Career Support During Covid - FAQS for Students, Recent Alumni, Postdoc Scholars and Employers

During this challenging time, CAPD continues to provide career development support and resources virtually. You don’t need to be on campus to get connected with CAPD.

These FAQs address questions on career advising, job searches, and recruiting. If you have other questions, please email or view our contact-us page for other details.  View up-to-date info and updates on how MIT is adapting to Covid and supporting the MIT community.

Career Counseling

Term Internships during COVID-19


Career Fair Updates

Prehealth Advising FAQs

Career Counseling FAQs


How do I make a virtual appointment with CAPD? 

Appointment availability can be located in your Handshake account under the Career Center tab where you can book a meeting with a staff member in Career Services, Distinguished Fellowships, and Prehealth Advising.

My graduate/professional school canceled their visit day/ second looks, how do I decide which school to go to? 

Check to see if the prospective school has offered a virtual alternative or postponed the events. Contact the graduate program to see if there are additional materials, or other graduate students, they could put you in touch with to ask questions that might help you decide the fit of the program. Identify what your priorities, goals, and values are when considering programs and center your questions around those topics.

How do I prepare for a remote interview? 

CAPD’s Career Development Handbook has tips on phone and video interviews on page 56.  MIT students, postdocs, and recent alumni can schedule a practice interview through the Career Center tab in your Handshake account. If you are in need of an online method for hosting an interview please consider Webex. MIT provides Webex to all MIT community members. More information can be found at

My summer plans are uncertain right now due to the Covid-19 virus. What can I do to identify new opportunities? 

In addition to the information found on our Jobs & Internship page, the following are some resources to potentially identify a new opportunity for the summer. For more assistance tailored to your interests, please schedule a phone or video appointment with a career counselor through Handshake

Alternatives to internships:

  • Build your skills with free online courses like Coursera, EdX, and LinkedIn Learning 
  • Outreach to research labs at local universities to inquire whether they need summer research help 
  • Develop an independent project - design and/or build something and add it to your portfolio 
  • Begin or update your portfolio. MIT’s MECHE Communication Lab offers a helpful overview 
  • Volunteer – Idealist & MIT Give Pulse are great resources to find opportunities 
  • Explore graduate school programs that align with your interests. How might they help you with your career path planning? Review websites of schools, read research papers that interest you and figure out where the authors teach, send emails to potential PIs, and video chat with graduate students in different programs.  

Finding opportunities closer to home:

In addition to the above-mentioned resources, investigate remote work opportunities with employers. If you currently have a summer experience lined-up, ask your employer about the possibility of working remotely or working at another office location closer to home. If you are searching for a new opportunity, look for descriptions that include flexible work arrangements or that signal the work would be remote.  

Check your local universities for opportunities to conduct research. Look for formal summer programs open to external applicants, or consider sending an inquiry directly to a faculty member who is conducting research of interest to you to see if there is a possibility of working with them this summer.

Are employers still hiring? 

Yes, employers are still hiring for summer internship and full-time employment opportunities. Currently in Handshake there are more than 2,300 internship and 5,000 jobs posted by more than 2,200 unique employers. Students are encouraged to setup their notification preferences in the system and make sure their profile is complete in order to receive postings. 

I am an alum worried about potentially losing my job and layoffs, or have already been laid off. What resources do you have?

CAPD has some tips around these areas, which include preparing for a potential job loss, financial resources for a layoff during COVID-19, how to talk about a layoff in an interview, and support in dealing with stress during unexpected transitions.

Alumni can access resources on these topics by logging into their Handshake account and navigating to the Career Center and the Resources section. If you need help creating your alumni Handshake account please email or call 617-715-5327.  Alumni seeking new job leads can also access the MIT Alumni Job Board.

I am an international student who is searching for an internship or full-time position. Where should I start?

MIT’s ISO offers online resources and information on navigating US employment related to student visa status.  A student must attend an ISO Employment Information Session before they can apply for off-campus employment authorization. Since in-person sessions cannot be held at this time, ISO has moved these Employment Information Sessions online. Please refer to ISO correspondence, as well as links on the “Employment” webpage on the ISO website, for these materials.

The CAPD career team can then assist international students on the aspects of navigating the job search, including topics like resume/CV and cover letter reviews, how to find opportunities, practice interviews, networking in the US, and negotiation. Individual virtual appointments can be booked with our career team in Handshake under the Career Center.

I am an international student who may need to leave the U.S. prior to starting a full-time job, are there any considerations I need to make when planning travel?

Students should be very cautious about traveling outside the U.S. given current travel restrictions to the U.S. and current suspension/limitations in visa services at U.S. Embassies/Consulates abroad.  Given these restrictions, students may want to consider postponing any travel outside the U.S.

