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Frequently Asked Questions

Below you will find answers to many of the questions that surface for families during the admissions process.

The list is by no means comprehensive, so we invite you to explore our viewbook and website to discover Brentwood School—our curriculum, philosophy, school community, the admissions process, and more. As other questions arise, please reach out to us at bwsadmissions@bwscampus.com or (310) 889-2657.

East Campus: Grades 6-12

How many applications do you receive?

The number of applications to our East Campus varies from year to year. We typically have a 4 to 1 ratio of applications to openings in Grades 6 and 7 and a 7 to 1 ratio of applications to openings in Grade 9.

How many students are admitted to the East Campus?

The three largest entry points to Brentwood School’s East Campus for the 2020-21 school year are Grades 6, 7, and 9. We typically 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 approximately 66 students in the 6th Grade. We will add 65 new students to the 7th Grade. Approximately 66 students from our 6th Grade class will join these 65 new students for a total of approximately 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.

When will we be notified of our child's admission decision?

The Admissions Office will release decisions to families of students applying to Grades 9-12 at 5:00 p.m. on March 6, 2020. Families of Upper School applicants will have until 12:00 p.m. on March 17, 2020 to enroll in the grade to which they have been accepted.

The Admissions Office will release decisions to families of students applying to Grades 6 through 8 at 5:00 p.m. on March 13, 2020. Families of Middle School applicants will have until 12:00 p.m. on March 23, 2020 to enroll in the grade to which they have been accepted.

How does the school handle sibling and legacy applications?

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 the child would round out the composition of the class as a whole. 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 6, 2019.

How does having a Lower School (K-5) affect a student's chance of admission to Middle School?

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 65 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.

Does Brentwood accept international students?

Yes. Brentwood School admits international students who move here with their parents/guardians. We will not issue Student Visas and do not provide student housing. We do not offer a program in English as a Second Language (ESL), so students must be completely fluent in English.

What types of schools do most of your students come from?

Brentwood School seeks to enroll a diverse student body from a wide variety of schools and backgrounds. Our current 6th graders come from 23 different schools, our current 7th graders come from 32 different schools, and our new 9th graders come from 20 different schools. There is no preference given to students from certain schools.

In assessing candidates, do you consider more than just quantitative (standardized test results, GPA) factors?

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 these 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.

How important is the ISEE?

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 academic potential, motivation, creativity, 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. We ask that applicants take the ISEE no later than Saturday, January 11, 2020. Please release your child’s ISEE score report to Brentwood School no later than Friday, January 17, 2020. Our school code is 051555.

Can a student take the ISEE more than once?

Brentwood School does not encourage multiple testing. Even if the applicant has taken The ISEE more than once, Brentwood School will only accept one score report for each applicant.

Do you recommend test preparation courses?

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.

Is it important when a family interviews or with whom?

Not at all. Due to the large number of applicants, our staff is busy interviewing from September through February. Many parents/guardians like to have the entire process completed prior to the winter holidays, while others, for an array of reasons, begin and complete the process a bit later. We hope to see interviews evenly spread out over this six 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-fourth of our applicant pool.

 

How important is the interview?

The parent/guardian(s) and student will be interviewed separately by one of the Admissions officers. 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 personalized tour. It allows us a chance to become acquainted with you and to gain some feeling for the applicant's personality and interests. We feel the interview should be an opportunity for your family to learn more about our learning community as we learn more about your family.

How do we set up a tour?

Families automatically receive a personalized tour of our campus immediately following the interview. We also host Parent/Guardian Open Houses and Student Visit Days during the fall. We 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.

 

Does Brentwood offer shadow days?

Due to the intimate size of our classes and the large number of applicants to our East Campus, we do not offer weekday shadow day visits for applicants. We invite your family to get to know Brentwood by attending our school and admissions events. We also encourage applicants to attend a Student Visit Day and parents/guardians to attend a Parent/Guardian Open House during the fall of 2019. During our Visit Days and Open Houses, 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 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.

How large are classes?

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.

What types of support systems does the school provide for new students?

Students receive support on many fronts. Very thorough Orientation and Welcome Events serve to introduce new families to the school and help in making the students' transitions easier.

6th Grade students have a homeroom teacher and an advisor who oversee their academic, emotional, and social development. Every 7th-12th Grade student at Brentwood has an advisor, either a faculty member or administrator. The Middle School Advisory Program allows for students to develop stronger connections to faculty members who are available to support them throughout their Middle School experience. Students meet in Advisory several times per week. 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. In addition, Class Deans oversee the activities of each class (Grades 9-12).

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 three 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, and we offer various peer mentoring programs for all students.

Do you have organized school clubs and activities?

In both the Middle and Upper School, clubs and activities are incorporated into the regular school day during a special period each week. There are over 75 from which to choose.

Are there "cuts" in your Middle School sports program?

While there is a "no cut policy" in the Middle School, Brentwood School fields teams that are appropriate for all levels of athletics.

Do you have a dress code?

Yes. While our students are not required to wear uniforms, and while dress is viewed as a means of individual expression, students are asked to adhere to certain standards of dress. The guidelines with regard to personal appearance and dress are neat, appropriate, and in good taste.

Does Brentwood School have a bus program?

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, South Bay, 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 are eligible drive their own cars and wish to park on campus are required to carpool.