No rating

GreatSchools Rating

Harvard-Westlake School

Private | 7-9 | 727 students


Be sure to visit

Take along one of
our checklists:


Living in Los Angeles

Situated in a suburban neighborhood. The median home value is $1,240,000. The average monthly rent for a 2 bedroom apartment is $2,210.

Source: Sperling's Best Places
Last modified
Community Rating

4 stars

Community Rating by Year
Based on 2 ratings
Based on 2 ratings
Based on 4 ratings
Based on 4 ratings

Teacher quality

Principal leadership

Parent involvement

Rate this school

Click on stars to rate
Please select a star rating for this school.
    Helpful reviews answer questions:
  • What do you think others should know?
  • What do you like?
  • How could your school improve?
    Review Guidelines
    GreatSchools won’t post reviews that contain:
  • Inappropriate language
  • Allegations of criminal conduct
  • Names of students, teachers or staff
1200 characters remaining
Please read and accept our Terms of Use to join GreatSchools.
Please indicate your relationship to the school.
Registration is required to post your anonymous review
We will not display your name, photo or email address with your review.
Your email address will never be published or shared.
Indicates a required field

34 reviews of this school

Sort by:
Show reviews by:
Posted 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

Posted June 5, 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.

Posted 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

Posted January 2, 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

Posted 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

Posted 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!

Posted 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

Posted 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.

Posted June 28, 2011

it the best school i have ever seen in my life. i dont think it can get better than this

Posted 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.

Posted 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

Posted 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

Posted December 1, 2010

great school with perfect location and preparation for entrance into college of top tier. performing arts, musical arts, and athletics all top class

Posted March 2, 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

Posted 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

Posted November 2, 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

Posted May 4, 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

Posted 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

Posted March 3, 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

Posted 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

Community ratings and reviews do not represent the views of GreatSchools nor does GreatSchools check their accuracy or verify the reviewers' identities. Use your discretion when evaluating these reviews.

About these ratings

The Community Rating is the school’s average rating from its community members (e.g., parents, students, and school staff). The highest possible rating is five stars; the lowest is one star.

We currently do not have any test score information for this school. Unlike public schools, private schools are not always required to report data about their schools or not required to take the same tests as public schools. Many private schools take different standardized tests; however, that information is often made available only to families of enrolled students. We strive to acquire additional private school data whenever available.

Student ethnicity

Ethnicity This school State average
White 59% 26%
Hispanic 8% 52%
Black 7% 6%
Two or more races 4% 3%
American Indian/Alaska Native 0% 1%
Hawaiian Native/Pacific Islander 0% 1%
Source: NCES, 2011-2012

Oops! We currently do not have any teacher information for this school. We rely on the state Department of Education, the National Center for Education Statistics (NCES), and in some cases school administrators such as registrars and principals for this data.

What makes a great teacher? Study after study shows the single most important factor determining the quality of the education a child receives is the quality of his teacher. Here are some characteristics to look for »

Let your school shine!

School leaders: Help your school shine on GreatSchools
by verifying community responses, adding program highlights
and more! Get started »

Science, Technology, Engineering, & Math (STEM)

School facilities
  • Computer lab
School leaders can update this information here.

Let your school shine!

School leaders: Help your school shine on GreatSchools
by verifying community responses, adding program highlights
and more! Get started »

School basics

School Leader's name
  • Mr. John Amato
  • Coed
  • Nonsectarian
  • NAIS


School facilities
  • Computer lab
  • Library
School leaders can update this information here.


To learn more about enrolling, please call the school.

TIP: Don't forget to ask about documents required for enrollment, such as your child's birth certificate, proof of address, or a record of immunizations.

Notice an inaccuracy? Let us know!

700 North Faring Road
Los Angeles, CA 90077
Phone: (310) 274-7281


Compare this school
to nearby schools

Compare schools »


Add this school to compare

Nearby schools

Sinai Akiba Academy
Los Angeles, CA

El Rodeo Elementary School
Beverly Hills, CA

Hawthorne Elementary School
Beverly Hills, CA

St. Paul The Apostle
Los Angeles, CA