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Course Catalog

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“I feel a rush of excitement every day as I enter the Dartmouth lobby and join a mass of kids sitting, standing, running, finishing up that last bit of homework—already fully engaged in another day at Commonwealth.”

At Commonwealth:

We all, teachers and students alike, come from diverse backgrounds and places to work together in an intimate, intellectually vibrant community.

“Although we have a unifying Commonwealth identity, we come from different locations throughout the greater Boston area and represent different cultures. I have gotten to know and love people with unusual talents and tastes who I would not have known if I had ended up at a larger school. Here, we become aware that not everyone we meet will have the same story as our own.” 

Our classes are small and discussion-based. Easy give and take among students and teachers inspires independence of thought.

“We can enjoy thinking for its own sake, convinced that the real point of studying something complicated is not just to develop wit but to sharpen our understanding; not to be clever for others, but to be discriminating for ourselves.” 

The arts play an indispensable role in our daily lives.

“It was in the ceramics studio that I learned how not to overthink or overwork things. It’s easy and cheesy to say that’s a life lesson, but it changed my perspective a lot!” 

All of us in the community do our best to behave thoughtfully, act responsibly, and take initiative when it’s necessary.

“Just as we realize there is a purpose to homework, we realize there is a purpose to taking care of the school and each other. The mentality of personal hard work and community spirit is infectious. The result is a fertile, happy place.” 

We know that academic life isn’t everything.

“One of my favorite things about the Commonwealth student body is—aside from the general enthusiasm for learning within the classroom—the range of interests my peers have that lie outside academics.” 

Our urban location, right in the middle of Back Bay, offers nearly endless possibilities for our academic, community service, and extracurricular programs.

“We started (but didn’t finish) a list of all the times and reasons we go out the school door and into Boston: the City of Boston course, to start with; Ben and Jerry’s Free Cone Day; January projects; community service; Starbucks; sports—practice and games; play and concert rehearsals and performances (except for jazz); Frisbee on the Commonwealth mall; class visits to labs, museums, and lectures; museum and impromptu days; walks in the Public Garden, to Chinatown, or just around the block; the BPL— and fire drills.”

Faculty attention, one-on-one, is always available for both students who need extra support and those who want to pursue a subject beyond the syllabus of a given course.

“The relationships we have with our teachers generate a warmth that persists throughout our time here. The conversations we have with them sometimes seem a more vital part of our education than anything on the syllabus. I can almost chart my own development by the talks I’ve had with my teachers and my advisor.” 

Our goal is to help every student establish the foundation for a satisfying and productive life.

“While I was interning at the ICA, I began to think seriously about my career after school, imagining myself in the roles I was witnessing. It was then, realizing I could see myself in such positions ten years down the road, that I understood: Commonwealth was preparing me for life beyond school.”



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