Welcome New Students

Congratulations on your acceptance to America’s first trade school! We are excited to have you join our community this fall, and look forward to seeing you grow and develop your skills during your time training with us.

Here you’ll find information about what we need to get you started, how to prepare for your first day, and what to expect in the first few weeks of school. Please bookmark this page and refer to it as needed as we approach the start date.

Please note that the first day of class is Wednesday, September 4, with a required orientation for new students that begins at 10:00 am on Tuesday, September 3.

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New Student Orientations are designed to help you get familiar with the School. You’ll have the opportunity to meet NBSS staff, faculty, and your fellow students, remotely and then in-person. Please plan to attend both events.

  • Virtual Welcome: Learn more about NBSS, meet other students, and ask questions of our staff during the Virtual Welcome on Monday, July 29 from 9:30-10:30 am ET. Join the Zoom meeting at that time here.
  • New Student Orientation: An in-person event that takes place on Tuesday, September 3 from 11:00 am – 1:00 pm at our School facility, 150 North Street, Boston, MA 02109.
  • Official first day: Your first day of training on Wednesday, September 4 will begin at different times according to your program hours, listed below. 
  • Local tours: We are offering optional guided, small group tours of our building and of the North End neighborhood before Orientation, on Tuesday, September 3 from 9:00-11:00 am.

Please fill out the Incoming Student Information Form by Monday, August 5, 2024. We must have this information from you before the start of school. That includes uploading a photo, which we use to make your student ID.

During your time at NBSS, we’ll communicate with you in a variety of ways, including emails and occasional texts, especially for weather-related cancellations or delays. You’re responsible for reading and understanding communications sent to you by NBSS. If your contact information changes (including email, mailing address, or cell phone number), please share it with us so you do not miss important notifications.

Students have the option of purchasing a semester-long (September 1 – December 31) MBTA pass from the School at an 11% discount. The deadline to order your fall pass is Monday, August 5, 2024.

How to Order

  1. Fill out the Fall 2024 T-pass order form, which includes cost by zone and payment info.
  2. Return the form:
    • Scan and email it to business@nbss.edu
    • Print and mail it (include a check if that’s how you’re paying) to attn: Business Office, 150 North Street, Boston, MA 02109
    • Drop it off in person at the front desk (include a check if that’s how you’re paying)
  3. Pay by check with your printed form, or through our online payment portal (use the one-time payment option). If you pay online, we also need you to submit the order form so we know your pass details.

If you have any questions, please contact Marcia Michelson at mmichelson@nbss.edu.

If you order a T pass, it will be available for pick up at the Front Desk in late August (we’ll share a specific date later this summer).

Daily Transit Resources

Check out information on our website to help with your commute. Given how difficult to find and expensive parking is in the North End, we recommend using public transportation if possible. Here are some transit tips:

  • Use the MBTA Trip Planner to find your route options from home to school, including the type of Monthly Pass you’ll need.
  • Find MBTA Maps here, including subway, bus, and Commuter Rail.
  • The MBTA has many closures and service disruptions planned in the coming year for maintenance. Sign up for their text alerts to get the latest info.

Visiting NBSS Before the Start

If you’re planning to be in Boston before the start date and would like to visit the School, please schedule a visit with Rob O’Dwyer in advance so he can plan accordingly.

Attendance

The building opens at 7:00 am on weekdays. This gives you time to get here and get settled in before class begins. We’ll use a proximity card reader at the front desk to take attendance once you’ve been issued a student ID card. Please be aware that your attendance is tracked and recorded on your transcript. We’re educating you for employment and, for future employers, your attendance record at NBSS translates to reliability during employment. Treat your time here as if it is your job, arriving on-time (or early), working hard, and communicating with us if you’re having trouble getting here.

Auxiliary Aids & Academic Adjustments

To better ensure that your training will be the best it can be, please contact provost@nbss.edu if there are any reasonable accommodations that you require (adaptations for your learning style, physical limitations, etc.) while you’re in school. In order to begin the process for possible accommodations your request must go through proper channels.

Student Support

Our School offers virtual career workshops, individual appointments, and other assistance to support you while attending NBSS. In addition to general resources, we provide the following:

  • We hope to be able to provide mental health resources to students through the School from an outside organization. Stay tuned for more information. In the meantime, look at Appendix H, pages 61-63, in the Student Handbook for resources.
  • A food pantry provides students with access to healthy food. Located outside of the Admissions suite on floor 1N, it provides a range of frozen meals, snacks, soups, and ingredients for larger meals. Please take only what you need.

