Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)
As a Berklee student, or family member of a Berklee student, you may have questions ranging from the general ("When I arrive on campus for Orientation, what should I do first?") to the specific ("Where can I ship my belongings before classes start?"). Below, click on a question frequently asked by Berklee students and their families to find answers. If you don't see your answer below, please don't hesitate to contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Fall 2019 Orientation:
- International student pre-arrival: Wednesday, August 28–Friday, August 30, 2019
- New student orientation: Saturday, August 31–Saturday, September 7, 2019
If you will live on campus, your first stop will be your assigned residence hall. Housing and Residential Life will email you your assigned move-in day and time as well as your assigned residence hall. The email will be sent to your Berklee.edu email address. Once you are moved in, you will need to go to the onboarding event to complete administrative business and pick up your orientation schedule.
Orientation leaders will email your College or Conservatory email address approximately two weeks prior to the start of orientation week. If you did not receive an email, please email email@example.com.
Before you arrive on campus, you will receive a check-in email at your Berklee email address. If you are an international student, be prepared to present your Form I-20, passport, Form I-94, and visa.
Complete the following items before your arrival:
Review Your Check-In Requirements: Log in to my.berklee.edu to ensure you have everything covered for check-in.
Review Transfer Credit: Admitted students who submitted college transcripts, official AP credit, or CLEP scores can view their transfer credit at my.berklee.edu under the student services section.
Submit Your SAFO Form: Submit the online Student Acknowledgement of Financial and Other Obligations (SAFO) form. All students are required to submit this electronic agreement acknowledging their financial obligations before they can check in for the semester. You can find the link to the SAFO form under the check-in section on my.berklee.edu. Scroll to the bottom of the page, check the box indicating that you have read and agreed with the three disclosures, and click submit.
Yes, orientation is mandatory. We strongly recommend you arrive on the first day of orientation week. During orientation week, students will take the Entering Student Proficiency Assessment (ESPA) and placement auditions to determine their course schedule. Missing these assessments will delay receiving a course schedule for the first week of classes. In addition, if you miss orientation you may be assessed a late fee. Email firstname.lastname@example.org for information on the steps required if you check in late.
When you check in, you will receive a printed schedule of the week's sessions and events, and we encourage you to participate in as many planned events as possible. In addition to placement exams and auditions, the week is filled with opportunities to interact with faculty, learn about Berklee programs and services, and connect with fellow entering students.
You will receive your course schedule during a meeting with your academic advisor at the end of orientation week. You will take the Entering Student Proficiency Assessment (ESPA) and placement auditions during orientation to help determine your course schedule.
All non-native English speakers are required to take the English Language Assessment, which is administered during orientation week. This required assessment will help us evaluate your English proficiency and place you in the English class that is best for you. There is no need to prepare; this is not an exam. It is an exercise that will help us ensure that we are providing classes that will be most helpful to you. Bring your student ID to the assessment. The English Language Assessment is not required for native English speakers.
You are required to purchase the Entering Student Software Package from the college, which will provide you with the tools you need to succeed in your coursework and in your career. Because this suite is offered as a package, you must purchase the full package even if you already own some of the software included in it; for this reason, please refrain from purchasing music software in anticipation of attending Berklee.
In addition to the required software, you also may purchase a laptop and audio interface through Berklee or purchase these on your own (if the latter, please be sure that your laptop and audio interface meets or exceeds the college's requirements).
After you have checked in, you will receive more information about where and when to pick up your laptop, audio interface, and software package. More information on this process is available here.
If you have a hold on your student account, you must clear the hold before you are allowed to pick up your laptop, audio interface, and software. To ensure that you will be cleared, check your status ahead of time on my.berklee.edu.
After you receive your course schedule at the end of orientation week, bring your schedule to the Berklee Bookstore at 1090 Boylston Street. To easily find your books, match the bookstore's course call numbers with the numbers on your schedule.
Yes. Information on locations, hours of operation, and rules and procedures for using practice rooms is available here. To access practice facilities, visit the front desk at that location and show your student ID.
We recommend you bring these items:
Bedsheets (twin XL)
Pillow and pillowcase
Mattress cover, protector, or topper (twin XL)
Blanket or comforter
Bath towels, face towels, and hand towels
Toiletries (e.g., shampoo, conditioner, body wash, toothbrush, and toothpaste)
Laundry basket or laundry bag
Laundry detergent and fabric softener
Quarters for coin-operated laundry machines*
*You can load money onto your Berklee ID at berkleecard.com.
