Frequently Asked Questions

General Questions

How do I schedule an appointment with a counselor or advisor?

You can either call the receptionist at 617 747-2310 or stop by the CAC and speak with the receptionist during business hours.

What are your hours of operation?

The hours of operation of the CAC are Monday–Friday 9:00 a.m. to 12:00 p.m. and 1:00 p.m. to 5:00 p.m.

Academic Advising

What is an academic advisor?

Academic advisors are professionally trained staff members who can help students set and achieve realistic academic goals, acquire relevant information and college services, and make responsible decisions consistent with the degree or diploma requirements.

Academic advisors can be especially helpful in working with students to improve their academic performance, particularly those facing academic challenges such as not meeting Satisfactory Academic Progress, SAP.

Who is my academic advisor?

All entering students are placed in an advising group with a Peer Advisor and a Faculty Advisor (for those students required to enroll in the Artistry, Creativity and Inquiry course, the course instructor is their faculty advisor). Peer Advisors are trained by key professional staff, including the Academic Advising team, to help students navigate their first semester at Berklee.

After their first semester, students are assigned to a specific Academic Advisor based on their last (family) name.

Once a student declares a major of study, they will receive advising from a faculty advisor within their respective major department.

When will I meet my academic advisor?

Matriculated students may schedule an academic advising appointment to meet with their academic advisor by stopping by the Counseling and Advising Center (C&AC) or by calling the C&AC receptionist at 617 747-2310.

Walk-ins (Advising Express) are available most days, Monday through Friday at set times on a first come first serve basis. Professional academic advisors are available for basic advising questions.

How do I register for classes?

All entering students are required to take placement exams during Orientation/Check-In Week. Based on the results from these exams, a unique class schedule will be generated for each student. After the first semester, the Peer Advisor will work closely with their advisee to help select and register for classes online.

What kind of classes will I take in my first semester at Berklee?

Students will enroll in a variety of theory, performance, and liberal arts classes. Some entering students may have space for general elective credits.

How should I prepare for my proficiency assessment and placement exams when entering Berklee?

Please visit the Orientation section of the website for exam descriptions and sample questions.

Disability Services Advising

Should I notify the Admissions Department about my disability during the application or admissions process?

It is not necessary to mention your disability to Admissions. Once you have been accepted, however, it is to your benefit to self-identify to Disability Services staff as early as possible.

How do I initiate contact with Disability Services?

Call the CAC (617 747-2310 off-campus, extension 2310 on-campus) or visit us in person at 939 Boylston Street. Enter through the Student Activities Center on the third floor of the 921 Boylston Street building.

Am I eligible for services through the Disability Services area?

Yes, if you have documentation that supports a diagnosis of a learning, physical, or psychiatric disability.

What, exactly, constitutes a disability?

The Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990 defines an individual with a "disability" as someone who:

  1. has a physical or mental impairment that substantially limits one or more of the major life activities of such individual;
  2. has a record of such an impairment; or
  3. is regarded as having such an impairment.
  4. Furthermore, the individual must be qualified for the program or event.

Who can test for learning disabilities?

A licensed psychologist, psychiatrist, and educational testing service are all qualified to test for and diagnose learning disabilities.

Does Berklee provide psychoeducational testing?

We do not. However, we do make referrals for evaluations when appropriate.

When should I submit documentation?

It is always beneficial to notify Disability Services staff as early as possible. Although it is never too late to self-identify, all requests for accommodations require a two-week notice to faculty.

Will all my teachers know about my disability if I self-disclose?

No. Only the instructors who receive an Accommodation Request Form signed by the student will be notified.

International Advising

What should I do if my I-20, passport, I-94 card, or visa is stolen or lost?

  • I-20: Request a replacement at the CAC. You'll need your I-94 and new financial documents (contact the CAC for specifics). Allow one week for processing.
  • Passport: Contact your country's embassy or consulate in the United States to report the loss and apply for a replacement. You can find contact information at the CAC or embassy.org.
  • I-94 card: Apply to United States Citizenship and Immigration Services for a replacement. The application (Form I-102) is available from the CAC or at uscis.gov. Contact the CAC for assistance.
  • Visa: Follow the procedure for renewing a visa.

My passport is about to expire. How do I renew it?

Contact your embassy or consulate in the United States. A listing of embassies is available at embassy.org and in the CAC.

Can I work off-campus?

Yes, provided that you have off-campus employment authorization either from the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) or the CAC. In both instances you will be issued verification documents. Please refer to our International Advising page for more information. Working off-campus without employment authorization is a serious violation of the F-1 regulations and jeopardizes your stay in the United States.

How do I get a Social Security number (SSN)?