Bicycles

For those planning to ride a bicycle to school, you are strongly encouraged to use a high quality lock (such as Kryptonite) when securing your bike. NBSS is not responsible for any bikes or bike equipment that may be stolen. Also, please note that bikes are not allowed in the building. There are two outdoor options: a vertical bike rack in the courtyard against the wall next to the ramp to the back entrance, and a rack on North Street, just across the street from the School’s front entrance.

Student IDs

All students are issued an identification card at the beginning of their program start date. ID cards may be used for student discounts and will be used to track attendance. If you have not already done so, please make sure that you include a photo when you submit the Incoming Student Information Form, as this photo will be used to create your student ID.

Daily Transit

Check out information on our website to help with your commute. Given how difficult to find and expensive parking is in the North End, we recommend using public transportation if possible. Here are some transit tips:

  • Use the MBTA Trip Planner to find your route options from home to school, including the type of Monthly Pass you’ll need.
  • Find MBTA Maps here, including subway, bus, and Commuter Rail.
  • The MBTA has many closures and service disruptions planned in the coming year for maintenance. Sign up for their text alerts to get the latest info.

Student & Alumni Portal

As a student, you’ll get access to our password-protected Portal just for Students & Alumni. There, you can find important documents, a Classified Board for housing and opportunities, and a Jobs & Commissions Board with job openings and work available for hire or commission. You’ll be sent a log in link this summer. Once logged in, you can sign up for weekly digest alerts for posts in your discipline.

If you have questions or have trouble logging in, contact marketing@nbss.edu.

Resources

  • Orientation Invitation
  • Faculty Welcomes
    • Bookbinding
    • Cabinet & Furniture Making
    • Carpentry
    • Jewelry Making & Repair
    • Locksmithing & Security Technology
    • Basic Piano Technology
    • Advanced Piano Technology
    • Preservation Carpentry
    • Violin Making & Repair
  • New Student Summer Newsletter
  • Tool Kit Purchasing
  • Provost Welcome
  • Student Support & Career Services

Program-Specific Details + Tool Kits

Below are program-specific details that will help you prepare for your first day. Please contact admissions@nbss.edu for any general questions. For specific questions related to tool kits, please contact Kristen Odle in our Store at 617-227-0155 x140 or store@nbss.edu.

Class Hours

Monday – Friday, 8:00 am – 3:00 pm

Instructors

Learn more about Bookbinding faculty

Faculty Welcome Letter 2024

Tools & Supplies

  • Coming soon! We’ve put together a Bookbinding Starter Tool Kit (pdf) which can be purchased through our online Store, to facilitate a smooth program entrance for first semester students. The kits are the easiest way to get tooled up with essentials. Expect to pay about $400 for the kit.
  • This list has been reviewed by your instructor and will provide you with a solid foundation as you begin. You should expect other purchases of materials and tools outside of this starter kit.
  • If purchased by August 26, 2024, the Tool Kit will be at your bench on the first day of your program. For questions about purchasing kits, please contact Kristen Odle at 617-227-0155 x140 or store@nbss.edu.
  • We recommend not purchasing any tools beyond the Starter Tool Kit before your program begins. If you already own tools and want to bring them with you, Jeff will help you reconcile them with the full Tool List.

On the first day you will only need a few things:

  1. Note taking materials
  2. Closed toe shoes (always in the bindery)
  3. Padlock for your locker

GBW Membership

We suggest that you join The Guild of Book Workers (GBW), which is an excellent organization with many educational and networking opportunities. Student memberships are very reasonable. As a member of the national organization you may also join any of the regional chapters for only $10 each. The New England Chapter is very active.

Also, the annual GBW conference, Standards of Excellence, will be held from November 7-9, 202 in Providence, RI. Many students go, and it is a great opportunity to meet and connect with alumni and industry professionals, especially since it’s so close this year!

Books

For those that just can’t wait to get started on school work here are some fantastic August beach reads:

  • Middleton, Bernard. History of English Craft Bookbinding Technique. This is a very detailed book that you may find overwhelming at first but you will find yourself consulting this book many times over the course of your career.
  • Miller, Julia. Books Will Speak Plain: A Handbook for Identifying and Describing Historical Bindings. The first several chapters are an easy read for an overview of the history of bookbinding. Good foundation to start the program with some context.
  • Szirmai, J. A. The Archaeology of Medieval Bookbinding. Read chapters 1 through 4 and Chapter 10 to start. That will really help you within the first few weeks of school!

