College Counseling

College ambitions and choices are as individual as the students themselves. Close collaboration among student, parents, and advisor assures that our graduates wind up at colleges as stimulating and challenging as Commonwealth. Commonwealth’s college counseling program is a well-tuned process that many parents say eases concerns during an often-stressful time.

College Counseling at Commonwealth

In the middle of 11th grade, each student starts working with a college counselor. As they begin to plan for the coming year, students receive individual accounts on Commonwealth's Naviance system.

During 12th grade, many other elements come into play:

  • College visits: The School designates several days in September and October as college visiting days for seniors.
  • Essay advisor: In addition to a faculty advisor and college counselor, each senior also has an advisor who helps him or her present a lifetime of experience so that college admissions officers can more fully appreciate the student’s interests and strengths.
  • Recommendation letters: Because teachers, the Headmaster, and college counselor know each student well, their recommendation letters sparkle with vivid detail.
  • Academic recognition: By their senior year most students have taken several Advanced Placement exams. A senior class of 36 typically includes two dozen students recognized by the National Merit Scholarship Program and a dozen or more AP scholars.

Preparing our Graduates for College and Beyond

Colleges frequently report that our graduates distinguish themselves in the depth of their preparation and interest in their studies. Most are ambitious in what they seek from college: demanding work and intellectual excitement. Many move directly into advanced undergraduate courses.

In choosing from among a variety of institutions large and small, near and far, our students go through an exercise in patience, thoughtful self-assessment, and organization. They also benefit from the steady support of a school that knows them well. Starting in the junior year, college counselors, who are also teachers, meet regularly with students and help them plan applications and meet deadlines.

Representatives from some fifty colleges and universities visit Commonwealth each fall, and several days are set aside in October for students' visits to campuses. Teachers, the Headmaster, and college counselor can write recommendations that are at once comprehensive and specific.

We work hard to help students prepare strong applications, but we also encourage them to regard college placement not as the reason for, but as a consequence of their achievement here. We are proudest of our success in preparing students for their lives beyond Commonwealth, and of how often they end up doing work that can make a difference in the world.