Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)
As the family member of a Berklee student, you may have questions ranging from the general, such as how you can support your student, to the specific, such as who to contact with a tuition-related question. Below, click on a question frequently asked by families of Berklee students to find answers, and if you don't see your answer below, don't hesitate to contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org.
How can I find out how my student is doing at Berklee?
We encourate you to call your student and ask. Don't be afraid to ask how it is going. While all students seek to become more independent as they attend college, they want to know that you are still there for them. Encourage your student to tell you about the progress made each semester. If you feel they are struggling socially or academically, encourage them to contact the Counseling and Advising Center. Counselors help students with a variety of academic, personal, and career issues. All services are confidential and offered at no cost to the student.
Grades are posted online for the students to view with their password, typically a few weeks after the end of each semester.
Where do first year students live on-campus?
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.
Is the Berklee campus a safe area?
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 our Public Safety control center at 617-747-2333.
Be Proactive and Take Precautionary Safety Measures:
- Program the public safety emergency phone number into your cell phone;
- Trust your instincts—if something/someone makes you feel uneasy, get out or away from the situation;
- If possible, travel with a friend; there’s power in numbers; and
- Attempt to travel in well-lit, busy areas and avoid shortcuts through alleys.
My student lives off campus; will they feel disconnected from their peers? What resources exist for them to stay connected?
Whether your student is a first-time student or transferring to Berklee, your studet 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 1:1 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 of which your student is now a member.
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 by participating in an array of cultural organizations, just to name a few. We encourage students to signup for the Student Activities Center (SAC) Facebook page or just stop by the SAC (921 Boylston Street, 3rd floor) to explore the variety of opportunities available to them.
What kinds of activities or clubs are available for students outside classes?
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 college’s entrepreneurial initiative, and an array of cultural organizations, just to name a few. There are also many health and wellness opportunities such as yoga, meditation, and fitness programs. For more information, check out Student Activities.
Where can my student go to get additional help with their classes?
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 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.
How does my student get a job when they finish at Berklee?
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 Development Center, Office of Experiential Learning, and International Career Center.
Berklee's Career Development 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 in there who are willing to help.
Internships are a wonderful way to explore professional opportunities, and the Office of Experiential Learning, located at 1140 Boylston Street, gives Berklee students a chance to do just that. More than 1,000 companies participate in the program, which assists students in gaining professional work experience.
Where can Berklee students exercise?
Residential students have access to workout rooms in the 160 Mass Ave and 270 Commonwealth Ave 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.
· Northeastern University Marino Center – State-of-the art fitness center including a full range of equipment, a pool, group classes, and personal training. Berklee students enjoy deeply discounted rates. All signups and payment are made directly through Northeastern.
· Tennis and Racquet Club of Boston – Right next door to Berklee, offering traditional exercise equipment and racquet sports. Berklee students receive discounted memberships.
· YMCA of Greater Boston on Huntington Ave – New facility with classes, workout rooms, and a pool. Student rates 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.
What support is available for students with disabilities or special needs?
Based on documented need, students are offered assistance to support a successful Berklee experience. To begin the process with a Disabilities Services advisor in the Counseling and Advising Center, your student should call 617-747-2310 and arrange an appointment. He or she may also visit in person by going to the Genko Uchida building at 921 Boylston Street, taking the elevator to the third floor, and following signs to the Counseling and Advising Center.
My student has a history of anxiety and depression. What if they need to meet with a therapist and/or psychiatrist while they are at Berklee?
Students can meet with a licensed therapist in our Counseling Center. Your student can schedule an Intake appointment by calling or stopping by the front counter of the CAC. We don't have a psychiatrist on staff, but we work closely with psychiatrists in the local area and can make a referral.
We also provide crisis on-call services, so if your son/daughter needs to meet with someone urgently, s/he can walk in and meet with someone Monday through Friday between the hours of 9:00 a.m. and 5:00 p.m. We 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.
How can I contact my student's peer advisor?
The Peer Advising program affords first-semester students a network of resources and support as they transition to life at Berklee. Peer advisors are a diverse group of respectful, thoughtful, and knowledgeable upper-semester students who possess a desire to help your student successfully connect and thrive within the Berklee community and beyond.
The Peer Advising program respects and supports the role that parents/family members/guardians play in students' Berklee experience. Please contact the Peer Advising program directly at email@example.com with any questions you have related to the program and how it interfaces with your student.
The Peer Advising professional staff asks that you not contact your student’s peer advisor directly, so as to allow for an effective, trusting relationship dynamic between your student and their peer advisor.
To learn more about peer advisors and how the program seeks to support your student, please visit the Peer Advising program webpage.
How can my student get more money to pay for school?