Class Hours

Monday – Friday, 8:00 am – 3:00 pm

Instructors

Learn more about Cabinet & Furniture Making faculty

Faculty Welcome Letter Fall 2024

Tools & Supplies

  • Coming soon! We’ve put together a Cabinet & Furniture Making Starter Tool Kit (pdf) which can be purchased through our online store, to facilitate a smooth program entrance for first semester students. The kits are recommended as the easiest way to get tooled up with essentials. Expect to pay about $700 for the starter kit.
  • This list has been reviewed by your instructors and will provide you with the required tools for the first few weeks of instruction. You can expect additional purchases throughout the program.
  • Your instructor will be reviewing a full Tool List during the first few days of class. We recommend not purchasing any tools beyond the Starter Tool Kit before your program begins. 
  • Those of you who already own hand tools may bring them in on the first day of class (Wednesday) so that we can review them with you, or you may wait until we’ve reviewed the tool list in class. You will receive fair warning when specific tools are necessary so that you will have time to purchase them and bring them to class.
  • If purchased by August 26, 2024, the Tool Kit will be at your bench on the first day of your program. For questions about purchasing kits, please contact Kristen Odle at 617-227-0155 x140 or store@nbss.edu.

You will need to have the following items for the first day of class. Note: if you purchase the Starter Kit, items 4-8 are included in the kit.

  1. A loose leaf 3-ring binder for handouts
  2. Paper or a notebook for taking notes
  3. Pencil or pen for taking notes
  4. Drafting pencil or lead and holder in 4H hardness
  5. Eraser: Paper Mate® Pink Pearl and/or Mars® Plastic
  6. Erasing shield
  7. Drafting Triangles: 30/60/90 & 45 degree (standard size 10”-12”)
  8. Architect’s Drafting Scale: 12”
  9. Everyone will be assigned a locker; you need to provide the lock.

Class Hours

Monday – Thursday, 7:30 am – 4:30 pm

Instructors

Learn more about Carpentry faculty

Faculty Welcome Letter Fall 2024

Tools & Supplies

  • Coming soon! One of the first things you need is your Carpentry Tool Kit (pdf) which can be purchased through our online Store. It includes all tools required for your program, and this list has been reviewed by your instructor to provide you with a solid foundation for the program as well as your career.
  • You should expect to spend about $3,750 total on tools and books. You will spend another $900 on materials during the school year, billed as a monthly fee to your student account.
  • Everyone must have their tools for the first day of class. It is important that your kit is waiting for you at school on your first day and to ensure this, you must order no later than a week before school starts.
  • If purchased by August 26, 2024, the Tool Kit will be at your bench on the first day of your program. For questions about purchasing kits, please contact Kristen Odle at 617-227-0155 x140 or store@nbss.edu.
  • A tool belt is not included in your tool kit. You must purchase one that is comfortable for you. Take a look at this video for advice on what to look for in a tool belt.
  • You need to have sturdy work boots or sturdy trail-runner style shoes (at the shop and on worksites). Please wear them for the first day of class. 
  • During the first few days, we’ll talk about the year ahead and your upcoming projects while also diving into the safe and effective use of hand tools, starting with your tool kit. 
  • Everyone will be assigned a locker; you need to provide the lock.

Offsite Work

  • It is important to note that you’ll need to get to and from any project site we’re working at throughout the year. We do not provide transportation to project sites. 
  • For this academic year, you should anticipate traveling to areas outside of Metro Boston. Job sites in the past have included Canton, Hanover, Norwell, and Dorchester. You’ll get more information the first week of school.

Class Hours

Monday – Friday, 8:00 am – 3:00 pm

Learn more about Jewelry Making & Repair faculty

Faculty Welcome Letter Fall 2024

Tools & Supplies

  • Coming soon! We’ve put together a Jewelry Making & Repair Starter Tool Kit (pdf) which can be purchased through our online store, to facilitate a smooth program entrance for first semester students. The kits are recommended as the easiest way to get tooled up with essentials. Expect to pay about $180 for your starter kit.
  • This list has been reviewed by your instructor and will provide you with the essential requirements for the start of your program and your career. You can expect additional purchases throughout the program.
  • If purchased by August 26, 2024, the Tool Kit will be at your bench on the first day of your program. For questions about purchasing kits, please contact Kristen Odle at 617-227-0155 x140 or store@nbss.edu.
  • Your instructor will be reviewing a full Tool List during the first few days of class. We recommend not purchasing any tools beyond the Starter Tool Kit before your program begins. If you already own tools and want to bring them with you, your instructor will help you reconcile them with the full Tool List.
  • On Orientation day and beyond, bring a notebook or paper and a pen or pencil for taking notes. 
  • Please note that in the first couple of weeks of school, there will be a series of reading assignments, so plan on allowing for ample time to read them.
  • Everyone will be assigned a locker; you need to provide the lock.

