In 1955, against the backdrop of despair and pessimism of the Great Depression in Iran, Ali Asghar Karbaschian who known as Allameh founded the Alavi Institute as an Islamic high school in Tehran, the capital of Iran. In 1957 new students entered classes on an old house which was bought for about $15000 and remodeled. The school was accredited by the Ministry of Education, and beside academic subjects, taught Islamic matters.
Mr. Allameh was a scholar in the city of Qom. He said that "There is no important job in more than conduct and help human beings to be better and worship God"
He left preaching activities and came to Tehran and established the institute in the name of Imam Ali, the first Imam of the Shi'as.
The big milestone after establishing the high school was hiring Ostad Reza Roozbeh, who was a researcher and teacher, as a Director of the school. Ostad Roozbeh died in 1973 and after that Dr. Mohammad Reza Khosravi was put in charge.
Alavi High school is difficult to gain admission to. About 70-80% of the 9th grade class are students that completed education in Alavi's primary and middle schools. The school's admissions process includes an examination and then an interview. The entrance examination includes Mathematics, Sciences, Persian Literature and History, as well as Shia Islamic fundamentals. The competition is fierce, and out of the hundreds that take the exam about one hundred are invited back for interviews. The interviews examine the student's social and religious core, as well as the parents'. What is looked for is an upper-class or highly educated middle-class family with strong religious convictions.
70-80 students are selected for the 9th grade to form that year's class; these students are then grouped into three classes. The 9th grade class continues to 12th grade and the students are mixed and re-grouped every year; admissions past 9th grade is extremely rare.
Several students from Alavi high school have been awarded medals at international math and science olympiads such as IMO, IPHO, ICHO, and IBO.
Alavi High School teaches its students two majors: Math and Physics, and Natural Sciences with 75-80% of students choosing the Math and Physics track.
Hossein Karbaschin, son of Allameh, is the principal of the school. as at 2007.