Answers to many frequently asked questions about the programs, the application process, living in Boston and financial aid. If the answers to your questions are not included here, please contact us !
What type of person attends North Bennet Street School (NBSS) as a full-time student?
Students at North Bennet Street School are diverse in age and background. Some students attend NBSS directly after high school, while others find us later as a second career or after retirement. Students come from Massachusetts, from other states and from other countries; we currently have international students from as far away as Spain and Australia. What unites NBSS students is a commitment to traditional skills and to excellence.
What is the difference between full-time programs and workshops?
Full-time programs are accredited by the Accrediting Commission of Career Schools and Colleges. Admission to the full-time programs is through an application process and the programs provide a comprehensive education. Depending on the program, students are enrolled full-time for one to three years. Financial aid is available for full-time programs. Workshops are offered through the department of continuing education and teach specific skills in courses that may last one day or up to three months. Workshop students are serious amateurs and skilled makers who seek to learn a new skill. For less experienced students, workshops can be a good introduction to the school. Successful workshop students often apply to the full-time programs.
How much do the full-time programs cost?
Tuition, material, and tool costs vary by program. All programs meet Monday – Friday although the hours vary. Please visit the catalog supplement for current information about costs and class hours.
Is it likely that I will find a job after graduating from North Bennet Street School?
The school is committed to nurturing employable skills and providing career support to students and alumni. Jason Gregoricus, the Director of Student and Alumni Services, helps students and graduates find jobs. Many graduates begin their post-NBSS career working with experienced makers; some continue to work for others and some start businesses. Occasionally, students begin a business directly upon graduation. Of the 85 individuals who graduated in 2009, 81 either chose to pursue further education or were employed within 4 months. Additional support includes:
- The option to participate in a business course that provides an overview of small-business practices with an emphasis on self-employed skilled trades.
- A database of both current jobs and companies who have posted jobs in the past. The database is only available to students and graduates.
- Announcements of commissions that come through the school from individuals seeking the skills of our students and graduates.
- Help with resumes and cover letters.
- The support of instructors who know many people in the field. They are an integral part of the school to career transition and their support and recommendations are invaluable.
For more information, view the career pages of this website or write to Jason Gregoricus.
Classes and Grading
How are classes structured?
While the specifics of each program vary, all eight full-time programs provide intensive, hands-on training in a structured environment with a focus on practical projects. Each project builds on previous learned skills and requires students to solve increasingly complex problems. This method encourages students to systematically develop their hand skills, understanding of tools, materials, and processes.
How often and at what times do classes meet?
Classes meet Monday - Friday. The specific meeting time depends on the program. Bench rooms and workshops are often open after instruction hours and during some weekend hours for independent work.
How are students graded?
Students are graded each month on performance, progress and effort. The performance grade is based on assigned, practical projects and written tests. The progress grade is based on overall speed and advancement. The effort grade is based on demonstrated personal initiative. Regular attendance contributes significantly to the effort grade. All absences must be excused. The instructor reviews grades with each student regularly. Grades are recorded as a permanent record which is retained in each student’s file. A student may request a copy of her/his record at anytime. Students are graded as follows: E-Excellent (4.0, 90-100), G-Good (3.0, 80-89), F-Fair (2.0, 70-79), P-Poor (1.0, 60-69), U-Unsatisfactory (below 60).
Application and Interview
What is the interview process? And how should I prepare?
The North Bennet Street School environment is unique and is best experienced in person. All applicants are required to visit the school for a tour and an interview. The interview is an opportunity for you to meet with a school representative and discuss whether NBSS is right for you. Although not required at the time of the interview, a simple portfolio with photographs or examples of your work is helpful. The tour provides an opportunity for applicants to see the workshops and studios and to meet students and instructors. Applicants should expect the interview process and tour to last about an hour. To schedule an interview, call the Admissions Office at 617-227-9292 or e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org.
Is it possible to do my interview by phone?
We require a visit and interview as part of the application process. In some cases, when an applicant lives far from the school, a phone interview may precede the visit. A visit to the school, however, is highly advised. Informal phone inquiries and questions are always welcome.
Should I take public transportation to my interview?
While Boston’s North End boasts some of the city’s best historic sites and restaurants, it has very little parking. We encourage visitors to use public transportation. The school is a short walk from the Massachusetts Bay Transportation Authority (MBTA) Haymarket Station. Please follow this link for more information about public transportation and local parking lots.
I noticed that some programs require a math test. What kind of questions should I expect?
Using rulers, measuring angles, calculating percentages and other basic math skills are used in many NBSS programs. The math test helps us understand if an applicant has the basic math skills necessary to complete our programs. There is no specific passing score and academic transcripts are taken into consideration when judging an applicant's math abilities. Calculators are not allowed during the math test. Applicants have 20 minutes to complete each section of the two section test.
The first 20-minute section - Applied Arithmetic - has multiple-choice word problems such as: if 36 pieces of candy were equally distributed among a group of people and if each person received as many pieces of candy as there were people in the group, how many people were in the group? (A) 8, (B) 12 ..." The second 20-minute section – Computation – includes multiple-choice answers to algorithmic equations such as: 7,389 - 6,438 = ? (A) 534, (B) 580, ...."
Is it possible to transfer credits from another institution?
Because our programs rely on an organic, iterative learning experience instead of on individual classes, it is not possible to accept transfer credits. Although we do not accept credits from other schools, prior experience often strengthens an applicant’s portfolio and application.
How can I improve my application?
Although the particular skills and qualities we look for in an applicant differ from program to program, prior experience in the field to which you are applying increases the likelihood of your application being successful. If you do not have previous experience, you might consider a workshop or course at NBSS or similar craft center to build your skills. We are happy to discuss this with you if you are unsure if you would benefit from additional experience. The most important quality that we look for in all applicants is an understanding of and a commitment and passion for their craft.
Financial Aid and Housing
Is financial aid available?
North Bennet Street School students are eligible for both federal and state financial aid. The school also regularly assists applicants who pursue alternate funding through public and private organizations such as the Veterans Administration and the Massachusetts Rehabilitation Commission. Significant fundraising over the past several years has created a scholarship endowment that funds NBSS need-based scholarships. Additional loan and scholarship opportunities may also be possible. Comprehensive financial aid information and applications are on the NBSS website. James Dergay, Director of Financial Aid, is available to talk to applicants and students. He can be reached at 617-227-0155.
Does your school offer housing for students?
North Bennet Street School does not have on-campus housing. NBSS is located in the vibrant, residential North End neighborhood in Boston and is close to public transportation. Jason Gregoricus, Director of Student & Alumni Services, maintains a housing list and assists students in finding apartments and roommates. Jason can be reached at 617-227-0155.