Team work is near-essential to staying near or above the rest. Flying solo is almost not an option entirely. While this seems anarchic, it actually creates an honor system in which mutual benefaction is prioritized over everything else.
Let me give you a rundown of the school from an inside perspective.
-We have an enourmous amount of clubs, many of which remain undocumented on the website and are at times a myth except to only the members of said club. Regardless, there are more than enough to satisfy you.
-Our sports teams are usually hit or miss. Some years they're amazing, others, not so much. Regardless, the football team is really the only one who suffers from such a heavy academic atmosphere, and most others actually benefit of the energy that students exert on their studies.
-Fine arts has always been a strong point for us, as we have one of the best marching bands in the district, an orchestra that formed almost 50% of the All-State orchestra, and extremely intricate drama and choir programs.
-IB. Ok, we get it, one of the few schools that offer the IB curriculum, so you should take it, right? No. Most upper level IB classes can be, or definitely are more work than standard AP classes. Is that a bad thing? Of course not. But if you are a GPA-grinder, its best to just take AP.
-Everyone has heard of it, the heavy academic pressure that is placed on many students. It has to be expected, when the difference between top 7% and not is close to 0.01 GPA points. If you are not prepared or do not want to be in the top couple percents, you either give up and deal with the ranking that you get, or move to a different school. It is not wrong to move, as many of my close friends who could not deal with the pressure did exactly that.
-Finally, westwood truly is a unique experience. I have had friends from many different districts, counties, states, and even countries, and it really doesn't compare. Though the experience is taxing and can ruin all but the dedicated. You really need to find a way to balance your life ASAP or you are unlikely to find success here.
Westwood has to be experienced to be believed. I mean this as a very positive thing. Graduates are more than prepared for life after HS, particularly life at a competitive college or university. Parents, educators, and administrators who are heavily involved and with a single goal- making Westwood the best HS it can be. A diverse student population with oceans of extracurricular activities available. Yes, competitive beyond belief but it pays off, even if the student and parent don't realize it at the time. When your child graduates from Westwood, colleges know they've been challenged. They readily recognize the name and reputation, an amazing fact given the sheer volume of schools in a state as populous as TX.
This school is absolutely the worst thing you can put yourself through. I am an A /B student with a GPA of 5.1 and I am outside of the top ten percent. In order to set yourself above the rest, say goodbye to sleep and extracurricular activities as school will take up more then 8 hours daily. The stress level is so high that peer pressure to get high isn't needed, many kids are searching for an escape from this place. Please do you child a favor and don't make the mistake my parents made by sending me here.
If your child is very high achieving, independent and motivated, they'll do fine. If they are anything other than that, they will struggle. This school caters to the elite, it is not set up for students who need any kind of help. The instruction is almost non-existent. Students are expected to listen to 90 minutes lectures and in some cases they are just given materials and expected to teach themselves. There is no attempt to make classes interesting or to vary teaching styles. Many of the teachers are not in touch with current technology. To put the competitive nature of Westwood in perspective: a friend's son was in all AP classes and achieved A's and B's. He is in the bottom 50th percentile of the class. You must be TAG/IB/AP and achieve only A's to be in the top 10% at Westwood. My son was also in the marching band, but the directors were very authoritarian, handing out disciplinary referrals and assigning Saturday detention for things like laughing, talking, or even playing the wrong music accidentally. The assistant principals backed them up, even while admitting that the punishments were very excessive. This school will kill your child's love of learning.
MY SCHOOL IS AWESOME !!! MY SCHOOL IS EPIC !!! Up until high school I really struggled socially in school, but was received with open arms by students, and faculty alike at Westwood. Before Westwood I had only attended private schools, where I fell prey to pretty much any, and every negative stereotype of public schools you have ever heard of and more, but Westwood provides a fantastic learning environment for all, especially those with learning disabilities like myself, and an even better social environment. At Westwood I have been able to compete as part of the Men's and Mixed Choirs, which during my Freshman, and Sophomore years received nearly perfect scores, and therefore were recognized accordingly with UIL Honors. I have also placed in the top three at various national creative writing and poetry competitions under the teaching of wonderful English and Creative Writing teachers. Lastly, I am currently in the process of starting a fencing club at the school insured by United States Fencing Association. As you can see pretty much anything you can think of or want to try you can find a way at Westwood. Westwood is hard, but anyone who works hard will be prepared for college.
Westwood High School has a history of great academic scores overall; however, individual student homework tends to be fairly heavy, with an average of 3 hours per night (easy to confirm by asking the school counselors, teachers, or students). Adding the homework time with daily time spent in school yields an average 10 hour plus day. This may be good from the standpoint of keeping kids so busy they have little to no time for a social life or a job; however, it also translates to students having very little time to interact with their own parents, a concern parents wanting to involve themselves, more so than others, in raising their children may not appreciate. It appears the overall study time exceeds what I experienced at UT earning a B.S. in Geological Sciences. This overwhelming amount of homework is partly attributable to superfluous aspects of homework assignments many teachers issue, as well as inefficient classroom teaching. Speculation suggests a better balance could be achieved; but so far there have been no sympathetic ears in Westwood's policy makers. Is psychological burn out, with its range of related symptoms, including suicide, considered by the administration?