For students applying for off-campus employment authorization with USCIS, it is advisable to not travel outside the U.S. until the application is approved. If you must travel prior to approval, you are advised to wait to travel until you have received confirmation (text/email) of your application’s receipt from USCIS.

For additional questions around visa status or implications, especially BEFORE you plan to travel outside the U.S., please consult with your ISO advisor.

If I am an international student, can I work for a US company remotely while living outside of the US?

An international student in F-1 or J-1 status requires U.S. employment authorization if your activity/internship/job meets any one of the following criteria:

  1. Any portion of the activity will be performed inside the U.S.;
  2. The employer/host organization is U.S.-based;
  3. Any funding/salary/stipend received for the activity is from a U.S.-source.

If you are pursuing an internship/activity for a U.S. employer, even if you are doing the activity abroad you will need to secure proper U.S. employment authorization (F-1 Curricular Practical Training or F-1 Optional Practical Training, or J-1 Academic Training).

If you will be doing an activity for a foreign-based company, but doing any of the activity within the U.S., you will also need U.S. employment authorization (as the activity is being performed inside the U.S.).

For additional questions around visa status or implications, especially BEFORE you plan to travel outside the U.S., please consult with your ISO Advisor.

Term Internships during COVID-19 Pandemic


Can I work and take classes at the same time? How will that impact my tuition?

Students may choose to take a lighter load of courses to balance the hours worked in the internship. For instance, if a student is working 20 hours a week, they may opt for a 24-credit course load. You should discuss this with your academic advisor to be sure that you are making satisfactory progress to degree and on track to an on-time graduation, as this has housing and other implications (see below).

If you take a reduced load to make room for an internship for which you are not receiving academic credit, then your tuition would be as follows:

12 units – $830 x 12 = $9,960
24 units – $830 x 24 = $19,920
36 units – full tuition is assessed = $26,725

If you register for an approved internship subject (e.g. 6.922) only, the tuition would be $9,335.

If I’m living and working in Cambridge, can I take in-person classes at MIT?

No, only students who are invited back and living in MIT Housing will be permitted to take in-person classes.

What kinds of MIT classes can I take?

There are several courses being offered in the fall that are specially designed to complement or incorporate real-world experiences. Students will have the option to sign up for a 3-unit course on Innovation and Computation. Another innovative option is Hacking the Future, which leverages and integrates MIT’s expertise in technology, entrepreneurship, public policy and action-based learning to create a course platform for students to choose the COVID related problem they want to solve and make a significant positive impact.

Will taking a lighter MIT course load in the Fall jeopardize my housing guarantee when I return to campus?

If you continue to be registered as an MIT student and are not taking a leave from the Institute, you can return to housing and receive guaranteed housing when MIT returns to normal operations (provided that you lived on campus as of March 2020). 

MIT guarantees housing for 8 semesters, so if a student enrolls with a light load but needs a ninth semester,  they may not be guaranteed housing in that 9th semester.  

Please note that housing for fall 2020 and spring 2021 are unique in that they are focused on guaranteeing housing those students who are invited back to campus.  So guaranteed housing for those 2 semesters will be based on that eligibility rather than the approach during normal operations.

I’m an MIT international student. Can I apply?

Under US law, international students are subject to special rules and requirements for course enrollment and employment authorization, in addition to being subject to employment and tax regulations in their home country. We strongly recommend that international students consult with the International Students Office prior to applying for this or any other internship.

Employer FAQs


What is the status of recruiting at MIT and the MIT Spring Career Fair?

Thank you for your interest in recruiting at MIT this spring and during the 2020-'21 academic year. No in-person MIT-sponsored gatherings or events are permitted, whether on or away from campus, until further notice. We are planning for virtual recruiting activities only this Spring semester.  

We will not be holding a single, general-audience MIT Spring Career Fair this semester. Instead, there will be several virtual career fairs throughout the semester appealing to specific audiences, including a Graduate Student and Postdoc Career Fair on March 23rd and the Ivy+ Just-In-Time Career Fair (open to all students from MIT and 5 other schools) on April 7th. For a full list of virtual career fairs this semester, please visit our career fair page.

What changes to recruiting at MIT have been made in light of the Covid-19 virus?

In light of MIT initiating a Limited Access Plan for all of MIT's Cambridge campus, visitors to campus are no longer permitted.

We encourage employers to continue to promote internship and job opportunities in Handshake. We have heard a range of concerns from students in regard to participating in internships far from home, abroad, or in locations of concern based on the virus spread. We ask employers to be flexible and consider ways students can work remotely on projects should the COVID-19 virus concerns continue. Please reach out to Employer Relations to discuss possible ideas for projects and remote work opportunities or if you plan to modify or rescind a job or internship offer previously extended to a current student or recent graduate.

Now that I am restricted from recruiting on-campus, how else can I recruit MIT students for internships or full-time employment?

