Back to school… But Which One?

Some of you may have heard of Fiona Whitney and her book, a very special kind of guide: The Whitney Guide.

Whitney moved to Los Angeles from her native England at a young age to work in the film industry but it wasn’t until she had children and was “shopping†for a school for her daughter that her real calling came to her. She did her homework researching every private school in Los Angeles and took all the school tours to collect information to help make her decision. She realized she could share what she had learned with other parents who were also looking for a school for their children. The Whitney Guide was born.

“The book helps parents narrow down their choices by giving them a mother’s down-to-earth impression of each school,†Whitney said.


But why choose a private school vs. a public one?

“Private schools make parents feel safe,†she said. “Many parents believe that, because they pay for it, it will give their children a better education, and in many instances they are right.â€

Private schools are costly, and tuitions usually range between $3,500 and $28,000 a year. Besides the quality of education children receive for this price tag parents also think of the unspoken benefits of sending their children to private schools.

According to Whitney, paying families are comfortable being around other “like-minded†families and hope their children will forge life-long relationships that could turn out to be rewarding in the future. It also allows parents to network with other parents.

But choosing a school for your children does not guarantee them a seat. A waiting list can quickly discourage some parents or push them to try to bribe the school.

“I have heard […] stories and it does not surprise me at all,†Whitney said. “There are families out there who are used to buying whatever they want. Why not a private school for their child?â€

But bribery does not always work and can often turn into an unnecessary humiliation for the family. Instead, try considering other options:

– Work your relations. Do you know anyone who would have a connection to the school?

– Having a sibling or close relative attending the school can almost guarantee your child a seat.

– Find out more about what the school is looking for and if you can match some of the criteria.

– Sponsors and generous “givers†who have donated to the school have sometimes a better chance to get in.

– Put your child on the waiting list at very young age. Chances are that by the time it’s your turn, your child will be old enough to attend!

For more information on The Whitney Guide, or for a private consultation, visit or call (323) 309-3521.

Some of the Top Private Schools on the Westside

  1. Archer School for Girls (310) 873-7000
  2. Berkeley Hall (310) 476-6421
  3. Brentwood (310) 476-9633
  4. Calmont School (818) 880-8820
  5. Carlthorp (310) 451-1332
  6. Crossroads School for Arts and Sciences (310) 829-7391
  7. Curtis (310) 476-1251
  8. Harvard Westlake (310) 274-7281
  9. John Thomas Dye (310) 476-2811
  10. Lycée Français (310) 836-3464
  11. Marymount (310) 472-1205
  12. Milken Community Schools (310) 440-3500
  13. Mirman School for Gifted Children (310) 476-2868
  14. New Roads (310) 828-5582
  15. Notre Dame Academy (310) 839-5289
  16. PS #1 Elementary (310) 394-1313
  17. Seven Arrows (310) 230-0257
  18. St. Matthew’s Parish School (310) 454-1350
  19. Corinne A. Seeds University Elementary School (310) 825-1801
  20. Viewpoint School (818) 340-2901
  21. The Village School (310) 459-8411
  22. Westland School (310) 472-5544
  23. Westside Waldorf School (310) 454-7084
  24. Stephen S. Wise Temple Elementary School (310) 476-8561