By Izzy W. ’22
As a senior, I find myself looking back upon the application process for Middle School as I now embark upon a similar process, but for college. So, I thought I would write a blog post about why exactly I chose HW in the hopes of helping prospective families (it is, after all, the question I get asked most frequently on tours and Q & A panels).
When considering secondary schools, it was really important for me to pick a school that had resources in every academic discipline. I did not want to pick a school that was incredibly focused on one subject; as an incoming seventh grader, I wanted the space to explore all of my interests in great depth. HW is such a phenomenal place because the school supports its students in every academic interest they have, and the student body is incredibly diverse, so one is bound to find other students equally interested in that niche area of study. Additionally, I wanted a school that had a stellar athletic program. I have always played sports, so I wanted to pick a school that was strong academically, but also strong in terms of athletics.
Apart from the beautiful campuses and facilities, HW also supports its students beyond academics and athletics: in the arts. Something that I wish had been emphasized to me more when picking a secondary school was how well supported the Harvard-Westlake arts programs are. As an applicant, I was under the impression that the school was merely academic and athletic. It is ironic now looking back because I am heavily involved with the arts at Harvard-Westlake, and I barely knew anything about the program when applying.
A hesitation of mine with Harvard-Westlake was its reputation for being a competitive place with lots of homework. Overtime, I have come to see that yes, HW does have its fair share of work. However, the school also provides its students with plenty of resources and support to get the work done and maintain a healthy work/life balance. We have learning centers at both campuses with professionals who specialize in learning disabilities and helping kids with assignments. We also have office hours, classes solely focused on helping students develop time management skills, and full-time counselors on both campuses. And, as for the stereotype of it being a competitive place, I have found that it is instead a place filled with lots of driven young adults who are always collaborating and working together.
This community is what most shows me how glad I am to have chosen HW. I have met the most wonderful students and teachers, and I would not trade those relationships for anything. As you continue on your secondary school application process, I hope that this post helped illuminate why I chose the school I love so much, and hopefully, you can find the one that is right for you, too.