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Polytechnic School

School rating 3 / 5 by

1030 East California Boulevard Pasadena CA 91106 United States
K to 12th


Polytechnic School review by .

Academically speaking, Poly was a very humanities-focused school, which did not help me at all during my time at MIT. In fact, it proved detrimental, as I struggle a lot my first year. While the academics were very rigorous (I spent more time studying at Poly than I ever did in college), I didn't think it prepared me for anything I went out to do, however, keep in mind that I went into an engineering field at an engineering school. Each department had its own teaching philosophy. English was more discussion and essay based, while history, foreign language, math, and science were all lecture based. I believed that the rigor lied mostly in the difficulty of the English department. My first two years, I had the toughest teacher in the department and the majority of my schoolwork was geared towards keeping afloat in her class. It was well-taught, and I did learn a lot, but none of it ever helped me years down the road. And while the AP sciences were time-consuming, they didn't prove too effective in . Much outside work was required to do well on the exams and grades were not easy to come by. Class sizes were small - around 20 per class. Teachers were almost always available after school for help on exams or essays. It was actually required back then, but I understand that policy might have changed. The weekly workload was intolerable. I was a student-athlete year round and found myself going to bed around 2AM almost every night, staying up to study for the exorbitant number exams or write papers. This, I have to say was the worst part about Poly and led to some of the most stressful times of my life, even to this point. I don't think that I really learned how to study, too, which really didn't help me in the future.

College Counseling

College counseling at Poly was actually great. The process would've been much more difficult....

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

I firmly believe that a good amount of the students at Poly were only there....

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

When I was in school, the administration was far too rigid with discipline. Many students were made examples of and many received punishments that were far too extreme, me being one of them. Additionally, it was quite unfair, as some people got off because they were well-connected within the school or because they were in good standing with the Dean of Students (a fancy title for the football coach who disciplined kids). Additionally, everybody was scared of the administration, which I didn't think was healthy at all. The school newspaper was completely censored and I recall....

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