Which Private Secondary School Is Best For My Student?

  • September 7, 2017
Finding A Home Away From Home

School tours. Interviews. Application deadlines. The ISEE is only a piece of the entire application process. Making a decision about where you child should apply can be a source of stress for a lot of parents. You have to weigh your child’s best interests and the extra-curricular activities against the basic logistics of living in Los Angeles – distance, carpools, cost and sibling attendance. Even if you find a school that is the best fit for your child, if it is across the Valley or in the South Bay, the geographic limitations for parents are another large piece of what makes the private school scene in Los Angeles so competitive and stressful.

It’s important to note as you are talking to administrators, visiting campuses and discussing class sizes that no one school is perfect. Each school has perks and drawbacks and what some families view as a pro, someone else might view as a con. As a family, it takes preparation and time in order to weigh the schools with as much information as possible.

Our goal is to give you the information below in order to help you narrow down your choices and know the options that are out there.


Look Through Your Child’s Eyes

It’s easy to think of the process in long-term with college readiness and SATs and future plans, but take a step back and think about your child. Think about where he/she is coming from and what his/her past school experience has prepared him/her for. No matter how much ISEE prep students get, they will still be challenged academically in their new environment. You need to be realistic about what your child can do and if he/she will be overwhelmed by the workload or social pressure of a student body that is very large. Be sensitive to your child. Students are nervous and feel the need to perform and be perfect, but they can’t see this long-term. They are thinking about where their friends are going; they want to know if they will know what their new classmates know. Be supportive! They feel tremendous pressure and they can’t see the end result like you can. Keep it all in perspective that you aren’t looking for the best school, you are looking for the best fit for your child.


What To Consider

Is the school a good academic match?

  • What is my child’s academic ability?
  • What are my child’s academic interests?
  • Is my child self-motivated?
  • What is the homework load?
  • What is my child’s learning style? Temperament? Pacing?

Does the school’s philosophy blend well with ours?

  • Girls only or coed
  • Religious or secular
  • Progressive or traditional

Will the school provide “a home away from home” for my child?

  • What facilities and extracurricular activities does the school offer?
  • Which sports are available? How competitive are the teams?
  • Can my child participate in drama, dance, music, art, etc.?
  • Is there a student newspaper or journal?
  • What is the school’s demographic?
  • Consider the school’s size: the “small fish in the big sea vs a big fish in a small pond” concept

Practical Matters:

  • Where is the school located?
  • Is transportation offered?
  • Is financial assistance available?
  • Do I need to think of younger siblings?


The Decision: What are Schools Looking for?

Oh, to be a fly on the wall behind the doors while admissions teams are piling and sorting applications! The sorting and agonizing they must do every year seems quite a task and there’s no way to know what goes into every decision. Here is what we do know about the process that may be helpful for you to keep in mind.

Schools are looking for a well-rounded campus. They consider the following:

Connections: Where do their loyalties lie?

  • Students moving up within the same school have priority, but it’s not a lock:
  • Siblings
  • Children of faculty
  • Children of alumni

Brains: What will our graduating class look like?

  • Grades, ISEE scores (including essay), and teachers’ comments

Talent: Who will represent us on the field, the court and the stage?

  • Do we have enough athletes?
  • Do we have enough performers?
  • Do we have potential writers, student government leaders, creative contributors?

Diversity: Is our school well-balanced? Cohesive? Representative?

  • Is there a good balance between boys and girls?
  • Are minority students fairly represented?
  • Are the different schools (and types of schools) fairly represented?
  • Are different geographic areas fairly represented?

The Intangibles: What personal qualities do they want to see? (random order)

  • Good behavior
  • Responsibility
  • Independence
  • Good social IQ
  • Maturity
  • Self-confidence
  • Leadership skills
  • Enthusiasm
  • Honesty


What Has Our Experience Taught Us?

As Davidson Tutoring’s staff has spent years talking to parents, schools and other tutoring companies, we’ve learned something. Every child usually finds a home. It takes some legwork, but if you find a place where your child fits, the admissions team can see that, too. Here are some things we’ve found helpful that you should know.

