Sacred Heart Admission: How to Get Into Sacred Heart! The Winning Strategies for Acceptance.

Cardinal Education offers private school consulting services, including tutoring, academic coaching, and interview preparation.

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Sacred Heart Prep is a Catholic private high school and is among the best ones in California. It is nestled in Atherton, California. The school’s Catholic identity shapes its inclusive community that fosters intellectual curiosity, compassion, and social responsibility. Sacred Heart encourages its students, whom they call Gators, to help other people and to lead with love. The intellectual journey of every Gator is valued highly and members of its community have a deep respect for intellectual and Christian values. Besides getting into the most elite schools and universities and having scholastic achievements, SHP also highlights the value of relationships and self-expression in its programs. 

Is Sacred Heart Hard to Get Into? 

Sacred Heart Prep is a competitive and challenging private school. Admission is very selective, and students must meet a set of academic and personal standards to be accepted. The school considers each applicant thoroughly and looks for well-rounded students with a variety of interests and talents who will contribute to the school community.

As trusted admissions consultants, it is our mission to help you ace admissions requirements, admissions events, and the entire application process! Cardinal Education has a dedicated team of educational consultants, tutors, and academic coaches who are more than capable of helping you strategize and map out your family’s vision of success!

Sacred Heart School Application Process

The Sacred Heart application process begins by creating your Student Profile at Ravenna, where you will be able to check and track deadlines of every admissions requirement. Remember that the deadlines listed vary between grade levels. Here are the steps you should follow:

  1. Register for virtual events
  2. Submit the application
  3. Sign up for a parent/guardian interview
  4. Schedule for a classroom visit

Sacred Heart School Admissions Requirements

Preliminary Application Form

The preliminary application form contains basic information about you and your child, your household, siblings, and the schools attended. This is also where learning differences, disabilities, and other medical conditions may be stated. There is also a checklist of special interests, hobbies, and sports, some of which may require short explanations of 300 characters.   

Proctored Writing Sample

Grades 6-12 applicants are required to take the Proctored Writing Sample. This is a virtual activity administered by Test Innovators where students are asked to answer prompts within the time limit of 30 minutes. Many students find this challenging and are not able to compose their thoughts and put them into writing effectively. 

Our Proctored Writing Sample Preparation teaches students thought organization and writing skills to help them produce well-written and compelling essays. We offer free writing assessments to identify where your child needs help and then provide writing exercises to improve skills.

Virtual Admission Family Interview

After submitting the preliminary application form, schedule a virtual family interview with a member of the admissions team through Ravenna. This provides the family an opportunity to introduce themselves and show how they are a good fit for Sacred Heart Schools. The interview lasts for approximately 30 minutes and parents and children take turns answering questions. 

Sacred Heart is looking for families whose values align with those of the school. The family interview could make or break your chances for admission. Our admissions consultants will guide you and make sure that you are fully prepared. What makes our interview preparation successful is our complete understanding of the Sacred Heart admissions process. We know what they want and the questions they are likely to ask.


All applicants are required to submit the official transcript from the previous academic year and the first semester of the current year plus a complete attendance record. 

Aside from academic prowess, transcripts also show readiness to take on Sacred Heart Prep’s coursework. If your child’s grades are not that great, we advise that you start tutoring on the most challenging subjects early because improving grades takes time. Our tutoring services are the most sought-after in the Bay Area. Our tutors will make sure that your child’s grades improve and meet all the requirements. We offer in-person or online tutoring for a variety of subjects as well as academic coaching to help develop executive function skills and prepare your child for challenging tasks and eventually achieve academic success.

Recommendation Letters

Upper school applicants must submit recommendation letters from the current teachers in English and math and also from the principal or school counselor. Sacred Heart Prep will not accept additional letters of recommendation from other teachers, coaches, or mentors. 

As we have been helping students get into Sacred Heart Prep for almost two decades, we know what the admissions officers value the most! Our admissions consultants will help obtain shining recommendation letters that highlight your child’s strengths, academic achievements,  differentiating characteristics, and unique qualities. However, these must be supported by other credentials, including GPA, test scores, and active participation in extracurricular activities.

Do letters of recommendation really matter?

Recommendation letters should be able to differentiate your child from other applicants. In our experience, a lot of students are usually convinced that they can get into their dream school as they believe themselves to be outstanding students. However, being an outstanding student is different from being an exceptional applicant. You should keep in mind that there could be a whole lot of other applicants applying with the same or, even better, GPAs and accomplishments as your child’s. As experts in private school admissions, we developed, improved, and mastered strategies that will help you gain strong recommendations from the counselor, principal, and teachers. 

Parent/Guardian Statement

Parents or guardians of applicants are required to submit 1000-character responses to short answer questions that can be found on Ravenna. The questions elicit responses that show your child’s strengths, and weaknesses, as well as your goals as a family. 

Admissions officers are not only focused on your child but on your whole family as well. After the family interview, they would want to know more through the parent/guardian statement. Simple, truthful, and authentic answers will never go wrong. However, you should know which responses will increase or harm your chances of admission. As we get to know you through our holistic admissions process, we can guide you in identifying your strengths and values that will appeal to the admissions committee because we know what they value most.

