Welcome, New Students! Reflecting on an Unprecedented Admissions Season

The newest members of the Commonwealth community gathered this past weekend for Virtual New Students’ Day, where they got to mingle and play online games as an incoming cohort. For the first time ever, a majority of our admitted students had never physically been to Commonwealth or toured our building in person, but you would never know it from the way they connected with each other and their future peers and teachers. Throughout the admissions process their good cheer and high spirits have made an unprecedented situation feel joyous and hopeful.  

“While this admissions season was atypical in a lot of ways, the level of engagement and enthusiasm of our prospective students and their families was as high as it usually is, which energized and encouraged us,” said Carrie Healy, Director of Admissions and Financial Aid. “It was such a pleasure to get to know so many interesting and resilient applicants, and we are incredibly excited about this incoming group!”

Completed applications increased by 28% in 2021, making this admissions cycle as competitive as it was unconventional. We are so grateful to all who applied and thrilled to welcome the 47 new students who will be joining us in the fall of 2021. They come to Commonwealth from across Boston and surrounding communities: Arlington, Ashland, Belmont, Brookline, Cambridge, Chelsea, Cohasset, Foxborough, Haverhill, Lexington, Lincoln, Manchester, Needham, Newton, Sharon, Somerville, Waltham, Wayland, Wellesley, Westborough, Weymouth, and Winchester. Three are moving here from even farther afield: New York, the United Kingdom, and Malaysia! 

The incoming class, which includes ninth and tenth graders, and an eleventh and a twelfth grader, is also one of the most racially and ethnically diverse we’ve ever enrolled, with 51% of all new students identifying as people of color. Fifty-five percent of the incoming ninth graders are students of color. This year’s cohort also includes diversity in current school type; about half previously attended public schools.

Our entire school community is deeply grateful for our small but mighty admissions team, Ms. Healy and Ms. Matthews, who continued their nimble reimagining of a virtual admissions process, and for the admissions committee—Mr. Barsi, Ms. Haber, Mr. Sherry, and Ms. Tyson—who not only carefully reviewed applications but provided hours of one-on-one guidance to families on their application journeys. And, of course, we couldn’t have welcomed this dynamic cohort of new students and families without the faculty, student, and parent volunteers who connected with them by phone, email, Zoom chats, Q&A panels, trivia teams, and more. 

Because of these tireless efforts, our new students and families “felt truly supported throughout each step” of the admissions process, said one incoming parent. “Everyone was so warm and positive. We started to feel like we found a place where students and their families were like us.” 

Incoming parents will join us on June 15 for our annual New Parents’ Gathering, and we hope to be able to plan an in-person event for students at some point this summer. The need for connection is more important than ever, but if this past admissions cycle is any indication, our community—both the new and returning members—will quickly and joyfully find common ground.

Welcome, new students. Welcome, new families. See you at our shared home at 151 Commonwealth Avenue! 

Learn More About the Admissions Process