  • Schools talk. That’s right. They are not isolated units of power. They communicate with their feeder schools, they talk with each other, they go to conferences together and they are not on their own. This is to the advantage of the incoming students and the schools from which they matriculate. There are not backroom deals happening where they swap around students, but they all have a finger on the pulse of other admissions teams and they want to make sure students find a school that’s a good fit as much as you do.
  • Send one score report if the school requests it. Certain schools are clear that they want students to only test once. Even the ERB Board has an unofficial “take the test once” stance even though their policy allows students to test twice. If a school asks for one score report, only send one. There is no indication on the score report of how many times a student took the test.
  • Don’t put all your eggs in one basket!  Apply to more than one school. Have a few plans in place and don’t assume that your child has an “in” and that’s enough. So many factors go into admissions decisions, having a safety school and a plan ahead of time will reduce a lot of your anxiety and help you as a family consider alternatives that you may not have thought of before. Many parents have not seen things unfold as they originally planned, but they have been surprised by what has come out of the change that has been good for their children.
  • Take some time talking to other families, talking to your school advisors and visiting schools. Don’t be afraid to take a risk and apply somewhere different. Your child is full of potential and each school will bring something different and amazing to light.


Los Angeles Secondary School List

Below is a list of private schools in the Los Angeles area. Check out these schools and others at: privateschoolreview.com and niche.com and/or visit their individual websites.

Families, typically, apply to 3 to 6 schools.


The Archer School for Girls             Grades 6 – 12

11725 Sunset Blvd.                                                         

Los Angeles, CA  90049                                                 

  1. 873.7037                                                                               



Brentwood School                      Grades K – 12

100 S. Barrington Place                                                  

Los Angeles, CA  90049                                                 

  1. 476.9633                                                                               



Bridges Academy                        Grades 5 – 12

3921 Laurel Canyon                                                                    

Studio City, CA 91604                                                      




Berkeley Hall School                        Grades Pre – 8

16000 Mulholland Drive                                                  

Los Angeles, CA 90049                                                  




The Buckley School                          Grades K – 12

3900 Stansbury Avenue                                                  

Sherman Oaks, CA  91423                                                        

  1. 783.1610                                                                               



Campbell Hall                           Grades K – 12

4533 Laurel Canyon Blvd.                                             

North Hollywood, CA  91617                                                      

  1. 980.7280                                                                               



Chaminade                                    Grades 9 – 12       Catholic (contact school)

7500 Chaminade Ave.                           

West Hills, CA 91304                             


19800 Devonshire St.                         Grades 6 – 8    Catholic (ISEE)

Chatsworth, CA 91311                                                   




Crespi Carmelite High School Grades 9 – 12 Catholic   (boys only) (HSPT)

5031 Alonzo Ave.                                                             

Encino, CA 91316                                                            




Crossroads School                          Grades K – 12

1715 Olympic Blvd.                                                         

Santa Monica, CA  90404                                               

  1. 829.7391                                                                               



Episcopalian School of              Grades 6 – 12

Los Angeles (ESLA)                                            

6325 Santa Monica Boulevard                                          

Los Angeles, CA 90038                                                  




Flintridge Preparatory                Grades 7 – 12

4543 Crown Ave.                                                                 

La Canada – Flintridge, CA 91011                                           




Geffen Academy                      Grades 6 – 12

Westwood Village/UCLA Campus                                            




Harvard-Westlake School                    Grades 10 – 12

3700 Coldwater Canyon                                                 

North Hollywood, CA  91607                                                         

700 N. Faring Rd.                           Grades 7 – 9

Los Angeles, CA  90077                                                 

  1. 274.7281                                                                                   



Heschel Day School                             Grades K – 8 Jewish

17701 Devonshire Street                                                

Northridge, CA 91325                                                      




Immaculate Heart                       Grades 6 – 12 Catholic (girls only) (ISEE)

