All Academic Programs

Frequently Asked Questions

General Questions
Transcriptions & Recommendations

If I'm Admitted...
International Students
Financial Aid Questions


Q. What are the dates of the program?
A. June 9 - July 18, 2014

Q. Can I be removed from the mailing list?
A. Email a request to unsubscribe from our mailing list with your name and address as it appears on the mailing label to

Q: I don't have a background in designcan I apply?
A: Yes. Career Discovery is a program designed to introduce Architecture, Landscape Architecture, Urban Planning and Design to those who have interest in the areas, but have little to no experience with the disciplines.

Q: Can I apply for more than one concentration at the same time?
A: Participants of the program are exposed to all four concentrations through lectures, but the studio work will focus on only one chosen concentration. Participants have one week to switch concentrations once the program has begun.

Q. When are decisions made?
A. Admissions decisions are made on a rolling basis. You will receive notification two weeks from the date of completion of your application. A completed application contains all required documents including recommendations.

Q: Where do most students live? Are there dorms?
A: A good portion of participants live on campus in dormitories provided by the Harvard Law School.  Others live within walking distance of the school.

Q: What kind of computer resources are there?
A: Participants are given access to the computer labs in Gund Hall. They also have access to all programs on the GSD network. Bringing a laptop is recommended, but not necessary. There is wireless internet available in Gund Hall as well as in the dormitories.

Q. How do I request a transcript?
A: Career Discovery does not provide a transcript or a recommendation. Rather, we can provide a written evaluation and a letter certifying dates of attendance and completion of program. To request the evaluation and letter of certification, send a request to with the following information contained in the body of the email:

  1. Full name of student
  2. Year of participation
  3. Contact name and/or School name, if applicable
  4. Mailing address
  5. Application deadline, if applicable


Q: How do I submit my transcript(s)? Do I need to send an official copy with my application? A: Transcripts should be submitted electronically through the online application. Applicants should scan a copy of their transcript(s), and upload these documents into the online application. During the application process, it is not necessary to send an official transcript.

Q: Does my transcript need to be official, or can I scan an unofficial version?
A: Scanned transcripts can be unofficial or official. If we need further information, we may ask for an official transcript to be sent to our office for review.

Q: I am having technical difficulties with the online application (such as uploading a transcript). What do I do?
A: Contact the Career Discovery office by emailing

Q: What kind of recommender is preferred (i.e. academic, work-related, etc.?)
A: A preferred recommender is someone who knows the applicant well and can provide a positive recommendation.

Q: How should I submit letters of recommendation? Is there a form that goes with the letter? A: All letters of recommendation should be submitted electronically through the online application. In the online application under 'Recommendations', applicants are given the opportunity to register recommenders. Once a recommender has been registered, the online application will automatically send the recommender an e-mail message indicating the recommendation request with the necessary instructions and links to complete the recommendation. He/she will be directed to complete an online form and given the opportunity to upload a letter.

Q: One of my recommenders is really unfamiliar with technology. Can he or she send a paper recommendation or do I have to select someone else?
A: If at all possible, all recommendations should be completed using the electronic method. However, to accommodate a recommender who is not adept at using technology, please contact the Career Discovery office via email ( to inquire about accommodations.

Q: Can I submit more than two recommendations? On the online application form there are only two slots to type in names.
A: Yes. Even though we require only two recommenders, you are able to register up to three in the Recommendations section of the online application.

Q: Does Career Discovery accept recommendations stored on Interfolio?
A.Yes, we will accept recommendations via Interfolio but you will still need to register the recommender in Recommendations section of the online application and inform the Career Discovery office via email at

Q: Can I track whether my recommender has submitted my recommendation online after submitting my application?
A: Yes, the status of your recommendations may be viewed on the status page of your online application. Just log on using the same credentials used to create your Career Discovery application account.

Q: I registered a recommender in my online application and changed my mind. How do I delete the recommender?
A: Go to the Recommendations section of the online application. Click on the edit link associated with the recommender you wish to delete.  Located at the bottom of the window is an option to exclude the selected recommender from your application.  


Q: How will I be notified of the admissions decision?
A: You will be notified of the admissions decision via email.

Q: Is it possible to defer?
A: No, the Career Discovery program does not grant deferrals. If you are admitted but unable to attend, you would need to reapply.

Q: Can I pay the tuition and housing fees with a credit card?
A: Yes. Your decision form as well as your tuition and housing payments must be submitted online  via the online system. Further payment instructions will be provided in your admittance letter.

Q: Can I ship my belongings to the dorms before I arrive from out of town?
A: No. We understand, before the program, it may be necessary to ship large packages with items needed for the duration of your stay. We recommend using FedEx ( as an option to send these large packages. The FedEx Cambridge location, which is located a few blocks from the dormitories, will hold packages for pick-up at the store.


Q: I am an international student. Do I need to apply for a visa if I am currently attending a U.S. college or university?
A: No. You must ask your schools international office for approval to attend our program in lieu of applying for a new visa. See the General Information page for details.

Q: For international students, is there a minimum TOEFL score that must be achieved?
A: Yes. On the TOEFL iBT, our minimum required score is 92, with individual section scores of 23 or above. See the Application Procedure page for more information.

Q: Can other tests of English proficiency, such as the IELTS, be substituted for the TOEFL?A: No. The only test of English proficiency that we accept is the TOEFL.


Q: I am applying for financial aid. Are tax forms from my parents required?
A: Tax forms from parents are required for every applicant under 30.

Q: Can the application fee be waived if I am applying for financial aid?
A: No. We are unable to waive the application fee.

Q: Is there financial aid available for International Students?
A: No. Career Discovery financial aid is not federally subsidized and is available to U.S. citizens and permanent residents only. International students are not eligible to apply.

Q: I'm a US student (citizen or permanent resident), is there a Career Discovery specific financial aid application for me to apply?
A: Yes. Download the financial aid form as a PDF, complete it and submit it along with all appropriate documentation to the address on the left by April 30, 2014 to be considered for financial aid.

Q: What does it mean to qualify for financial aid?
A: Career Discovery financial aid funds are need-based awards, which means that funding is given based on the financial situation of the student. Financial aid takes into account many factors; however, as a guide, if the applicant’s and parents' (if appropriate) combined adjusted gross income exceeds $40,000, an award is unlikely.

Q: The website says that financial aid applications are due by April 30, 2014. Does this mean that I have to apply for financial aid before I know if I am admitted?
A: Yes, do not wait until you receive your admissions letter to apply for aid.

Q: If I am admitted to Career Discovery, will my financial aid award letter be included with my admissions email?
A: No. You will be notified in a separate email from the Career Discovery Program Manager, Kelly Teixeira, about your financial aid award.

Q: I missed the financial aid application deadline. Does this mean I cannot get financial aid? A: Financial Aid applications should be mailed to the Career Discovery office by April 30, 2014.  Late financial aid applications will not be considered.

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