvard-Westlake saying 'College is so much easier!'

- submitted by a parent
no rating November 02, 2009
Harvard Westlake is an absolutely extraordinary educational institution in virtually every regard--competitive? Very--but there are no secrets when going through the admissions process. It's not right for everyone, and certainly best for those kids who set their own bar high and who have a solid work ethic. It is possible to 'do it all' at HW: play 3 competitive sports, play an instrument, be involved in student government; but solid time management skills are a must. The sense of accomplishment when success is achieved is incredible to watch!

- submitted by a parent
May 20, 2009
This review submitted without content.


- submitted by a community member
May 04, 2009
The students care about the community and are generally well rounded kids. Sometimes they focus too much on clothes or money, but they always straighten out in the end. The teachers are amazing and are dedicated to helping the students master their subjects. Best school ever!

- submitted by a student
April 27, 2009
This review submitted without content.


- submitted by a student
April 16, 2009
I attended this school many years ago, and I am thrilled that my daughter is now attending. The academic work is demanding but the teachers are dedicated to helping the students master their subjects. Students have a number of free hours throughout the week, and the wise ones spend this time either studying or, better yet, meeting with the teachers to resolve problem areas. Several of the sports teams are 'state championship' class, and it is very difficult to get a place on these teams. Others, however are 'no cut' so everyone can find their place. In terms of the arts, this school is unsurpassed. The middle school has a newly completed arts complex. The auditorium includes a stage with orchestra pit. Orchestra, band, and dance all have their own sound-isolated practice areas. While the upper school campus is a bit dated, the middle school looks like a small college.

- submitted by a parent
March 25, 2009
This review submitted without content.


- submitted by a parent
March 03, 2009
The academic standards are high and the facilities are beautiful. Unfortunately, in my experience as a student at HW, it quickly became evident that the student body was not selected for intelligence or character, but for the amount of money that their parents earned. I would never choose such a status-conscious environment for my own children and I regret making the choice to attend HW myself.

- submitted by a student
no rating February 15, 2009
Harvard- Westlake is a wonderful school. The environment is very energetic and friendly. Courses are molded to fit each and every student instead of having them forced into certain courses. The people are very caring and helpful. While HW does offer some of the best academics in the country, it is also just a regular high school. We all learn values, morals, and leadership skills. Harvard Westlake is a great school if you are motivated, driven, determined, and have goals. While there is work involved it is worth every moment because Harvard Westlake lives up to its name when they say college preparatory. I love Harvard-Westlake and could not imagine going anywhere else.

- submitted by a student
December 09, 2008
It's unfortunate that a school with such high academic standards fails to teach ethical standards. Success isn't the name of the school on your diploma or your car hood ornament, or the high GPA that you cheated to get, but HV's culture rewards status rather than character. Such a shame.

- submitted by a parent
September 15, 2008
I have two children in the upper school at Harvard-Westlake and they couldn't be happy. The instructors are top notch, the administration is responsive and caring, and the student body is inspiring, motivated, and diverse. The clubs and extra curricular activities are endless. There is something for everyone. It is easy for a child to find a group of friends, since the student body is actually larger than most private schools. Whether you are an athlete, an intellectual, a musician, an actor/actress. or into Mock Trial or Model United Nations, it is easy to find a group of kids with the same interest. There is absolutely no grade inflation here - you get what you earn. It is extremely fair, and all students are treated equally. The college deans are an absolute gem. It is as if your child is their child. They are so dedicated to what they do.

- submitted by a parent
September 02, 2008
the high standards and level of competition at hw keeps students from learning about themselves and giving back to he world. priorities are mixed up, many students aim for grades and money rather than happiness and generosity.

- submitted by a student
August 21, 2008
My son just started a year ago, but we've been very impressed so far. We were a little concerned about sending him because we're not a family of means; we receive a very generous aid package. But my son's friends are decent and down-to-earth. It's just not a big deal that his house is small and not in the best part of the city. The administration, faculty, and staff have always been professional, caring, and dedicated. And the facilities are amazing. Yes, it's a lot of work at times, but the education is absolutely first-rate.

- submitted by a parent
May 21, 2008
This review submitted without content.


- submitted by a student
no rating April 29, 2008
We live in the area. Our children went to HW for 2 years. The friends they were bringing home from Harvard Westlake were rather 'full of themselves.' Even the students who were not exactly intelligent, would like to have you believe that they were doing much better than they were. They would tell you such any time they had a chance. It is unfortunate that such a great group of kids feel they have to cheat on test just to be accepted. Several of the teachers at HW are stellar and above and beyond. We just could not figure out why this school churns out so many cookie cutter, cut throat, rude, and obnoxious humanes. Wasn't our cup of tea.

- submitted by a parent
February 27, 2008
Students who come out of Harvard-Westlake are well intelligent and overall well rounded. They are incredible young adults.

- submitted by a community member
December 24, 2007
The best school I have ever seen.

- submitted by a parent
April 20, 2007
It is one of the three best schools in the country. Simply stated, you never need to explain why your son or daughter went to HW. Other parents will always try to justify why their children 'decided' not to go there. Everything a bright kid could need to launch them into a stellar future.

- submitted by a parent
January 24, 2007
This review submitted without content.


- submitted by a parent
May 01, 2006
As a teacher, I can say that I consider H Dub, as the kids call it, a terrific place for students to grow, to learn, and to thrive. My students seem truly happy and it's my goal to keep them feeling that way!

- submitted by a teacher
April 07, 2006
Great school for academic kid

- submitted by a former student
March 30, 2006
This review submitted without content.


- submitted by a parent
March 26, 2006
I went to Westlake from my sophomore to senior years. The education was top rate with the best instructors available. Westlake was very demanding academically and prepared students to excel later in life. Extracurricular activities abounded and parental participation was extremely high. I would highly recommend Westlake to anyone.

- submitted by a former student
June 07, 2005
Simply the best college prep school in California. Students matriculate to the best schools in the nation, with approx 30% going to Ivy league schools, 11% to UC Berkeley - that's almost half the class of 275-280 kids. High academic workload, excellent sports integration with the entire student body considered student athletes if they desire. Many state champion sports teams over the past ten years. Excellent music, chorale and instrument, drama programs. Arts programs often tour around the world on vacations. Very supportive faculty and administration, very available to each student and family. Parent involvement at a level each could be comfortable with, but not academic. High financial committment, but actually average for private schools in LA. Have sent and are still sending three kids through HW, and have no regrets.

- submitted by a parent
May 06, 2005
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- submitted by a student
May 03, 2005
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- submitted by a parent
April 05, 2005
Speaking as a local, most consider Harvard-Westlake the best school in the Los Angeles area. Academics are top notch with a college matriculation record that places more kids in the Ivy League and Stanford than any other. The facilities are fantastic. The lower school campus (the old Westlake School for Girls campus) is truly beautiful in the heart of Holmby Hills. Truly the best of LA. No question that other High Schools in the area try to compete with the standards of this school. The campus' and curriculum is diverse; they have a first rate sports program. Parent involvement is high (since most are VERY thankful that their kids attend the school).

- submitted by a former student
January 24, 2005
Extremely challenging curriculum, helped my child get 3 Ivy League scholarships. The students and teachers and very involved.

- submitted by a teacher
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Harvard-Westlake School
700 North Faring Road, Los Angeles, CA  90077
(310) 274-7281
Last modified Harvard-Westlake School is a Private school that serves grades 7-9
Harvard-Westlake School Rating: 4 out of 5 based on 42 reviews.