5515 Franklin Avenue                             

Los Angeles, CA  90028




Loyola High School                          Grades 9 – 12 Catholic (boys only) (HSPT)

1901 Venice Blvd.                                                            

Los Angeles, CA  90006                                                 

  1. 381.5121                                                                               



Marlborough School                         Grades 7 – 12  (girls only)

205 S. Rossmore Ave.                                                               

Los Angeles, CA  90004                                                 

  1. 935-1147                                                                              



Marymount High School            Grades 9 – 12 Catholic – (girls only) (ISEE)

10643 Sunset Blvd.                                                         

Los Angeles, CA  90077                                                 

  1. 472.1205                                                                               



Milken Community High School     Grades 7 – 12  Jewish (Coed)

15800 Zeldin’s Way                                                                     

Los Angeles, CA  90049                                                 




de Toledo High School               Grades 9 – 12 Jewish (Coed)

22622 Vanowen St.                                                         

West Hills, CA 91307                                                                  




New Roads                                    Grades 6 – 12

3131 Olympic Blvd.                                                         

Santa Monica, CA  90404                                               

  1. 828.5582                                                                               



Notre Dame Academy                Grades 9 – 12 Catholic – (girls only) (HSPT)

2951 Overland Ave.                                                         

Los Angeles, CA  90064                                                 




Notre Dame High School           Grades 9 – 12 (Catholic co-ed) (HSPT)

13645 Riverside Dr.                                                                    

Sherman Oaks, CA  91423                                                       




Oakwood School                         Grades K– 12

11600 Magnolia Ave.                                                                  

North Hollywood, CA  91601                                                      

  1. 752.5277                                                                               



Pacific Hills School                           Grades 7 – 12

8628 Holloway Dr.                                                           

Los Angeles, CA  90069                                                 

  1. 276.3068                                                                               



Pacifica Christian High School        Grades 9 – 12

1730 Wilshire Blvd.                                                         

Santa Monica, CA 90403                                                




Page Academy                             Grades Pre – 8

419 S Robertson Bl. B.H 90211                                        


565 N. Larchmont Bl. L.A. 90004                                      




Pilgrim School                              Grades Pre – 12   Christian

540 S. Commonwealth                                                   

Los Angeles 90020                                                                     




Polytechnic School                           Grades K – 12

1030 East California Blvd.                                             

Pasadena, CA  91106                                                                 

  1. 792.2147                                                                               



St. Monica’s High School           Grades 9 – 12   (Catholic – coed) (HSPT)

1030 Lincoln Blvd.                                                           

Santa Monica, CA  90403                                               




Shalhevet                                 Grades 9 – 12 (Jewish)

910 S. Fairfax Ave.                                                           

Los Angeles, CA 90036                                                  


[email protected]                                                          


Sierra Canyon School                Grades K – 12

20801 Rinaldi                                                                               

Chatsworth, CA 91311                                                    




Turning Point                                Grades K – 8

8780 National Blvd.                                                         

Culver City, CA  90232                                                     

  1. 841.2505                                                                               



Viewpoint                                      Grades K – 12

23620 Mulholland Highway                                                        

Calabasas, CA  91302                                                                

  1. 591.6500                                                                               



VistaMar School                          Grades 9 – 12

737 Hawaii Street                                                             

El Segundo, CA 90245                                                    




Westridge School for Girls                   Grades 4 – 12

324 Madeline Drive                                                          

Pasadena, CA 91105                                                                 



Westside Neighborhood School                                      

Grades Pre – 8

5401 Beethoven Street                                                    

Los Angeles, CA 90066                                                  




Willows Community School             Grades K – 8

8509 Higuera St.                                                             

Culver City, CA  90232                                                     

  1. 815.0411                                                                               



Wildwood                                 Grades 6 – 12

11811 Olympic Blvd.                                                                   

Los Angeles, CA  90064                                                     

  1. 478.7189                                                                               



Windward School                        Grades 7 – 12

11350 Palms Blvd.                                                          

Los Angeles, CA  90066                                                 

  1. 391.7127                                                                               


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