College Prep is a wonderful community that nurtures a real love for learning. Staff and faculty are highly engaged, welcoming to parents, and communicative about expectations. They also go the extra distance to address concerns and help all students reach their full potential.
Overall the teachers my kids have been exposed to are truly amazing. It's common for College Prep teachers to exude passion and deep knowledge of subjects. They make the subject matter engaging in ways that develop strong skills in writing, reading, conversation and collaboration. The teachers are also doing a great job igniting my two kids' passions for particular interests while developing a global perspective and a sense of identify within the school community and surrounding neighborhoods.
It's true. The school assigns a lot of homework, however, my two kids manage it well overall and find it engaging. The school does a good job moderating homework expectations. No homework weekends are a good example of this.
Things are not as they've been reported. Snobbery+elitism? I haven't come across it in my time here, and frequently see the opposite; it's a fact that 25+% of the students are on financial aid, and people who flaunt their wealth are looked down upon. It is an extremely supportive enviroment where my peers would be shocked+hurt+angry if they saw a student trying to put down another based on their financial status. The teachers at my school are amazing, and I cannot describe how supportive they are. I can confidently say the academics are some of the most rigorous in the country. Multiple choice tests? We wish. Memorizing information? What's that again? Knowledge application and implemention, extremely intelligent discussions, and close analysis? Welcome to CPS. Tests in every class in the same week or few days? Yup, again, insanely rigorous. 45 min break, lunch, free period each? Thank god! This is truly a one of a kind highschool. The combination of amazing teachers who want to help you, motivated students, and a diverse, safe enviroment make this easily the best school in California, and one of the best in the U.S. (Ranked accordingly) I had to delete .5 of what I wrote to submit!
College Prep is the strongest prep school in NorCal with regards to education and college placement. I graduated in '12 and landed at my first-choice school. Pros (facts): -Three of my classes senior year had 5 or fewer students. The school is willing to hold classes for the sake of its students, even with limited interest. -~25% of the class is admitted to Ivy League/MIT/Stanford/Caltech every year. College counseling is excellent. -Weakest presence of drugs/alcohol of any school in a 25-mile radius. Cons: -Lack of flexibility in curriculum. Every student, more or less, takes the same track with regards to science and history through his first three years. AP classes outside of language classes are typically not taken until senior year, so scores can't be sent to colleges. -Student body divide: On one side of the spectrum you have rich kids driving BMW and Mercedes to school; on the other side you have poor kids who are experiencing private education for the first time. BUT, the "snobbery/elitism" referred to by other comments is not very prevalent, and is honestly a small price to pay for top-notch education/college placement. There are far worse influences at other schools.
This school changed my life. My parents pulled me out of the Oakland Public Schools, where I could sleep through class and get straight-As, and put me in Prep. I'll never forget getting my first English paper back with a C- on it. This school opened my eyes to what academic excellence, hard work and challenging yourself mean. It was not easy, and I was one of the "outsiders" who didn't come from a private school or moneyed background. But I found the school and the students to be welcoming, open-minded, supportive and diverse. I went on to an Ivy League university, but I can honestly say I learned more in my four years at Prep than even at a top college. I can't recommend this school enough for students who are academically-oriented.
The jury is still out on this school for me. My student loves it but the lack of diversity in the faculty and staff population, as well as the student body population is a real concern for me, especially when it comes to the male students. Additionally, a lot of the students come from the same private middle schools or have siblings already in attendance. If your student comes from the "outside" it is a little difficult to break into some of the cliques that are already established. Academically, the school is extremely rigorous and time management and organizational skills are a definite "must have" if you plan on sending your student here. However, the courses are challenging and the instructors are great. They encourage the students to request assistance from them and have an open door policy for assisting the students. As far as the school community is concerned, so far the parents that I have met have been nothing but wonderful. There is some snobbery and elitism as described by a previous reviewer, but so far from my experience, it does not represent the school as a whole. My recommendation: CAREFULLY weigh your options before selecting this school...
It has been one year since my daughter graduated from College-Prep and has moved on to her first choice college. The school has prepared her well not only academically but was instrumental in helping her "find her voice" through various opportunities and programs the school offers. At College-Prep, your child will be able to gauge him or herself against other high achieving students to discover his/her true strengths and passion. If it hadn't been for College-Prep, I doubt my daughter will be where she is now in terms of her personal development. Although I can't say that the school was a very friendly place for the parents, it created an excellent social environment for the students. If your child gets accepted, don't hesitate to send him/her.