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Athenian School

School rating 4 / 5 by

2100 Mount Diablo Scenic Boulevard Danville CA 94506 United States
9th to 12th
6th to 12th


Athenian School review by .

Athenian's academic program is intended to prepare students not only for a rigorous collegiate experience, but for the world at large. Dedicated faculty and small classes (all under 18 students) ensure that each student receives individual attention and support. Most classes are largely discussion-based, allowing students to formulate their own ideas and engage actively with the course material. The academic program for Freshmen and Sophomores strives to make connections between different academic disciplines by synchronizing the subject matter of the Literature, Social Studies and Art classes. In the 9th grade year, a focus on World Cultures yields international novels, various styles of cross-cultural music, world history and current world events. Tenth graders focus on aspects of American society, studying U.S. History and classic American novels from parallel periods in history. For Juniors and Seniors, a special system of "Seminar" classes in English, History, Philosophy and Art allows each student to tailor the academic experience to his or her interests and aspirations. Thus, rather than taking "English III," a student may take two courses ranging from Shakespeare to Poetry to Latinoa Literature, and general history is replaced with two courses on the holocaust, African History, Vietnam or any number of other specific topics. Each course may be taken for honors, which usually involves more extensive class projects and meetings with the teacher. Conversely, students may elect to take AP courses in Mathematics, History, English, Science, Spanish or French. Athenian is a college preparatory school. As such, the work load is considerable (2-5 hours per night, depending on the student and the specific classes), but there are resources available to help students develop study habits and time management skills. Each student has an adviser, a member of the faculty who is the student's advocate and helper. This person can help arrange tutoring, extra meetings with teachers in difficult classes, or facilitate negotiations with the family to ensure optimum success. Although exams are an important part of most courses, rote memorization is not the goal of any class, even the APs. Athenian's dedication to educating the whole individual is expressed in class as strong emphasis on class participation, creative projects and applied learning.

College Counseling

College counseling at Athenian begins in the Sophomore year, with college fairs, practice college entrance....

Sample insights on college counseling

  • They have contacts at most of the major universities and feel perfectly comfortable picking up the phone and advocating for a student to get accepted somewhere they feel is a good fit for that student. However, these counselors are certainly not magic bullets. They cannot guarantee that a student will get into an Ivy League university...
  • For those wishing to move on to Oxford or Cambridge, the provision is second-to-none. In the months running up to application and interview, every subject faculty offers classes (often run by former Oxbridge tutors) exploring further areas of their subject as well as offering advice on personal statements, interview technique and more...

Admissions - Getting Accepted

The admissions process at Athenian was what made me decide to attend. I had....

Sample insights on admissions

  • For the interview, dress conservatively. Try to be very clean and put together. Also, I was a tour guide for two years and at the end of every tour, we were asked to evaluate the candidate so if you think the tour is not apart of the process, you are very wrong. Ask questions and be interested. Also, tip for the parents: the kids speak on the tour. Do not ask their questions for them...
  • Most younger siblings have an easy time in the admissions process. I can only think of one case of a younger sibling not being admitted. About half of the students who entered with me had come from public schools. The remainder came from private K-6 schools, or had transferred from other New York private schools The Elizabeth Morrow School and St. Bernard were two of the larger feeder schools...

School Life

Athenian is a mixed community of day students and boarding students. The boarding community is close, and consists of students, on-campus faculty, and their families. It isn't uncommon to have breakfast or dinner with your academic teachers, babysit their kids, and be included in birthday and holiday celebrations. During the week, a shuttle runs every afternoon to a nearby shopping center for boarders to grab some food off campus, do errands or just hang out. On the weekends, there are organized trips to theme parks, malls, or other areas of interest. There are also shuttles....

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