Frequently Asked Questions
We have attempted to answer many of the questions that surface during the admissions process.
The list is by no means exhaustive, and, given that many families may be new to independent school admissions, other questions may indeed arise.
To gain better insight into our curriculum, philosophy, the atmosphere at the school, and the admissions process itself, please refer to our viewbook. Please let us know if we can share any further information with you.
- How many students are admitted to the East Campus?
- How many applications do you receive?
- How important is the ISEE?
- Can a student take the ISEE more than once?
- Do you recommend test preparation courses?
- In assessing candidates, do you consider more than just quantitative (standardized test results, GPA) factors?
- Who sits on the Brentwood Admissions Committee?
- How does having a Lower School (K-5) affect a student's chance of admission to Middle School?
- What types of schools do most of your students come from?
- How does the school handle sibling and legacy applications?
- How important is the interview?
- Is it important when a family interviews or with whom?
- How do we set up a tour?
- Does Brentwood offer shadow days?
- Does Brentwood accept international students?
- When will we be notified if our child has been accepted to your school?
- How large are classes?
- How would you characterize your faculty?
- Does Brentwood School have a bus program?
- What types of support systems does the school provide for new students?
- As parents/guardians, we hear about how much pressure exists at independent secondary schools like Brentwood. Is this true?
- Are there "cuts" in your Middle School sports program?
- Do you have organized school clubs and activities?
- Do you have a dress code?
The three largest entry points to Brentwood School’s East Campus for the 2019-20 school year are Grades 6, 7, and 9. We will add 22 new students to the 6th Grade. Approximately 44 students from our 5th Grade class will join these 22 new students for a total of 66 students in the 6th Grade. We will add 80-85 new students to the 7th Grade. Approximately 44 students from our 6th Grade class will join these 80-85 new students for a total of approximately 125-130 students in the 7th Grade. We typically add 25-30 new students in the 9th Grade. We accept applications to Grades 8, 10, 11, and 12 and admit students to these grades based on attrition.
ISEE results are an important factor, yet not the determining one. We have no cutoffs or minimums. We realize that, inherent to any test of this kind, there are certain limitations as any standardized test fails to measure a student's motivation, creativity, research ability, and character. The ISEE does, however, provide us with a common denominator, given that students apply from such a wide variety of schools and thus have somewhat different educational backgrounds. In cases where we are familiar with a student's school, where the student has performed well in a solid academic program, and where the recommendations are quite positive and insightful, less importance is placed on the ISEE. We ask that applicants take the ISEE no later than Saturday, January 12, 2019. Please release your child’s ISEE score report to Brentwood School no later than Friday, January 18, 2019. Our school code is 051555.
Brentwood School and the ISEE do not encourage multiple testing. Only under very special circumstances, such as a sudden illness, should an additional testing be considered. The testing company that creates the ISEE allows students to take the ISEE during three testing windows—Fall (August–November); Winter (December–March); and Spring/Summer (April–July). Students may take the test only once per window. Brentwood School will only accept ISEE scores from the Fall and Winter windows.
No, we do not. There has been much debate over the value of test preparation courses. The central question remains whether short-term coaching can improve a student's performance on what is supposed to be a test of a student's aptitude to learn. The ISEE, in terms of format and concepts tested, should be similar to the tests that students take annually at their current elementary or middle schools. Test preparation courses can lead to increased pressure by making the test appear, in the eyes of an already nervous young student, like the one all-important factor.
Absolutely. While academic criteria are of significant importance to the Admissions Committee, we look at a variety of information to determine a candidate's intellectual strengths. Beyond the ISEE scores and grades from the current school, we also look very closely at teacher recommendations, the administrator recommendation, and the interview. All of those factors combined give the Admissions Committee a sense of not only the academic promise of the candidate, but also the child's personality and extracurricular interests. Rest assured that we spend a considerable amount of time in our deliberations as we try to be as thorough and fair as possible in bringing together a diverse and capable student body each year.
Actually, there are two Admissions Committees at Brentwood. The Middle School Admissions Committee reviews applications to Grades 6 through 8. Its members include: the Admissions Team, the Middle School Director, the Middle School Assistant Director, the Director of Equity and Inclusion, senior administrators, School Counselors, and faculty members from each department (English, world language, history, math, science, arts, and athletics). The Upper School Admissions Committee reviews applications to Grades 9-12. Its members include: the Admissions Team, the Upper School Director, the Upper School Assistant Director, the Director of Equity and Inclusion, senior administrators, School Counselors, and faculty representatives from each department (English, world language, history, math, science, arts, and athletics).
Brentwood is a K-12 school located on two campuses. Our expectation is that the majority of our Lower School students will continue their Middle and Upper School experience at Brentwood. But this still leaves approximately 22 openings for new 6th Grade students and 80-85 openings for new 7th Grade students. Please note that we will only accept applications to 6th Grade from students currently enrolled in public schools, students relocating to Los Angeles, or students whose elementary schools end in Grade 5.
At Brentwood School, we are committed to making the best possible match between learner and school. A balanced yet diverse student population—in terms of individual grade levels and the student body as a whole—is our top priority. While it is natural for families to hope that all of their children will share the same educational experience, what is right for one child may not necessarily be the best option for another. Individual learning style, academic inclination, a need for more or less structure, athletic and artistic interests are among the many variables thoughtfully considered during the admission process. Ultimately, most important is our estimation of whether the sibling or legacy would thrive in this learning environment and how s/he would round out the composition of the class as a whole. A secondary consideration is how involved relative to their time and resources the parents/guardians have been in our school community. No one is guaranteed admission; we urge all siblings and legacies to fulfill the requirements of the admission process early and to apply to at least three other schools. The East Campus sibling and legacy application deadline is September 7, 2018.
