COVID-19 FAQs

COVID-19 FAQS for Students, Recent Alumni, Postdoc Scholars and Employers 

CAPD is operating as a virtual office starting March 13, 2020. These FAQs will be updated on an on-going basis. For MIT-wide updates please visit https://covid19.mit.edu/.

Career Counseling

How do I make a virtual appointment with CAPD?
My graduate/professional school canceled their visit day/ second looks, how do I decide which school to go to?
How do I prepare for a remote interview?
Since there are limits on large events will the Spring Career Fair or other fairs still occur?
My summer plans are uncertain right now due to the Covid-19 virus. What can I do to identify new opportunities?
Are employers still hiring?
I am an alum worried about potentially losing my job and layoffs, or have already been laid off. What resources do you have?
I am an international student who is searching for an internship or full-time position. Where should I start?
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?
If I am an international student, can I work for a US company remotely while living outside of the US?

Employers

What changes to recruiting at MIT have been made in light of the Covid-19 virus?
Now that students are no longer on campus, how else can I recruit MIT students for internships or full-time employment?
What should I do about my previously scheduled on campus company presentation/information session?
What are helpful tips and resources to reference if our organization is considering to offer remote internships?
How can I support or advise MIT students who are on an F-1 visa to undertake a remote internship with our organization?
Are there guidelines or legal considerations when offering an unpaid internship or experience?

Career Fair Updates

What is the status of career fairs at MIT?
What is the status of the Spring Career Fair?
How can I prepare to participate in the Virtual Career Fair?
What is the cost of the Virtual Career Fair?
How will Spring Career Fair refunds be managed?
What will the Virtual Career Fair be like?

Prehealth Advising FAQs

Are MCAT exams being rescheduled?
How will I know if my MCAT exam is rescheduled?
How do I reschedule my March MCAT exam?
I am concerned about taking my April MCAT exam. How can I reschedule?
Can I still schedule an MCAT exam?


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 https://ist.mit.edu/telephony/audioform.  

Since there are limits on large events will the Spring Career Fair or other fairs still occur? 

CAPD recommends that all career fairs and other recruiting related activities be held virtually to allow all students the opportunity to participate and to help reduce the possible spread of the Covid-19 virus. Specifically, the Spring Career Fair is changing to a virtual event and has been moved to April 8, 2020. More information about the Spring Career Fair will be shared through the Handshake event posting. CAPD has also advised all other career fairs to transition to a virtual format or be cancelled. Updates will be provided on the CAPD Career Fair page

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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. In addition, students still seeking opportunities are encouraged to register for and participate in the Virtual Spring Career Fair taking place on April 8, 2020.

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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 capd@mit.edu or call our main office at 617-715-5329.  Alumni seeking new job leads can also access the MIT Alumni Job Board.

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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 CareerBridge, powered by Handshake under the Career Center.

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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.

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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.

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Employer FAQs

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 campuson March 25, 2020, visitors to campus are no longer be permitted.

We encourage employers to continue to promote internship and job opportunities in Handshake as the virus has created many unexpected changes for what students had planned for the summer. 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 to grow into the summer months. 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 students are no longer on campus, how else can I recruit MIT students for internships or full-time employment?

Update Postings in HandshakeWe 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 FairAdditional details about the Virtual Spring Career Fair will be communicated as soon as possible. We anticipate hosting this virtual fair on April 8.

Schedule Virtual InterviewsEmployers who have a list of candidates 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 co-recruit@mit.edu 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 summer 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 over the summer 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.

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Career Fair FAQs

What is the status of Career Fairs at MIT?

All career fairs at MIT have been advised to offer a virtual event, postpone, or cancel their fair. All registered employers will be contacted by the fair organizers with details about event changes, refunds, etc. As information is provided to CAPD it will be posted at https://capd.mit.edu/employers/career-fairs.

The Spring Career Fair date has changed to April 8, 2020 and will be offered as a virtual event. Organizations who registered for this fair will receive an email soon about fees, refunds, and instructions for participating in this virtual fair. 

How can I prepare to participate in the virtual career fair? 
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. Additional instructions and tips will be sent to registered employers. 

What is the cost of the virtual career fair? 

Details on the fees for participating in the virtual Spring Career Fair will be sent to registered employers by the week of March 16th and posted on the event posting in Handshake.  

How will Spring Career Fair refunds be managed?

We are currently in discussion with Handshake and Office of the Vice President for Finance at MIT to determine the best possible way to issue any refunds automatically and timely. We will follow up with those employers who registered and paid for the Spring Career Fair as soon as possible.

We hope employers who registered and paid for the Spring Career Fair will choose to participate in the virtual career fair. For those employers who choose to participate in the virtual career fair we will issue a refund amount which reflects the amount paid to participate in the Spring Career fair minus the cost to participate in the virtual career fair. Employers who do not participate in the virtual career fair will be refunded the full amount paid toward the Spring Career Fair.

What will the Virtual Career Fair be like?

The Virtual Career Fair will be on Wednesday, April 8, 2020 operating from 9:00am-5:00pm. Students from all class years and courses are eligible to participate and can register at: https://www.careereco.com/events/MIT.

Over 40 employers are expected to participate in this virtual event where you can continue your search for a summer internship or full-time opportunity. Students will simply enter into online “booths” to speak with employers via text, audio, or video. By registering on the platform, students will have access to the full employer list, a schedule of chat times, view job opportunities, and upload their resume. Once registered, information about how to best use the platform will be sent to students. For tips and best practices, please join us on Friday, April 3rd at 1:00pm for our webinar How to Work a Virtual Career Fair!

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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. 

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