We sat down with Kat, the manager of Signet’s Cambridge branch, to hear about her experience as a student at Boston Latin School.
How did you choose Boston Latin? What did you know about it before you applied?
My family jumped at the chance to enroll me in one of the best public high schools in the country. My sister went to Boston Latin before me, and most of my friends were taking the same standardized test (the ISEE) to try to get in. I knew it was a big school and I’d heard it could be tough academically, but since I was only 11 at the time, I didn’t know what to expect. I just knew that I wanted to go there!
Did it live up to your expectations? What surprised you the most when you got to BLS?
In my experience, Boston Latin certainly lived up to its reputation, as it was very academically rigorous and culturally traditional. It was a strenuous six years. I was surprised by how hard it was and how much was expected of us, but I got used to that quickly.
How did you like it there?
I wouldn’t say that I ever “liked” school. It was difficult, I was shy, and I hadn’t quite yet figured out my own potential as a student. However, I would not trade the experience for anything! I got a fantastic education, developed a thick skin, and learned the value of hard work. When I got to college, I found that most of my coursework was easy compared to what I had tackled at BLS.
What kinds of organizations were you a part of?
I dabbled in a few different activities. I was in the two-year AP Art program, which was a lifesaver for me because it offered a creative break amongst endless other challenging subjects. I also was a member of the track team, and, during my senior year, the boys’ wrestling team.
What was the sports culture like at Boston Latin?
The sports culture definitely took a back seat to academics. We didn’t often have top-notch facilities or equipment for athletics. That being said, students were very devoted to sports and most of my friends played on at least one team. Most students showed up to support the football, basketball, and hockey teams at local games.
Does BLS have any fun student traditions?
Boston Latin is a very traditional place, although I wouldn’t necessarily call all of them “fun”! On our first day of school, we were taken to see the names of famous alumni painted along the walls of the auditorium (Benjamin Franklin and John Adams, to name a few). Our headmaster showed us the one spot left blank and asked us to aspire to have our name be added to the list. As far as I know, this tradition is still going!
What was the advising system like at Boston Latin School? Did you feel that you had resources you could turn to for academic/career/emotional advice?
I did not have a very close relationship with my guidance counselor. I met with him only a few times leading up to college application time, and most of my friends had similar experiences. I didn’t feel it was particularly personal, which is to be expected at such a large school.
What were the best things about BLS that others don’t know?
You will get a great education! In fact, college may seem easy when you finally get there. Also, the experience will bond you with fellow students for life—almost eight years after graduation, my high school friends are still my closest friends.
Also, there’s something to be said for name recognition—many people, including admissions officers, know of Boston Latin, so having gone there can give you a competitive edge in the real world.
What else do you think people should know if they are considering applying to Boston Latin?
Consider whether it is the best place for you. While a Boston Latin education is valuable, there may be other equally fantastic schools in the area that would be a better fit for you. That being said, it’s a life-changing experience, and being part of a 375-year-old tradition is certainly something to be proud of!