WELCOME TO BOSTON
Your fall semester in Boston preparation starts long before you set foot in the city. Many of the BU deadlines hit during your China Program, so IMBA students need to be a little more organized to make sure that everything is on track before leaving for China.
Here is a basic check list with information, advice and links to help you get started.
Finding housing in Boston is rarely easy or fun, but we haven’t had a homeless IMBA student yet! Most fall leases are signed during the summer months, while you are in China, so you have an extra challenge.
Do what you can before you leave for China — even if it’s only familiarizing yourself with the neighborhoods of Boston and getting a reasonable sense of your housing costs and budget. Don’t forget to network with current IMBAs, alums and your classmates. Many are in the area and may have advice or leads.
The charts below show the general cost of housing (Red is most expensive; blue least) and the names of the local areas. BU School of Management is between Kenmore and the Charles River. Click map to enlarge.
- Start your search early!
- Be ready to read and sign a standard 12-month lease
- The standard move-in is September 1st, which is THE busiest moving days in Boston. Because of this year’s Pre Term dates, try for an Aug 1 or Aug 15 move-in date.
- Housing tends to be expensive in the Greater Boston area. Be prepared to pay first and last month’s rent and a security deposit. You may also have a realtor’s fee.
FIGURE OUT YOUR TOP HOUSING PRIORITIES
- Budget — Don’t forget about utilities! Heat and hot water are usually included. Electricity and gas (for cooking stove) are sometimes included. Cable and internet, rarely. These can add $100-250 to your housing bill per month.
- Size — How much room do you really need? Will you need extra space to host guests? Can you survive in a studio for a year?
- Privacy / Roommates — Sharing a 2 or 3 bedroom apartment will increase your apartment hunting options and save you some money. After a summer with roommates/housemates in China, you may decide to go this route.
- Age / Condition of Apartment — Boston housing tends to be on the older side, so if you come from a city with beautiful, new apartment buildings, you may be in for a shock.
- Neighborhood — What kind of atmosphere are you ok with — undergrads/student areas, grads/young professionals or families? Urban with lots of street noise and traffic or more suburban with less traffic and more green space.
- Commute to BU — Remember that distance does not equal time. It may look close or far on the map, but it may be more convenient depending on bus/subway lines, transfer connections.
- Convenience — How close are you to a supermarket / restaurants / drug stores?
- Laundry Facilities — Are these in the building (often), in your apartment (rare) or do you need to find a local laundromat (easy to find in many neighborhoods)
- BU Office of Rental Property Management – Access to BU-owned apartments. The most convenient housing option is the apartments at 580 Commonwealth Avenue. These apartments are directly across the street from the Management building and the easiest commute to classes that you will ever have. There is typically a waitlist for these apartments so we recommend that you submit your application as soon as possible.
- BU Office of Off Campus Housing - This is a great resource for relocating to the Boston area
- BU Medical Campus Housing Resources- Although the BU Medical Campus is not near the School of Management, this site has great tools for relocating to Boston
- BUMC Housing Guide pdf - this can be helpful for people new to Boston, includes info on local media, shopping, transportation, safety in Boston and an EXCELLENT introduction to neighborhoods
SHORT TERM / TEMPORARY HOUSING
Use your IMBA network. There may be some 2012 students who have a lease through August 2013 but who are graduating in May 2013 and may be looking for summer subleasers.
- BU Area Hotels – If you need a few nights in Boston before you can move in, this list can be handy. Also, check with your classmates and in the facebook group. There may be someone who could let you stay on their couch for a few days for free.
APARTMENT HUNTING RESOURCES
Boston University does not endorse any of these companies.
Common Abbreviations in Housing Ads – Even though internet ads are usually less limited by space, you may still encounter a bunch of letters you can’t decipher.
- BU Off Campus Housing Portal - Search for apartment / roommates
- All-Bright Real Estate – rentals in Allston, Brighton and other parts of Boston, plus Cambridge. +1 617-783-9151
- The Copley Group - rentals mostly in the Fenway / Longwood / Brookline areas. +1 617-262-3930
- Fenway Parkside – locations mostly in the Fenway / Back Bay / Brookline areas. +1 617-232-5500
- Phoenix Realty – locations all over. For Brookline +1 617-734-1200. For Allston +1 617-731-3311
- Grant Realty Trust / State Financial Services – user-friendly searches with rates and maps. +1 617-720-0770
- First Cambridge Realty – mostly in Cambridge, but a few in Brookline/Newton. +1 617-547-6559
- Craig’s List Boston - Listings in the greater Boston area, as well as other areas throughout the country. Has apartment listings as well as roommate listings and links to other sites. This site lists apartments for rent, furnished short-term apartments and properties for sale. Listings start with studios and go up to five bedrooms.
