Prep at a Glance


Our Community

Founded in 1960 by Mary Harley Jenks and Ruth Willis, The College Preparatory School is an independent coeducational day school for grades 9-12 in Oakland, California. Our kind, creative, diverse, and joyful community engages, supports, and inspires academically curious young people.

Students & Faculty

363 Students
Every year, our reputation for high standards of scholarship and character—and our culture of warm acceptance—attracts motivated students from all over the Bay Area. Our student body reflects broad racial, ethnic, and economic diversity, as well as diversity of interests and talents.

This year, 52% of the students are female and 48% male; 51% are students of color. Average academic class size is 13 and the average entering class size is 90. While most students begin in 9th grade, we often welcome a small number of new sophomores and juniors. Our students come from a diverse group of over 85 middle schools—Independent: 65%, Public: 26%, Parochial: 8%, Home Schooled: 1%.

College Prep draws students from communities throughout the region:

  • 38% from Oakland/Piedmont
  • 31% from Contra Costa County (Central) 
  • 25% from Berkeley and cities north of Berkeley
  •   6% from Alameda and cities south of Oakland

55 Faculty & 30 Staff
College Prep faculty members engage in focused learning interactions with every student. They have earned outstanding reputations for mastery of their subjects and for gifted teaching in the classroom. Of our 55 faculty members, 17 have earned doctorates and another 30 have master’s degrees; in total, 85% hold advanced degrees.

Our Campus

Our 5-acre campus has 15 buildings tucked into a small valley that blends with Northern California landscape of native plants and eucalyptus trees.


Mission and Philosophy

Our Mission

At College Prep we believe in the foundational importance of scholarship, the value of dialogue, and the need for academically curious young people to belong to a kind, creative, diverse, and joyful community. We challenge our students to engage deeply in learning, appreciate one another, and grow into adults who are intellectually adventurous, ethically sure-footed, and generous of heart and spirit.

Our Philosophy

Guided by Mens Conscia Recti, “a mind aware of what is right,” College Prep develops each student's strengths and capacities through an education based on ten core beliefs.

  1. We value the individuality of our community members and our egalitarian school culture.
  2. We believe that high expectations, kindled curiosity, and dedicated effort encourage students to discern excellence and strive to do their best.
  3. We affirm that deep learning requires patience, creativity, reflection, and practice.
  4. We cultivate an awareness of self and others that is rooted in respect and empathy and emphasizes the importance of taking responsibility for one’s impact and actions.
  5. We work in a collaborative environment that gives young people opportunities to take risks, express themselves, and appreciate the perspectives and gifts of others.
  6. We embrace the variety of backgrounds and life experiences within our community and recognize that the rich expression of diversity is essential to a meaningful education.
  7. We integrate work and play, helping students recognize the elements of a balanced life.
  8. We foster an understanding of interdependence and stewardship that starts with care for our open-air Oakland campus and extends to our greater community.
  9. We prepare students to make a positive difference, encouraging engagement in a full array of school activities, and service and learning opportunities in the broader world.
  10. We dedicate ourselves, as teachers and mentors, to our own ongoing development, modeling commitment to learning and growth.


The curriculum at College Prep includes a full complement of courses and activities. Everything students do at school builds a sound foundation for college and for becoming educated, thinking, and responsible people in the modern world. All of the programs at school encourage students to develop creativity, intellectual curiosity, independent thought, and ethical sensitivity and behavior.

Within all kinds of classrooms and performing groups, through team activities and in-service projects, teachers create opportunities for students to explore and extend their abilities, freely test ideas, question assumptions, grapple with ethical issues, and acquire all the skills required for life-long learning and positive citizenship.

Academic Courses

English: English I, II, English Seminars (e.g., American Appetites; Autobiographies; Chicano/a Literature; Creative Writing: Poetry; Falling from Grace; Ghost Stories; Invisibility Blues; Literary Loves; Narrations Strange; Shakespeare's Laughter; Shock of the New; Telling Stories: The Craft of Fiction Writing; The Russians are Coming!)