Consider bringing these items:
Power strip or surge protector
Filtered water pitcher
Utensils (e.g., plates, bowls, cups, mugs, forks, spoons, and knives) for snacks
Microwave (0.7 cubic feet or smaller)**
Mini refrigerator (4.3 cubic feet of smaller)**
Small basket or shower caddy to carry toiletries to and from the bathroom
**Items can be rented from nestudentservices.com.
These items are not allowed in residence halls:
Candles or incense
Hibachi or barbecue grills
Traditional coffee makers (with coil)
Before move-in, send mail to this address:
Student Name—Entering Resident
Berklee College of Music
168 Massachusetts Avenue
Boston, MA 02115
Mail shipped before move-in can be accessed in the the Mail Center, located at 1108 Boylston Street (between Teriyaki House and J.P. Licks). The Mail Center is open 9 a.m.–5:00 p.m., Monday–Friday. An email will be sent to your berklee.edu address when the mailroom has a package for you. The mailroom will be open on move-in day so that you may access packages you have shipped.
Please note that the mail center cannot accept these shipments for incoming students any earlier than August 19. After orientation, upon receiving your schedule, you will find a box number assigned to you (denoted as SB–###). Your mailbox should be located in your residence hall. You will receive regular mail at your mailbox, and any mail that does not fit will be held in the mailroom for you to pick up.
Note: Berklee mail services are primarily for on-campus residents. Students living off campus should have mail and packages sent to the appropriate off-campus address.
We are committed to welcoming and accommodating all entering students and their guests at our orientation week activities. Because some accommodations take time to implement, participants who require special assistance in order to fully experience the week's events are encouraged to contact Disability Services and the Office of New Student and Family Programs well in advance, and we will do our best to provide the appropriate assistance.
For on-campus students, residence halls will open on the first day of orientation week. If you will be living off campus and won't be ready to move into your apartment or house, refer to our accommodations information for lodging near the Boston campus.
No. There is no on-campus parking at Berklee College of Music. During orientation, we recommend you use public transportation whenever possible. If you are driving, we suggest you use one of the many designated public parking garages throughout the Back Bay area or park at a meter near campus.
Domestic students should complete the CSS Profile to be considered for institutional aid, and the FAFSA to be considered for federal and state aid. Learn more on our Applying for Aid page. Once a counselor has reviewed your applications and additional documents if necessary you will be awarded financial aid.
Family orientation is intended for parents, guardians, and other individuals whom incoming new students consider to be family or meaningful systems of support. While the majority of family orientation is combined, there may be separate sessions for family members of students at Boston Conservatory at Berklee and Berklee College of Music.
Family orientation is a two-day program.
Family orientation, as part of the new student orientation offered by the Office of New Student and Family Programs, will take place from August 31-September 1. For families who are unable to attend, the sessions will be recorded and shared on our website.
Family orientation is optional; however, we strongly encourage parents and families to attend if possible. For families who are unable to attend, we offer Family Weekend as another opportunity to visit your student at Berklee during October.
You and your family will attend family orientation sessions while your student attends new student orientation sessions. While the two programs are separate, there may be some overlapping orientation events that include your student.
On the first day of orientation, we will provide families with a complete list of sessions designed for the needs, concerns, and interests of parents and families. Families, guardians, and guests are especially encouraged to attend convocation and family orientation. Because many area colleges and universities start at the same time, we recommend that families choosing to stay overnight in Boston make arrangements for accommodations well in advance of the first day of orientation week. There are a number of options for accommodations near the Boston campus.
Visit the family orientation page for more specific dates and times.
Families who participate in family orientation will have the opportunity to learn about Berklee from the people who are here to support your student. Families will learn about the student experience, the resources available to your student, and how you can best support your student in a safe, healthy transition to life as a student at Berklee.
The Berklee Summer Initiative (BSI) is a first-year program for entering Berklee College of Music and Boston Conservatory at Berklee students. The overall goal of the BSI is to foster a strong sense of African American community, support, belonging, and cultural understanding on campus. The BSI program kicks off with a pre-orientation week, scheduled for Sunday, August 25–Saturday, August 31. Pre-orientation week activities are for enrolled students. There will be a family reception on the afternoon of August 25, and families may also attend the BSI concert on Friday, August 30.
No. There is no on-campus parking at Berklee. During orientation, we recommend you use public transportation whenever possible. If you're driving, we suggest you use one of the many designated public parking garages throughout the Back Bay area or park at a meter near campus.
Because many area colleges and universities start at the same time, we recommend that families choosing to stay overnight in Boston make arrangements for accommodations well in advance of the first day of orientation week. There are a number of options for accommodations near the campus.
We recommend that siblings accompanying parents, guardians, and guests attend only family events. We leave this decision to the families. Because our programming is geared toward guests with a guardian relationship to the entering student, siblings may feel out of place, but are certainly more than welcome to attend.
We are committed to welcoming and accommodating all entering students and their guests at our orientation week activities. Because some accommodations take time to implement, participants who require special assistance in order to fully experience the week's events are encouraged to contact the Office of New Student and Family Programs well in advance, and we will do our best to provide the appropriate assistance.