- Boston City Guide
- Apartment Ratings
- Rate My Apartment
GETTING AROUND BOSTON
If you’re not familiar with navigating Boston, it’s helpful to remember that
- Many of its streets started off as cow paths
- Riding on its subway system reminds everyone of the efficiency and speed that made this system so high-tech at the end of the 19th century
- Sometimes you literally ‘can’t get there from here’ in any sort of reasonable time frame.
MBTA COMMUTER PASSES: TRAIN / BUS / SUBWAY
If you decide that it’s worth it to get a T Pass, you should check out the options on the BU Parking & Transportation Services site.
There is a deadline for purchasing semester T passes — usually early August – so check the website before you leave China.
To purchase the MBTA Semester Pass through BU, find the link through Student Link.
Boston is not such a car-friendly city. Parking is limited and expensive. If you are planning on commuting from the suburbs, a car can be essential. Check the BU Parking & Transportation Services site for BU Parking Permits.
Boston is becoming a more friendly biking city, with a new bike-sharing program and more bike lanes opening up every year. However, many locals would still never try to bike in Boston traffic. If you are considering this option, check out BU’s Bike Safety site.
SETTLE YOUR BU ACCOUNT
You will receive bills in the fall, spring and at the beginning of next summer from Student Accounting Services. Please pay Student Accounting Services directly. Contact Student Accounting or check your student account on the Student Link for payment amounts and procedures.
Payment instructions for the China Program 2013 are separate from the student accounting billing process.
Paying from your Bank of America account: Thank you, Gordon IMBA’12 for these instructions
To pay BU from your BoA account, you need the routing number and account number.
- Search for the “routing number” in your BoA account. It should appear in the search result list.
- The account number is on the top right of the statement report.
- Go to your Student Link account -> Student Account Inquiry -> Make a Payment
- Enter the routing and account number
- DONE! It should take less than a minute.
CHECK IN ON YOUR FINANCIAL AID
Contact Nicola Melton in the Graduate Programs Office if you have any questions about your financial aid funds. The website also contains various funding sources, and there will be Financial Aid walk-in hours during Pre Term in August.
SAVE MONEY BY DECLINING THE BU SPORTS PASS
All full time BU students are automatically billed $115 for the BU Student Sports Pass. If you are a big fan of college hockey and basketball, this is a great deal. However, most IMBAs never see a BU game during their year in Boston.
Put that money back in your pocket by cancelling the Sports Pass through Student Link -> Money Matters -> Sports Pass.
HEALTH / IMMUNIZATION RECORDS
Massachusetts law requires that students be immunized against a number of diseases in order to attend a university in the Commonwealth. Boston University strictly enforces this policy. As an incoming student, your registration will be blocked if you do not submit the required immunization information. There is a seven day grace period after the first day of classes to submit this information.
This information must be submitted on the Boston University Medical History and Physical Report Form, and it must be signed by a doctor, nurse practitioner or physician assistant.
We recommend that you take care of this requirement prior to coming to Boston. In many countries, these vaccinations are free of charge; however, in the U.S. you will be charged for them. If you have any questions with respect to the format in which you are allowed to present your immunization record, please contact Boston University Student Health Services directly.
CONFIRM YOUR MEDICAL INSURANCE COVERAGE FOR THE ACADEMIC YEAR
All full time students in the state of MA are REQUIRED by MA law to have Health Insurance and are automatically enrolled in the Boston University Student BASIC Plan and their student accounts are charged for the coverage.
The Boston University Student Medical Insurance Plan is administered by Aetna Student Health. Visit Aetna Student Health’s Web site for a complete description of the student medical insurance plan for the 2012-2013 policy year. You can also print out your insurance card from the Aetna website.
Please be aware for an insurance policy to be eligible to waive the BU policy the insurance carrier must be a U.S. (domestic) insurance carrier. Coverage from insurance carriers outside the United States and coverage by foreign National Health Service programs CANNOT be accepted. The cost of BU Medical Insurance for the 2011/2012 academic year was $1,914 for Student Basic, $2,647 for Student Plus.
Click here for more information on REQUIRED INSURANCE AND WAIVER POLICY.