History: World Civilizations, Western Civilization, U.S. History, History Seminars (e.g., America Since World War II; The Age of the Civil War: 1820-1876; Case Studies in Environmental History; Globalization and Modern China; Economics; Linguistics; U.S. Government)

World Languages: Chinese, French, Upper Level Japanese, Latin, Spanish, Language Seminars (e.g., Literature and Film of the Francophone World; France: Unity in Diversity?; Advanced Spanish Conversation, Literature, and Creative Writing; Culture and Current Events in the Spanish-Speaking World)

Mathematics: Math I, II, III, IIIA,  Math Analysis and Intro Calculus, Applied Math, The Art of Problem Solving, AP Calculus (AB and BC), AP Statistics

Science: Physics, Chemistry, Biology, Science Electives (e.g., Advanced Physics; Animal Behavior; AP Biology; AP Chemistry; AP Environmental Science; AP Physics; Astronomy; Issues in Science; Organic/Biochemistry; STEM Research Program)

Other: Computer Science, Debate/Forensics, The History of Drugs and Substances, Independent Study, Personal Essay Workshop, Philosophy, Story Writing Workshop, Web Design and Development, Women's Studies

Fine Art Courses and Performances

Visual Arts: Drawing and Design, Intermediate Art, Advanced Projects in Art, Photography, and AP Studio Art

Drama: Acting, Digital Video and Performance, Drama Performance, Stagecraft, and Drama Tech

Music: Chorus, Advanced Vocal Ensemble, Beginning Instruments, Orchestra, Chamber Music, Jazz Band, and AP Music Theory

Dance: Beginning, Intermediate and Advanced Dance

Performing Arts: Drama Productions, music concerts, art exhibits, dance shows, musicals, Music Tour, Cabaret Night, and more!

Campus Life

The school day begins at 8:05 am and ends at 3:10 pm on most days.

We are located less than a mile from Rockridge BART. We offer shuttle service between BART and the campus before and after school.

Our 1:1 Laptop Program equips all students with MacBook Pros to enable seamless cooperation on projects, facilitate communication between teachers and students, and ensure school-provided technical support.

College Prep athletic teams compete in the Bay Counties League East. Fall sports are cross-country (boys and girls), soccer (boys), tennis (girls), and volleyball (girls). Basketball is the winter sport (boys and girls). Spring sports are baseball (boys), golf (coed), soccer (girls), softball (girls), swimming (boys and girls), tennis (boys), track and field (boys and girls), and volleyball (boys). Go Cougars!

Performing arts offerings include drama productions, musicals, art exhibits, music concerts, dance shows, music tour, and Cabaret Night.

Students play an active role in the leadership of the school, serving alongside faculty members on the Judicial Committee, the Curriculum Committee, and the Green Council. Student Council includes representatives from each grade level.

Each spring our weeklong Intraterm program provides students with opportunities for experiential learning beyond the regular curriculum. Students choose from more than 40 diverse offerings, including classes on campus, around the Bay Area, and even around the world.

In 2013, College Prep’s Debate Team was a “Schools of Excellence” winner at the National Forensics League National Tournament, awarded to the top 20 teams in the nation.

College Prep has a long history of community service including partnerships with the Berkeley Men’s and Women’s Shelters, Chabot Elementary School, Chaparall House, Playworks, and our own Partners Program, which has been recognized by the Educational Policy Institute as a model pre-college outreach program.

Additional activities include retreats, student publications, multicultural events, Spirit Week, and dances.

SAT / AP / National Merit

Test scores are only part of how we know our students succeed, but they tell an important story.

Class of 2013 SAT Reasoning Test: 717 critical reading, 719 math and 734 writing

Advanced Placement Exams in 2013: 128 students took 225 exams in 20 different subjects with 98% of the scores 3 or higher.

Class of 2014 National Merit Recognition: 59% (compared to 5% of students nationwide).

College Prep has been recognized as one of the top 20 independent schools by Forbes and The Wall Street Journal, among others. 

College Matriculation

Colleges and universities already know that our students are well prepared. 100% of College Prep graduates attend four-year institutions.
Colleges that have matriculated four or more
College Prep graduates over the last five years
Swarthmore College  
New York University 8
Harvard University
17   Oberlin College 8
Stanford University
17   Macalester College 7
Univ. of Pennsylvania 15   Dartmouth College 6
Tufts University
Northwestern University 6
Occidental College
13   Pomona College 6
UC Berkeley 13   UC San Diego 6
Wesleyan University
13   Wellesley College 6
University of Chicago 12   Williams College 6
Carleton College
11   Scripps College 5
Columbia University 11   Barnard College
Cornell University
10   George Washington University
Lewis & Clark College
10   Hamilton College
UC Davis 10   Reed College
UC Santa Cruz 9   UC Santa Barbara
Wash U. - St. Louis 9   University of Southern California
Brown University 8   Yale University
Georgetown University 8

Non-Discrimination Policy

NOTICE OF NON-DISCRIMINATORY POLICY: The College Preparatory School admits students of any race, color, national and ethnic origin to all the rights, privileges, programs and activities generally accorded or made available to students at the school. The College Preparatory School does not discriminate on the basis of race, color, national and ethnic origin or sexual orientation in administration of their educational policies, admissions policies, scholarship, athletic and other school administered programs.