We are sorry you won’t be able to join us, but we understand that many families have other commitments, and we have worked to make the orientation experience as accessible as possible. Our team will have all sessions recorded and shared on our website for the members of our community who won’t be able to physically be in attendance.
All families of incoming students should automatically receive a series of five new family newsletters over the course of the three months leading up to your student beginning at Berklee. Our office receives these contact email addresses from Admissions. If you are not receiving these emails, simply let us know at email@example.com and we will add you. When the academic year begins, NSFP releases a monthly family newsletter with information on things happening in and around campus, upcoming events and deadlines, as well as other pertinent supports for you and your students. In order to receive these emails, you must opt in, by signing up for our mailing list.
You can refer to the academic calendar here to see important dates and deadlines for the current academic year. Students’ individual exam schedules will vary based on their unique course schedules, so we typically advise not booking flights until after the listed exam period has ended.
There is a misconception out there that all first-year on-campus residents live in the 160 Massachusetts Avenue residence hall. First-year students who live on campus can be found in every one of our residence halls. In fact, the majority of our residence halls have at least a 50 percent new/entering student occupancy.
Our colleagues in the Student Activities Office offer a fantastic online resource to help with this. Visit Berklee's Off-Campus Housing site to search local listings posted by property managers, members of the Berklee community, and students from other colleges looking for housemates. You can search off-campus housing listings; create and view roommate profiles; compare your favorite property listings side by side; share property listings with friends through social media; and post to message boards for buying or selling furniture, books, musical instruments, and accessories.
Although the Berklee campus is considered safe, as is the immediate areas surrounding the campus, crime can still happen anywhere and anytime. Maintaining your own safety is crucial. Public Safety staff members are on foot and bicycle, patrolling the campus 24/7. On request, Public Safety offers a walking "safety escort" program on or near the campus. Our residence halls are secured by card access and staffed with security officers 24/7. If you have a safety or security concern, please call Public Safety at 617-747-2333.
Public Safety publishes an annual security and fire safety report that is meant to inform the campus community of the policies, procedures, and programs that exist at Berklee as they relate to safety and security. The report publishes statistics on a variety of crime classifications including robbery and theft. Additionally, programs designed to help prevent robbery, theft, and other crimes, along with Berklee’s procedures for responding to the different scenarios, are outlined in this report. We encourage you to download and read it, and to share its information with your student.
In general: Be proactive, and take precautionary safety measures:
- Program the Public Safety emergency phone number into your cell phone.
- Trust your instincts. If something or someone makes you feel uneasy, get out or away from the situation.
- If possible, travel with a friend; there’s power in numbers.
- Attempt to travel in well-lit, busy areas, and avoid shortcuts through alleys.
Whether your student is a first-time student or transferring to Berklee, they will be grouped with a small cohort of their peers and matched with a peer advisor. Their peer advisor will help them succeed both socially and academically while transitioning to Berklee and to the city of Boston through one-on-one meetings as well as group meetings with the peer advising cohort. Berklee's approach will provide a support network, links to resources, and, most importantly, a connection to the caring Berklee community that your student is now a member of.
Additionally, there are many ways for your student to find a community of their own. Options to get involved on campus include joining a student club, becoming a DJ for Berklee’s internet radio station, or participating in an array of cultural organizations, just to name a few. We encourage students to sign up for the Student Activities Center (SAC) Facebook page or stop by the SAC (921 Boylston Street, third floor) to explore the variety of opportunities available to them.
Music education is what brings students to Berklee, but most Berklee students are interested in and benefit from engaging in music and other activities outside of the classroom. From student clubs and student-run enterprises to student government and a wealth of opportunities throughout Boston, you can get involved in extracurricular activities such as Berklee’s internet radio station, the Institute for Creative Entrepreneurship, and an array of cultural organizations, to name a few. There are also many health and wellness opportunities such as yoga, meditation, and fitness programs. For more information, check out the student activities page.
Berklee has a variety of support services to assist students with their personal, musical, academic, and career development. Individual office information is located on the student life pages. The Office of Retention and Student Success also maintains a comprehensive list of student resources and is available to assist all students in connecting with Berklee's various student support offices and programs.
Students are encouraged to launch their careers by utilizing the Berklee Career Manager, which incorporates access to internships, gigs, jobs, advising, and more from Berklee's Career Center and International Career Center.
Berklee's Career Center offers students a wealth of information concerning the diversity and growing number of careers available in contemporary music. Students are encouraged to think of it as their "career work center." Trips to the center should begin as early as the third semester of enrollment to become familiar with the tools and resources in the office and the terrific staff there who are willing to help. Internships are a wonderful way to explore professional opportunities, and the Career Center assists students in gaining professional work experience.
