Co-ed independent day school in Boston's Back Bay for academically adventurous students in grades 9–12

Dive In Commonwealth FAQs

Questions about Dive In Commonwealth? Take a look at our frequently asked questions below or feel free to reach out to the Dive In team if you have additional queries. 

Who is Dive In for? 

Dive In Commonwealth is for students from low-income backgrounds who love learning and are excelling at their current school, and crave advanced classes, academic challenges, and extracurriculars they can’t get at their current school.

How much does Dive In cost?

Dive In Commonwealth is completely free! All program costs are covered, including textbooks, field trips, SSAT tests, T-passes, lunch and snacks.

Is Dive In online or in person?

Dive In is held in person at our beautiful brownstone building located in Boston's Back Bay. This includes the summer program and Saturday sessions during the school year. 

Where is Dive In located, and how do you get there?

Our address is 151 Commonwealth Avenue, Boston, MA, 02116. (We are part of Commonwealth School!) You can take the MBTA Green Line to Copley Square or the Orange Line to Back Bay Station; there are buses, too. We also provide students with a T pass for the summer. Most Dive In students take public transportation by themselves. 

How many students are in Dive In?

Although it varies a little each year, there are usually around ten students per grade (sixth, seventh, and eighth graders), and about thirty students in total. The average class size is also approximately ten students.

Is Dive In just a summer program?

No, Dive In has both a school year and a summer component! Summer sessions are six weeks long and take place from early July to mid-August. Saturday sessions take place about twice per month from mid-September to mid-May. 

How long does the Dive In program last?

The full Dive In program lasts fourteen to twenty-six months, depending on when students enroll. 

If the student enters Dive In the summer after sixth grade, then they will ideally stay with us for three summers and two school years:

  • Summer Session 1, after sixth grade
  • Saturdays during seventh grade school year
  • Summer Session 2, after seventh grade
  • Saturdays during eighth grade school year
  • Summer Session 3, after eighth grade

If the student enters Dive In the summer after seventh grade, then they will ideally stay with us for two summers and one school year:

  • Summer Session 1, after seventh grade
  • Saturdays during eighth grade school year
  • Summer Session 2, after eighth grade

Most students commit to Dive In for the entire program. 

What’s the daily schedule? 

You’ll find a sample schedule on our webpage.

Summer sessions (six weeks from early July to mid-August) typically run from 9:00 a.m.–3:00 p.m., with English and math classes in the morning and other classes (science, history, book club, SSAT prep, arts, sports, etc.) in the afternoon. We also have field trips on Friday afternoons.

Saturday sessions (about twice per month from mid-September to mid-May) typically run from 10:00 a.m.–2:00 p.m., with English and math classes in the morning and art projects in the afternoon.

What kind of extracurricular activities does Dive In offer?

Dive In extracurriculars typically include art classes, such as ceramics, photography, and acting, as well as sports. On Fridays during the summer, we also go on field trips to local theaters, libraries, and museums.

How does Dive In work with high school admissions?

Dive In helps students and families explore the high school options—whether public, private, or charter—that best meet their needs. The program was designed to introduce students and families to rigorous private high schools, like Commonwealth. For students and families interested in private high schools, we help with SSAT preparation and offer two free chances to take the SSAT during their eighth-grade year. We also do mock interviews with families and students, and can help with financial aid applications. Please note that admission to Dive In doesn’t guarantee admissions to Commonwealth.

What’s the application process?

Here are the steps for applying to Dive In Commonwealth: 

  • Fill out the online application, answering all questions fully and in detail. (This is an important way for us to get to know the applicant!)
  • Request a transcript from the student’s current school, and email it to divein@commschool.org. You can use this transcript request form.
  • If relevant, email standardized test scores (MCAS, ISEE, etc.) to divein@commschool.org.
  • Optional: Email a recommendation letter from your students’ counselor or teacher to divein@commschool.org.
  • Come in to interview with the Dive In team and to take our English and math assessments. (Both parents/guardians and students will join us in person at 151 Commonwealth Avenue in Boston. We’ll have a twenty-minute conversation with the student and a twenty-minute conversation with parents/guardians. The student will also complete an English assessment and a math assessment that will take about thirty minutes each.)

Please see our Dive In application webpage for more information.

What are you looking for in applicants? What are the enrollment requirements? 

The Dive In application process includes an online application form, school transcript, standardized test scores (if relevant), interviews, and our English and math assessments. We look at each applicant holistically. Our top criteria are strong grades and test scores, strong performance on our English and math assessments, and an eagerness to learn and be part of a kind, inclusive academic community.

What is the income eligibility?

Dive In is for students from low-income backgrounds, and we review each student’s financial situation on a case-by-case basis, as we know each family is different. While we don’t have an income cutoff, we do use federal poverty guidelines and Boston-area median income charts to guide our decision-making process.

Dive In applicants’ self-reported annual income generally falls within the range of $30,000–$100,000 for a family of four. We give preference to applicants with greater financial need.

My child is in fifth grade; can we start next year’s application process now?

Not yet. Only current sixth and seventh graders can apply to Dive In; unfortunately, we don’t take current fifth or eighth graders. However, we encourage parents of younger students to plan early and subscribe to our mailing list to get emails about our information sessions and other events.

Is Dive In appropriate for a child with an IEP (Individualized Education Program)?

No, unfortunately, Dive In does not have the capacity to offer support to students with IEPs at the moment.

Where do Dive In students live? Is it only for people who live in Boston?

Although most Dive In students come from different neighborhoods in Boston, we have students from several surrounding towns, such as Cambridge, Malden, and Everett.

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