This is a safe place to share your honest opinions of a school, whether good or bad.
Posted January 31, 2014
- a student
I've been at Commonwealth School for two years now. While I love some things about it, I've also had a really hard time there. The academics are super challenging, which I like, but the amount of work leaves it so I have literally very very little free time. The school gives students a good amount of independence, which I also like. However, I've had trouble fitting in with the school culture. There's a heavy intellectual-nerdy, wealthy, privileged population that dominants school culture. If you don't come from that background or are a bit "mainstream," it can be hard to fit in. The athletics are really bad, too. Everyone makes the "varsity" sports and the level of skill on those teams is really low. If you want a good in-school athletic experience, don't go to Commonwealth (unless you're a fencer).
I just stumbled upon this website so I couldn't resist adding my praise to the pile. I have a son who graduated and one who is a current student. This school was "life changing" for them. It's intense, but boy oh boy do you come out of it with a strong intellect, great study habits and a mature and respectful attitude towards others. As others have mentioned it's a fairly self selected student body, but there is a huge diversity of interests among them. Last thing...the sports are not huge, but they can be intense if you want. The students take the team sports and fencing very seriously.
Commonwealth is really a place like no other: it's one of the most intense experiences of your life. But you'll come out with an amazing education, as well as a great sense of who you are and what you're capable of. I wanted to make a comment about the parent's review of 12/10/10, where s/he says that there are some very unqualified students. Commonwealth has always had a suspiciously high admittance rate for the level of student that the graduate, because the student body is largely self-selected. You have to really WANT an intensive environment. There have always been a bunch of students who are not, to be polite, the ones that make Commonwealth have the highest average SAT scores in the country. But they always have something else to offer, and make Commonwealth a richer place. One man that I graduated with might not have been getting straight A's, but he was an amazing artist, and his post-Commonwealth career has garnered a lot of very positive publicity. Commonwealth is known for its academics, but it's really so, so much more. You won't find a more interesting group of students at any school.
For a day school In the greater Boston are, it doesn't get any better than this! Committed teachers and administrators who instill passion and a love of learning in your child! Intellectual outliers thrive here--truly a well rounded education for Boston's most gifted! My only negative comment is that in very recent years they have allowed a very small number of unqualified students admittance, with an exception of at least one seemingly highly unqualified student matriculating here. For the most part and with very few exceptions, the students here are stellar intellects and their 'uniquness' is respected and appreciated. It's not an easy school and you will work harder than you ever imagined--but you are fully supported along the way.
Very rigorous, very challenging. The teachers are very easy to talk to, and yet know exactly what they are doing and have a passion for what they're teaching. Likewise, students are serious about learning and all have interests that the school really helps develop. As a student here, I feel like the school is a preparation for life beyond college rather than simply university. Not the place to go for sports, but for anything else? Yes.
i love this school!!!! I recently completed my freshman year and I loved the great discussions, and critical thinking aspects of my education. Within minutes it seemed like I knew everyone there; it is really that small!!! I could voice my opinion, and it didn't feel wrong; they embraced what everyone had to say. If you do better in a traditional classroom setting, then this is not the school for you, but if you are looking for a challenging place where you know everyone, are supported by them, and can voice your opinion and it counts, then this is the place for you. Great place to choose your classes and follow your dreams and interests.
An amazing place where students are challenged, respected and nurtured. Excellence is what is expected and what the stellar teaching staff deliver to and get from students. Strong leadership, cohesive community, urban setting that leverages city resources. Exceptional.
The most rarified secondary school education in the country. If you want sports, this is not the school for you. If want the most rigorous, stimulating secondary school liberal arts education available, this is the place. A world class eduation. I am an alum who went to an elite college, law, and grad school and my training at Commonwealth prepared me well. I wish I lived in the Boston area so that I could send my children there.
Commonwealth is one of the most academically demanding schools imaginable, but its GREAT teachers strive to instill in, and elicit from its uniformly bright, frequently brilliant young people no less than the passion and engagement that accompanies a lifelong intellectual awakening. In that sense the school is 'progressive', i.e. a place crackling with the excitement of learning rather than the grim plodding of competition and careerism that characterizes the traditional 'lecture, test, and re-test' academies. For those relatively few kids who do not respond (and there will always be some), these expectations may be experienced merely as burden. But supports and caring are there. Careful attention is devoted to social and ethical issues consistent with the school mission of developing 'sharp minds and generous hearts'. School climate is atypically healthy - clique-ism gains minimal traction, and no excluding group or dynamic ever holds sway. It's a tough but happy place.
All I can say is that Commonwealth was not voted #1 private school for nothing! It amazes me how many truly gifted and profoundly intellectual peers you can find in one little school! The teachers and the administrators are not only supportive, and encouraging, and they show an interest in your success! They care if you are challenged and inspire you to push yourself even further! I've never worked so hard in my life, and the rewards have been countless so it is well worth it. I know that no matter where I go on to college--Harvard, MIT, Princeton or Yale--I will have the tools to succeed thanks to this academic mecca!