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All You Need to Know About High School Placement

Updated: Jul 3

We are fortunate in Los Angeles to have many options available to our students for high school. Naturally, parents want to send their children to the best school for them but this abundance of choice can also make the decision-making process overwhelming.

At Berkeley Hall, we provide all the support families need to make this a stress-free experience. With this in mind, we begin high school placement in 6th grade and continue through 7th and 8th grade. This thorough process includes:

  • Class meetings

  • Individual family meetings with the BHS Head of School

  • A high school fair for students to meet high school Admissions Directors

  • Interview coaching for each 8th grader by our Head of School

  • Conference calls with receiving high school Admissions Directors

While some private schools are currently not requiring the Independent School Entrance Examination (ISEE) and some are test-optional, we also provide resources and guidance for applicants who decide to take this exam.

What to Consider

There are many factors to consider when choosing between private day schools, boarding schools, charter and public schools. Here are a few points parents should look at before making a commitment:

Size of the School

Large schools are great for some children, but for many, it can mean academic disaster. Class sizes can range from seventy-five students per grade upwards to over 400 or more. Individual class sizes can range from twelve students in private schools to well over thirty in public or charter schools. It’s important to consider how your child does in larger class sizes. There is no ‘right’ or ‘wrong’ here, just what works best for your child.


Certain schools have a hyper focus on sports, while others may have a strong emphasis on visual and performing arts. Knowing your child’s interests can help determine if a school is right for them. Many public schools do not have the same funds as private schools for extracurricular activities. Others place a heavy emphasis on sports like basketball and football. This means that there may be a lack of funding for programs like band, art, or even the debate team. If your child loves a sport, that’s great. However, if they want to seriously pursue an art, you will want to look carefully at each school’s visual and performing art programs.

Shadow Visits

Every year, it seems as if admission is increasingly more competitive even as Admissions Directors have been careful to factor in the effects of the pandemic on academics and mental health.

Not only that, but schools have uniquely different learning styles and methods. This means that while on the surface a school may seem great, it may not have a learning style or method that is conducive to your child’s learning needs. Thankfully, many high schools offer in-person shadow visits in which 8th graders can come and experience a half-day on their campus. This helps them have a genuine feel if a school is right for a student or not. These visits also allow students to ask questions to both faculty and current students.

Trusting the Process

The process of applying to high school is often a journey of self-discovery and an opportunity for being open and trusting. We are proud to see more than 90% of our BHS students being accepted to their first or second choice high school while the others go on to the other schools on their list and never look back. Each year, we invite our graduates and their parents to a dinner where they come together with old friends and meet their former teachers and our Head of School and administrators. We enjoy hearing about their successes and positive experiences as they transition to high school.

Our graduates are respectful, honest, compassionate students with a sense of responsibility and academic integrity which they uphold even after they leave BHS. They move onto high school ready to make a meaningful impact on today’s society and many of them go on to top tier colleges.

To learn more about Berkeley Hall and what our school can do for your child, visit our website or schedule an in-person tour. Click here to register for an upcoming admissions event.

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