Harvard-Westlake School

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

(out of 10)

Private Grades 7-9 727 students 5 students/teacher (CA avg is 21)

Test Scores by grade

About this school

Harvard-Westlake School is a private middle school in Los Angeles. The principal of Harvard-Westlake School is Mr. John Amato and can be contacted at jamato@hw.com. 727 students attend Harvard-Westlake School and are mostly Hispanic; Black, non-Hispanic; and White, non-Hispanic. The student to teacher ratio at Harvard-Westlake School is 5:1. St. Francis De Sales is one of the nearest middle schools.

Extracurricular activities


  • Band
  • Ceramics sculpture
  • Chorus
  • Computer arts
  • Dance
  • Drawing painting
  • Orchestra
  • Photography
  • Theater drama
  • Video film production

Languages Taught

  • French
  • Italian
  • Japanese
  • Latin
  • Mandarin
  • Spanish


  • Badminton
  • Baseball
  • Basketball
  • Cheerleading
  • Crew
  • Cross country
  • Fencing
  • Field hockey
  • Football
  • Golf
  • Lacrosse
  • Martial arts self defense
  • P.E. classes
  • Soccer
  • Softball
  • Swimming
  • Tennis
  • Track
  • Volleyball
  • Water polo
  • Wrestling
  • Yoga

Student Ethnicities

Ethnicity School District
Hispanic 8% %
Black, non-Hispanic 7% %
White, non-Hispanic 59% %
Multiracial 4% %
Asian/Pacific Islander 21% %
Native American or Native Alaskan 0.4% %
Native Hawaiian or Other Pacific Islander 0% %

Community ratings & reviews

  • (1 year ago)

    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.

  • (1 year ago)

    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.

  • (1 year ago)

    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

  • (2 years ago)

    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.

  • (3 years ago)

    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.

  • (3 years ago)

    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!

  • (3 years ago)

    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.

  • (3 years ago)

    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.

  • (4 years ago)

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

  • (4 years ago)

    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.

  • (4 years ago)

    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.

  • (4 years ago)

    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!.

  • (4 years ago)

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

  • (5 years ago)

    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

  • (5 years ago)

    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!'

  • (5 years ago)

    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!

  • (6 years ago)

    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!

  • (6 years ago)

    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.

  • (6 years ago)

    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.

  • (6 years ago)

    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.

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Overall score

(based on 42 ratings & reviews)

  • Teacher quality
  • Principal leadership
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