Residential students have access to workout rooms in the 160 Massachusetts Avenue and 270 Commonwealth Avenue residence halls that include cardio machines, free weights, and a few cable machines for strength training. Students who are interested in weight training may want to look at other facilities off campus.
Many Berklee students take advantage of local physical activity opportunities. Nearby facilities include the following:
- Northeastern University Marino Center: This state-of-the art fitness center includes a full range of equipment, a pool, group classes, and personal training. Berklee students enjoy deeply discounted rates. All sign-ups and payment are made directly through Northeastern.
- Tennis and Racquet Club of Boston: Right next door to Berklee, this facility offers traditional exercise equipment and racquet sports. Berklee students receive discounted memberships.
- YMCA of Greater Boston on Huntington Avenue: This is a new facility with classes, workout rooms, and a pool. Student rates are available.
Students are encouraged to stay tuned for future initiatives, including discounts with additional facilities, on-campus yoga and other classes, and programs to enhance overall health and wellbeing.
Based on documented need, students are offered assistance through Disability Services to support a successful Berklee experience. You can schedule an appointment to meet with either Ginny Perelson or Allie Kadell to discuss these topics, or with Tasha Chemel to discuss academic coaching.
- Ginny Perelson (for students who are new to Disability Services)
- Allie Kadell (for students who are currently registered with Disability Services)
- Tasha Chemel (for students participating in academic coaching)
If you would prefer a phone or Google Hangouts meeting, when you schedule the appointment, please send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org to let us know.
Note that if you are unable to schedule an appointment online and must do it over the phone at 617-747-2387, the Center for Student Advising and Success can schedule the appointment for you.
Professionally trained and licensed clinicians offer free, confidential counseling services to all Berklee students. Counselors provide short-term counseling or a referral to a community practitioner, giving students an opportunity to receive help with depression and anxiety, stress management, relationship and family concerns, sexual assault or harassment, substance abuse, wellness, crisis intervention, and any other concern impacting their mental health.
We also provide crisis on-call services, so if your student needs to meet with someone urgently, they can walk in and meet with someone Monday–Friday, 9:00 a.m.–5:00 p.m. We also provide after-hours on-call services so that a student can speak with the on-call counselor by phone by first reaching out to Berklee Public Safety.
There is not a doctor on campus, but Berklee contracts with Harvard Vanguard Medical Associates (HVMA) in Kenmore Square, a multi-specialty group practice very close to campus, as our designated student health center. HVMA offers a wide range of care and services to meet day-to-day medical needs. They offer appointments as well as an urgent care clinic. It is important to know that HVMA is not an emergency medical facility. Students should bring their Berklee ID card when they visit HVMA. They will also need to show an insurance card before receiving care or filling a prescription.
It is important to consider your student's routine medical appointments as well as unexpected medical situations. The details of healthcare and insurance can be puzzling. That is why we encourage you to explore and take the time to understand your health insurance options before arriving in Boston.
Massachusetts law requires all college students registered for at least 75 percent of full-time credits to be enrolled in a health insurance plan while attending school.
Should your student elect to stay with your family plan, there are several questions that they should ask your carrier:
- Where can I be seen in Boston for routine health care?
- Is a referral required for appointments? What is the process to obtain a referral?
- Will I need a PCP (primary care physician) in the Boston area?
- Where should I go for emergency care?
- What are the financial considerations (copays, deductibles, etc.)?
- How and where can I fill my existing prescriptions?
- Does this health plan include dental care?
- Are there any academic restrictions when using this insurance? For example, many companies cite that students must be enrolled in a full-time course load (at Berklee, at least 12 credits) in order to be eligible for coverage.
Make sure that your student carries a health insurance card with them at all times and has a list of important information (policy number, phone numbers for questions, websites for area referrals, etc.). We also recommend that they have a good contact person at their insurance company for reference in the future.
Lastly, if your student has chronic mental or physical health concerns, we strongly encourage them to secure a PCP (primary care physician) in the Boston area before coming to Berklee.
Regardless of your health insurance selection, students should be sure to arrive at Berklee with the medication(s) they need. We recommend that they have prescription refills to last three months for medications that they take regularly.
According to the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services’ website:
F-1 students may not work off campus during the first academic year but may accept on-campus employment subject to certain conditions and restrictions. After the first academic year, F-1 students may engage in three types of off-campus employment:
- Curricular practical training (CPT)
- Optional practical training (OPT) (pre-completion or post-completion)
- Science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) optional practical training extension (OPT)
Optional practical training (OPT) is temporary employment that is directly related to an F-1 student’s major area of study. For more information on this and other aspects of the F-1 visa, visit the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services’ website.
Do you have a question not covered above?
Please feel free to send the New Student and Family Programs team an email at email@example.com.