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The O’Dowd Advantage By Stephen Phelps, Ed.D.

Each year, I talk with hundreds of O’Dowd students, parents, alums, and applicants about the advantages of an O’Dowd education. The fast facts and student quotes featured here demonstrate that O’Dowd is a top college prep, Catholic school that nourishes skilled, joyful, creative and entrepreneurial students in an enriched, challenging, and diverse environment. Our school is truly unique. From the strength of our professional faculty and staff to our personal care and moral guidance, we add priceless value to the everyday development and future growth of our students. “My counselor and teachers have challenged me beyond my own expectations. With their support and guidance I have become a disciplined and well-rounded student who is well prepared for the future.” Sophia Kvochak ’13

Academics Fast Facts SAT scores for top 85 students in the Class of 2012 averaged 2002. The average for all 296 seniors was 1706: This is 202 points above the California mean of 1504. Honors, AP, and Electives: 27 Honors and AP courses, plus more than 50 electives, including 20 performing and visual art selections. UC System Acceptance Rate: O’Dowd ranks in the top 10 of more than 200 public and Catholic high schools in the greater Bay Area in the percent of the entire senior class admitted into the UC System. See website under “Admissions.” Percent to College is 99%. 95% enroll in 4-year colleges, with a few students choosing a gap year. The UC system reports that 83% of O’Dowd students graduate within five years, one of the highest rates in the UC System. College Scholarships and Grants: Graduates received more than $10 million in academic scholarships and grants. Each year 25-30 students receive full or partial athletic scholarships totaling more than $4 million.

“The counselors at O’Dowd are truly phenomenal. I have become really close with my personal counselor and she is always available to help. Whether it be a schedule change, or a personal issue, or help with college applications the counselors always have their doors open. I love having someone I trust on campus like that. It’s truly a great resource.” Maya Tyler ’13

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Academic Growth Over Four Years: The Class of 2012 entered O’Dowd in 2008 scoring higher than 75 percent of all 4.3 million American 8th graders and graduated scoring higher than 88 percent of these same students four years later. Student Counseling & Support Programs: O’Dowd provides 10 full time counseling and support professionals for academic, college career and personal counseling, greatly increasing college acceptances, scholarships and grants, student performance, and retention.


Catholic Identity Fast Facts School Prayer Life: Over four years, students participate in daily prayer more than 800 times, attend 30 schoolwide or class liturgies, and more than 400 students attend one of seven overnight Kairos and Senior vocation retreats.

“My religious education has been the source of my developing faith.” Matt Nelson ’16

Community Service: The Class of 2012 contributed 40,000+ hours of supervised community service in the Bay Area, US, and abroad and raised $30,000 for the poor. Religious Academic Life and Faith Formation: Students participate in eight semesters of engaging Religious Studies classes, with six of these classes counting for UC credit.

Unmatched Diversity Fast Facts Demographic Diversity: O’Dowd is among the most ethnically and socioeconomically diverse private schools in the United States: 43% European American, 19% African American, 12% Asian American, 12% Hispanic, 12% Other, 1% Middle Eastern, 1% Native American, with more than 20% being the first in their families to graduate from college and 3% international students.

“I have taken challenging AP courses, played tennis and baseball, gone on multiple science immersions to places like Yellowstone and Costa Rica, participated in spiritual retreats and the campus ministry team, and enjoy a full and fun social life at O’Dowd.” Sage Tyler ’13

Intellectual and Personal Diversity: O’Dowd students are artists, athletes, debaters, environmentalists, entrepreneurs, faith-filled and devout, intellectually gifted, global citizens, ivy league scholars, leaders, learning different, math and science geniuses, socio-economically diverse, service oriented, technology geeks and much more.

Student Athletics and Activities Fast Facts “I am blessed to be attending a phenomenal school that provides so many rich opportunities for me to succeed academically, athletically, spiritually, and socially in life."

Athletics: 800 athletes, playing 16 sports on 57 teams. See website under “Athletics.”

Elliott Brue ’13

Athletic/Academics Awards: Class of 2012 won 17 league, North Coast Section, NorCal, and State titles and 10 North Coast Section scholastic championships for the highest athletic team GPAs Performing and Musical Arts: Every student involved in esteemed performing and visual arts and music programs through class, club or presentaton; 125 in award-winning Speech & Debate and Mock Trial, and Robotics. Nearly every student involved in at least one of our 45 clubs, from Dragon Ambassadors to International Cooking Club. See website under “Activities.”

All Winter Sports Teams Captured North Coast Section Titles

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The O'Dowd Advantage  

Concise overview of Bishop O'Dowd High School

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