There are a few ways to seek additional financial assistance. Check with your local organizations, churches, Rotary Clubs, etc. Also, you should fill out financial aid forms which are available in the Office of Student Financial Services or online at fafsa.ed.gov. Aid is available to those who qualify. Berklee merit-based scholarships and student employment opportunities are also available to those who qualify. For further information contact the Office of Student Financial Services at firstname.lastname@example.org or by calling 617-747-2579 or 617-747-8681.
Does Berklee have any payment plan options?
Berklee does not have its own monthly payment plan. Berklee does work in conjunction with Tuition Management Systems (TMS) offering a five-month payment plan for the fall and the spring. Payments for the fall begin in June with the last payment in October, and payments for the spring begin in November with the last payment in March. TMS is online at berklee.afford.com or you may call 888-216-4258.
My student has borrowed from an alternative loan program to assist with books, supplies, and living expenses. When can we expect to receive a refund?
The Bursar's Office will begin issuing refunds for credit balances after the third week of classes. Refunds are issued weekly and may be picked up after 3:30 p.m. each Friday in the Bursar's Office. Students can check on the status of their refund by logging onto my.berklee.edu after Wednesday of any given week to see if a refund will be available on Friday. Please realize that the first money received by the college is the money that is applied toward tuition and fees. Therefore, if your student has taken out a loan for living expenses and it arrives at the college before other financial aid moneys are received, the loan will be applied to tuition expenses. Overpayment or refunds only occur after tuition and fees have been paid.
Who do I contact if I have a question about my tuition bill?
You will find the answer to this commonly asked question in the payment options section of the website. If the information you require is not available on the web, please call the Bursar's Office at 617 747-2610 or 617 747-2165 or email: email@example.com. For general info such as method of payment, hours of operation, mailing info, wire transfers, etc., call the information line at 617-747-8900.
What is the Comprehensive fee?
This is a mandatory fee that is charged every semester to cover the cost of many extracurricular facilities, programs, and services, such as practice facilities, programs, materials/media labs, student activities programs, and visiting artists.
How do I decide my student's health insurance coverage?
It is important to consider your student's routine medical appointments as well as unexpected medical situations. The details of health care 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. There are several things to be aware of:
Massachusetts Law requires all college students registered for at least 75% 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 (co-pays, 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, web sites 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 you have chronic mental or physical health concerns, we strongly encourage you to secure a PCP (primary care physician) in the Boston area before coming to Berklee.
Regardless of your health insurance selection, be sure to arrive at Berklee with the medication(s) you need. We recommend that you have prescription refills to last 3 months for medications that you take regularly.
How can my student secure 'caf show' performances?
Our series of shows held in the dining hall, referred to as "caf shows" are one of the methods we employ to prepare students for their career, and as such the selection process is designed to simulate real-world auditions. Performance opportunities are awarded on merit and not guaranteed to all students. We encourage parents to continue working with their students to help them prepare, but please note that calling the office will not secure an additional opportunity to perform. Please be advised that specific areas have a process they follow, and we encourage students in those areas to continue working with their advisors to secure performance opportunities.
How does the full meal plan work? Is it an unlimited number of swipes or a set number?
Meal plans are available for both on- and off-campus students. Berklee College of Music and Boston Conservatory at Berklee share a variety of dining facilities. The main cafeteria, which is an all-you-care-to-eat dining facility, is located at 160 Massachusetts Avenue. In addition, there are two smaller café locations at 939 Boylston Street and 24 Fenway.
All on-campus students are required to purchase a meal plan. Incoming first-year students living in the residence halls are required to purchase 265 meals per semester (with 10 guest passes).
All off-campus students have the option to purchase a meal plan. Five meal plan “block” options are offered at varying prices.
For more information, please visit Berklee Dining Services.
Is there any issue with theft of equipment (instruments, computers, etc.) on Berklee premises? What is the school policy to handle it if it occurs?
Public Safety publishes an annual security and fire safety report entitled Playing It Safe 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. Playing It Safe 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 share its information with your student. The report can be accessed here.
Can international students on an F-1 visa participate in gigs and shows? Also, can F-1 students work off campus?
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.
What is the process if a student wants to take lessons on a second instrument? Does the student have a second placement audition?
Performance majors who play more than one instrument proficiently may declare a secondary instrument. The minimum private instruction residency on a secondary instrument is two semesters of study. Students may declare only one secondary instrument. Students who wish to declare a secondary instrument need to see that instrument's department chair to schedule an audition. Department chairs will schedule private lessons on secondary instruments and lessons outside their department. More information can be found at Principal Instruments and in the current edition of the registration manual.
Do you have a question not covered above?
Please feel free to send them to us via email at firstname.lastname@example.org or call Parent Services at 617-747-8571.