  • Update Postings in Handshake: We encourage all organizations to review and update their current postings on Handshake. We continue to emphasize to students that they should utilize Handshake as a primary source for their internship and employment search.
  • Participate in Virtual Career Fair: Additional details about the schedule for Virtual Career Fairs in the Fall will be communicated as soon as possible. We anticipate to announce more information about Fall Virtual Career Fairs during the week of July 27.
  • Schedule Virtual Interviews: Employers who seek to interview MIT students this coming Fall are encouraged to schedule virtual (phone or video) interviews with candidates.

What should I do about my previously scheduled on campus company presentation/information session?

Employers who have already paid for on campus events through MIT Conference Services should contact to cancel, and for information about refunds. If your organization is planning to host virtual recruiting events, programs, information sessions, coffee chats etc., please publish those events in Handshake and extend the programs and events to MIT. By doing so the event will be advertised on the MIT Handshake calendar. We encourage employers to offer their events in the evenings, as many MIT classes are being held remotely during their usually scheduled time during the day.

What are helpful tips and resources to reference if our organization is considering to offer remote internships?

As more companies shift to virtual work arrangements and because of a range of concerns from students in regard to participating in internships far from home or in locations of concern based on the COVID-19 virus spread, remote internship opportunities for college students allow companies to continue their internship programs and maintain a pipeline to recruit top talent. In consideration of how to best deliver a meaningful remote internship experience and program, the National Association of Colleges and Employers provides helpful resources for organizations to reference when planning for a remote internship program. Below are a list of resources we recommend you review:

How can I support or advise MIT students who are on an F-1 visa to undertake a remote internship with our organization?

International students who are on an F-1 visa should be advised to consult with the MIT International Student Office to discuss their specific OPT/CPT requirements and confirm the best approach to set up a remote internship. MIT has in place a few possibilities for students on an F-1 visa to undertake a remote internship through an academic department or the MIT curriculum. In some instances students on an F-1 visa may be unable to undertake a remote internship. Company representatives who are arranging for remote internships are advised to check in with their human resources department to ensure employment conditions exist within their organization to support a remote internship.

Are there guidelines or legal considerations when offering an unpaid internship or experience?

Unpaid opportunities are not ideal. Please review the CAPD website for employers and The National Association of Colleges and Employers (NACE) for guidelines on what would be considered allowable, and the criteria which should be met when offering an unpaid internship.

In light of the current circumstances, students are not only worried about gaining valuable experience but also their finances. We recommend employers use the criteria provided by NACE to ensure that students are being appropriately compensated for their work. Compensation can come in many forms however, and employers should consider other means of compensation if a salary is not possible. Examples include stipends, housing, travel expenses, etc.

Career Fair FAQs


No in-person MIT-sponsored gatherings or events are permitted, whether on or away from campus, until further notice. To learn more about MIT's event policies visit the MIT Now events guidelines site. 

Based on these circumstances, all fairs currently scheduled for Spring 2021 must be in a virtual format, and no on-campus recruiting will be allowed during this semester. No decisions at this time have been made by MIT or CAPD about the status of recruiting events in the Summer or Fall of 2021. Please check on the details on our career fair pagefor updated information on about upcoming career fairs and what virtual platforms they will be held on.

Prehealth Advising FAQs


Are MCAT exams being rescheduled?

Scheduled testing will continue as expected with heightened health and safety measures unless candidates are otherwise notified that their exam is canceled.You can visit Pearson VUE’s COVID-19 Update Page to learn if your testing experience may be impacted.

How will I know if my MCAT exam is rescheduled?

You will receive an email cancellation if your test center closes due to COVID-19. Pearson VUE will provide you next steps for rescheduling your exam.

If you have additional questions regarding voucher usage or testing windows, please visit your exam program homepage to speak to the customer service team associated with your program.

How do I reschedule my March MCAT exam? 

For examinees testing in March who have concerns related to COVID-19 and would like to reschedule your exam at no cost, you must call Pearson VUE at 866-281-7532 to process the rescheduling. Be advised Pearson VUE is currently experiencing long wait times.

I have concerns about taking my April MCAT exam. How can I reschedule? 

Examinees testing in April who would like to reschedule your exam at no cost, please reschedule your exam online rather than by phone as a courtesy to those testing earlier. You will be charged a rescheduling fee online, which will be automatically refunded. Please allow two weeks for your refund to process. This policy will be updated as the situation changes; however, your opportunity to reschedule will remain at least until the end of March.

For more information on MCAT testing, visit AAMC MCAT’s website.

Can I still schedule an MCAT exam? 

You may find that there is less availability than usual. Please note that only test centers that are open will appear during the scheduling process. Tip: Try searching for alternate testing dates or for a test center slightly farther away.

Visit Pearson VUE’s COVID-19 Update Page to learn if your testing experience may be impacted.