A student in valid F-1 status may apply for an SSN if s/he is employed on-campus or is authorized to work off-campus by the DHS or the CAC (see previous question). Applicants without employment authorization will be denied an SSN.

If you work on campus, you will need to request an employment verification letter from the Scholarships and Student Employment Office to submit with your SSN application. The letter must be signed and stamped by a DSO in the CAC. Students authorized for off-campus employment by the CAC may apply with their I-20, I-94, and passport. In addition, students with employment authorization from the DHS must have an employment authorization card.

SSN applications (Form SS-5) are available at the Student Employment Office or from the Social Security Administration website. You may submit your completed application in person to any Social Security Administration office. (Your I-20 and proof of identity and your I-20.) The Boston office is in the Thomas P. O'Neill Federal Building at 10 Causeway Street (North Station T stop on Green Line). It may take from one to six months to receive your SSN.

Note: A Social Security card is issued for tax identification purposes only. It is not employment verification. Having a card does not in itself entitle you to work in the United States!

I know I have to enroll full-time. Is signing up for at least 12 credits good enough, or do I actually need to complete 12 credits to maintain my F-1 status?

In general, you must enroll in and complete at least 12 credits (of required classes) per semester to maintain valid F-1 status.

I want to do an unpaid internship. Since it's unpaid and my teacher said it would be useful for me, I can just do it, right?

No. You must apply for, and be granted, curricular practical training (CPT) by the CAC before you can begin an internship program. We strongly advise you to meet with an international student advisor in the CAC well before your proposed start date. The advisor will assist you with all the paperwork that's required.

Starting an internship before having authorization on your SEVIS I-20 is a violation of your F-1 visa status and jeopardizes your stay in the United States.

How do I get a driver's license or state ID?

You can apply for a license or an ID at the Massachusetts Registry of Motor Vehicles. The Boston office is at 630 Washington Street. For additional locations, visit mass.gov/rmv. To apply, you will need all of the following: passport and Form I-94, a Social Security card (or refusal letter&m dash;see below), a utility bill (electric, water, phone, etc.) to verify your address, and either a bank-cancelled check or a foreign driver's license to verify your signature. (Cancelled checks—or copies on the monthly statement from your bank—are the checks the bank returns to you after they are processed/paid.)

Applicants ineligible for an SSN typically get a refusal letter when they submit their application; however, you may have to request it. You will be denied an SSN if you submit an application without employment authorization. See the question above for details.

Personal Counseling

Who needs personal counseling?

Many students at Berklee use personal counseling services for a variety of concerns. Some students find that one or two sessions are enough. Others have more complex situations that require more time. If you are not sure if personal counseling can help with your particular problem, we encourage you to make an appointment to talk it over with one of the personal counselors and learn about what options and solutions might serve you best.

How do I begin seeing a personal counselor?

Any enrolled student can make an appointment by coming in or calling the CAC receptionist at 617 747-2310. They will ask for your name, student identification number, and a current phone number so that we may reach you if anything changes. Appointments can be made in person or by phone from 9:00 a.m. to 12:00 p.m. and 1:00 p.m. to 5:00 p.m. Monday through Friday, excluding official college holidays when Berklee is closed. We ask you to keep your scheduled appointments and to notify the CAC 24 hours in advance if you need to cancel or reschedule.

What will happen during my first personal counseling appointment?

Most intake appointments will be made within one to two weeks. During this first session, you and the personal counselor will discuss your concerns and treatment options. These could include individual counseling at the CAC (up to 12 sessions) or a referral to a clinician in the community.

Will faculty, staff, or other students know if I've seen a personal counselor or find out what I'm talking about with my counselor?

We at the CAC respect confidentiality highly and follow it as a strict rule. Massachusetts law and ethical guidelines for personal counselors require that your visit and all information shared during personal counseling remain confidential. We cannot release information to anyone without your written permission. This includes friends, instructors, and parents. Records of personal counseling sessions are kept in separate locked files, and other CAC staff and student employees do not see or handle any of these records.

Exceptions to confidentiality occur only under special circumstances such as being in imminent danger. Your counselor will go over these exceptions in detail with you at your initial appointment.

What happens if I have a crisis situation or an after-hours mental health emergency?

We have an on-call counselor available from 9:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. Monday through Friday to assist students in crisis who need immediate attention. If you need to be seen urgently or on the same day, call 617 747-2310 or stop by the CAC and let the receptionist know that you need to see or speak to a personal counselor immediately or that day.

After business hours, call Public Safety at 617 747-2333 (ext. 2333 from on-campus telephones). They will contact a clinical consultant who will be able to help. You may also call 911 or go to your local hospital emergency room for assistance.