The parent/guardian(s) and student will be interviewed separately by one of the members of our Admissions Team. We constantly remind ourselves of the limitations of an interview, and we understand how nervous some students (and parents/guardians) might be. Yet the interview does provide you with an opportunity to meet a representative of the school and to take a private tour. It allows us a chance to get acquainted with you and to gain some feeling for the applicant, his or her personality, interests, and sense of humor. We have been pleasantly surprised as to how relaxed and spontaneous most of the students we meet with really are. In many cases, the parents/guardians prove to be more nervous than the student. We feel the interview should be fun and informative for both you and us. Each interview is followed by a tour of the campus given by one of our current parents/guardians.
Not at all. Due to the large number of applicants, our staff is busy interviewing from mid-September to mid-February. Many parents/guardians like to have the entire process completed prior to the winter holidays, while others, due to an array of reasons, begin and complete the process a bit later. We hope to see interviews evenly spread out over this five month period, so the timing of the interview is not a factor in our admissions decisions. We just look forward to seeing you on campus sometime in the fall or winter. Each Admissions Director interviews approximately one-third of our applicant pool.
Families automatically receive a private tour of our campus immediately after the interview. We also host Parent/Guardian Open Houses and Student Open Houses during the fall. Please click on our online Open House RSVP button on the East Campus: 7-12 Admissions Process page. We also invite your family to attend arts and athletics events over the course of the admissions season. You can view upcoming events on our website or contact our Admissions Office with any questions.
Due to the intimate size of our classes and the large number of applicants to our East Campus, we do not offer shadow day visits for applicants. We invite your family to get to know Brentwood by attending our school and admissions events. We encourage applicants to attend a Student Open House and parents/guardians to attend a Parent Open House during the fall of 2018. During our Open House events, students and parents/guardians have the opportunity to meet and hear from a wide variety of Brentwood students, parents, faculty, and administrators and to attend class sessions. Applicants and their parents/guardians will also have the opportunity to tour the school following the family interview. We also welcome your family to attend any of our performing arts or athletics events. You can view upcoming games and performances on our website or contact our Admissions Office with any questions.
The Admissions Office will email decisions to families of students applying to Grades 9-12 at 5:00 p.m. on March 8, 2019. Families of Upper School applicants will have until 12:00 p.m. on March 19, 2019 to enroll in the grade to which they have been accepted.
The Admissions Office will email decisions to families of students applying to Grades 6 through 8 at 5:00 p.m. on March 15, 2019. Families of Middle School applicants will have until 12:00 p.m. on March 25, 2019 to enroll in the grade to which they have been accepted.
With a student-to-teacher ratio of 8:1 and an average class size of 17, our classes range from independent study courses of only one or two students to a maximum class size of 20. As a student moves into upper level language classes or gets involved in electives, Honors, or Advanced Placement classes, class size may decrease.
Highly qualified, enthusiastic, and caring say it best. Most of our faculty members view their jobs as more than just 8:00 a.m. to 3:00 p.m. shifts. Many of them also coach and sponsor activities while remaining available to tutor or counsel any student who comes for help or who they sense is in need of it.
We offer morning and after-school bus service from Beverly Hills, Brentwood, Cheviot Hills, Crenshaw, Culver City, Encino, Hancock Park, Inglewood, Mid-City area, Pacific Palisades, Rancho Park, Santa Monica, Sherman Oaks, and Westwood. The after-school routes have three departure times: 3:30 p.m., 5:30 p.m., and 6:15 p.m. Also, many students travel to and from school in carpools. We will aid families in this process by providing names and addresses (organized by zip code) of the students who will be attending Brentwood each year. Students who drive their own cars and wish to park on campus are required to carpool.
Students receive support on many fronts. Very thorough Orientation and Welcome Events serve to introduce our new families to the school and help in making the students' transitions easier. 6th Grade students have a homeroom teacher who oversees their academic, emotional, and social development. Every 7th-12th Grade student at Brentwood has an advisor, either a faculty member or administrator. In the Upper School, students meet formally with their advisor in small groups of 8 to 10 once (sometimes twice) per week for 25 minutes, as well as informally at other times, often during lunch. In addition, Class Deans oversee the activities of each class (Grades 9-12). The Middle School Advisory Program allows for students to develop stronger connections to faculty members who are available to support them throughout their 7th and 8th Grade experience. Students meet in Advisory several times per week for a half-hour session. Our Counseling Office is staffed by six professionally-trained school counselors. It is open to students who may be experiencing academic or personal problems. Given the nature of a small independent school, students get to know faculty members quite well and close relationships develop. The school also employs two licensed psychologists/learning specialists who act as educational resources for students, teachers, and parents/guardians. The Directors of both the Upper and Middle Schools are always available to meet with students as well.
In our view, there is a difference between a stimulating learning environment where pressure does exist and a school being a real "pressure cooker." Our students work very hard as our curriculum is quite challenging. Yet what keeps it from being a highly pressured situation stems from the warm, informal, and friendly nature of the campus, the small class size, and the support each student readily finds available from administrators, faculty members, and fellow students. There is always someone to go to with any kind of problem, be it academic or personal in nature.