Student Statement/Essay 

Applicants will be asked to choose one common essay question and answer it in approximately 500 words and two additional questions that require shorter responses. The questions delve deeper into the student’s personality and character and are more personal and introspective.

The admissions committee would want to understand your child more through past experiences and present circumstances. We understand that many anecdotes and examples may come to mind, but we will help you identify which ones are relevant to Sacred Heart. They are looking for uniqueness, something that will make your child stand out from the rest of the applicants. Writing skills will also be displayed, and with limited words, how do you make the essay compelling and powerful? Our team can help your child choose unique anecdotes and write exceptionally good essays. If your child struggles with writing, Cardinal Education offers a Program in Writing and Reading (PWR) to help develop reading and writing skills.

Prep Video Project

Upper school applicants are required to submit a simple and short video of themselves answering two questions specified on Ravenna. The video may be recorded using an iPhone, iPad, or other smartphones, should be less than 60 seconds long, and be in one continuous shot with no editing. Videos that are professionally done and edited won’t be accepted. The end product should be uploaded on any video-sharing website with the URL copied on Ravenna. 

The video is meant to complement the personal statement/essay and display your child’s real personality. Remember that answers need to be truthful, authentic, and delivered with confidence. This time, speaking skills will be evaluated along with content. To stand out in this prep video project, practice is key. Our admissions consultants are ready to help you with this new element in the admissions process.

Who are Sacred Heart School’s notable alumni?

A lot of Sacred Heart Prep graduates have pursued various professions and have become successful in their respective fields, but Sacred Heart really values its alumni athletes. Some notable alumni athletes in the SHP Hall of Fame include: 

  1. Tierna Davidson – a soccer player for the Chicago Red Stars of the NWSL and the youngest player on the USA’s 2019 World Cup team
  2. Abby Dahlkemper – a professional soccer player for the San Diego Wave FC of the NWSL and the US national team
  3. Ben Burr-Kirven – a National Football League player
  4. Caroline “KK” Clark – a water polo player and part of the American team at the 2013 World Aquatics Championships in Barcelona and the 2016 Summer Olympics in Rio de Janeiro
  5. Kelly Crowley – a 17-time Disability Swimming National Champion, 2-time Paralympic swimming gold medalist, and champion of the Time Trial World Championship 
  6. Drue Kataoka – a famous Japanese American visual artist chosen as the Young Global Leader for the World Economic Forum summit at Davos
  7. Melissa Pritchard – an award-winning short story writer, novelist, essayist, and journalist

Student Life at Sacred Heart

At the core of campus life at Sacred Heart is the school’s deep-rooted commitment to faith, leadership, service, collaboration, and self-discovery. Sacred Heart strives to provide its students with a perfect balance of school and personal life. It offers a wide array of co-curricular opportunities and enrichment programs that serve as a creative and innovative outlet for students. Besides clubs and activities, students are encouraged to participate in the school’s faith and spiritual activities, which include liturgies and prayer services, daily prayers and meditation, Espacios or community prayer, and retreats.

Sacred Heart Academics

Founded in the strong Catholic faith, the SHP curriculum fosters rigorous learning and social responsibility. Sacred Heart classes are seminar-style and small in size. Teachers utilize different objective and open-ended assessments such as essays, research papers, oral presentations, group projects, and performances. Students, on the other hand, usually take six academic courses each semester and religious studies for a total of eight semesters. AP courses in 20 subjects as well as Honors classes in math, science, and world languages are offered.  

Sacred Heart Activities

Sacred Heart School values social awareness and service. They encourage students to ponder human suffering and to actively find ways to help others. With compassion and consciousness, Sacred Heart’s aspiration includes students’ lifelong pursuit of justice. Sacred Heart education is about putting out love in public as another form of justice. Students can choose from various clubs related to student media, cultural identity, student government, creative process, technology, global emphasis, spiritual ministry, and other special interests. 

Sacred Heart Athletics

Athletics is a vital part of being a Gator. It is the school’s goal to provide all students with a positive, challenging, and fun athletic experience. The SHP athletics field JV and varsity sports, as well as additional “freshman only” teams in girls’ volleyball and boys’ basketball. Sportsmanship, leadership, and self-discipline are at the core of SHP athletics. Its programs uphold the school’s belief that high school athletics is weaved into fundamental life lessons. Coaches and training staff alike are dedicated to providing students with a meaningful and memorable experience.

Sacred Heart Arts

In terms of arts, Sacred Heart has a comprehensive, fine arts program designed to impart a strong fine arts foundation. SHP has music, theatre dance, and visual arts programs. In Music, SHP offers a variety of programs including Concert Band, SHP Jazz Band, Symphony, Chorus, Strings, and other music courses and clubs. SHP visual arts, on the other hand, includes Digital Arts, Photography, and Studio Art. SHP also takes pride in its own theater productions such as Shrek – All School Musical, Emma, Picasso at the Lapin Agile by Steve Martin, Alice in Wonderland, and a lot more.

Did You Know?

Sacred Heart was founded in 1898 as a boarding school for girls. The coeducational elementary school was opened in 1906.  

Client Testimonial

I am extremely grateful to Cardinal Education for their guidance and expertise throughout the entire application process. Their invaluable assistance helped my child secure admission to Sacred Heart.