Class Hours

Monday – Friday, 7:30 am – 12:30 pm

Instructors

Learn more about Locksmithing & Security Technology faculty

Faculty Welcome Letter Fall 2024

Tools & Supplies

  • Coming soon! We’ve put together a Locksmithing & Security Technology Tool Kit (pdf) which can be purchased through our online store. It details all tools required for your program. Please come prepared to pay around $1,900 for these tools.
  • This list has been reviewed by your instructor and will provide you with a solid foundation for the program as well as your career.
  • If purchased by August 26, 2024, the Tool Kit will be at your bench on the first day of your program. For questions about purchasing kits, please contact Kristen Odle at 617-227-0155 x140 or store@nbss.edu.
  • The only items you need to bring on Orientation Day are a notebook or paper and pen or pencil for note taking.
  • Everyone will be assigned a locker; you need to provide the lock.

Class Hours

Monday – Friday, 8:00 am – 3:30 pm

Instructors

Learn more about Piano Technology faculty

Faculty Welcome Letter Fall 2024

Tools & Supplies

  • Coming soon! Our faculty have put together a Basic Piano Technology Tool Kit List for purchase through our online store or when you arrive your first week. These are not all the tools you will need as a practicing technician, but a good starter set that will get you through the school year. Note that this kit does not include your tuning hammer (more below). Please come prepared to pay around $1,400 for these tools.
  • Tools will be handed out as needed over the course of the year. For questions about purchasing kits, please contact Kristen Odle at 617-227-0155 x140 or store@nbss.edu.
  • If you already have a set of tools, please email piano@nbss.edu as soon as possible so we can have a conversation about what other tools you might need. 
  • We offer a variety of tuning hammers for you to try throughout the fall. Once you have found one that you like, you can then order your own. We expect everyone to have their own tuning hammer by the time they return to class after the Winter Break. Tuning hammers can cost anywhere from $75-$500+.
  • We will have basic eye safety glasses that everyone can share. It is recommended that you purchase your own.
  • You will need a large three-ring binder with dividers. Laptops are ok for note taking, but there are a lot of three-hole punched handouts.
  • Everyone will be assigned a locker; you need to provide the lock.

Field Trips

  • There may be field trips to Steinway and Mason & Hamlin in the spring, plus other local piano technicians throughout the year. You are expected to provide your own transportation and cover your own costs. Attendance at Boston Chapter PTG meetings is highly recommended.
  • There may be a regional Piano Technicians Guild conference in the summer. Students receive a registration discount and some assistance from NBSS, but you will need money for hotel, food, and transportation; figure around $500. Plan for it now! We encourage all students to attend—there are lots of classes and it is a great opportunity to meet other technicians and browse the exhibit hall.

Class Hours

Monday – Friday, 8:00 am – 3:30 pm

Instructors

Learn more about Piano Technology faculty

Faculty Welcome Letter Fall 2024

Tools & Supplies

  • Coming soon! Our Advanced Piano Technology Tool Kit (pdf) is available for purchase through our online store. It details the tools that are required for your program and has been reviewed by your instructors. Expect to pay about $700 for your tool kit.
  • If purchased by August 26, 2024, the Tool Kit will be at your bench on the first day of your program. For questions about purchasing kits, please contact Kristen Odle at 617-227-0155 x140 or store@nbss.edu.
  • Be prepared to spend an additional $600 on tools and supplies over the course of the year. 
  • Hearing protection will be provided in the form of foam earplugs. If you desire or require different hearing protection, you will need to provide it for yourself. 
  • We will have basic eye safety glasses that everyone can share. It is recommended that you purchase your own.
  • A camera is highly recommended, the camera on your phone or tablet is fine.
  • Everyone is assigned a locker; you must provide the lock.
  • We do not require textbooks—you will be expected to keep and organize your own notebook or binder. Laptops/tablets are ok for note taking. There will be hand-outs and reading assignments may be given throughout the year.

Field Trips

  • There may be field trips to Steinway and Mason & Hamlin in the spring, plus other local piano technicians throughout the year. You are expected to provide your own transportation and cover your own costs. Attendance at Boston Chapter PTG meetings is highly recommended.
  • There may be a regional Piano Technicians Guild conference in the summer. Students receive a registration discount and some assistance from NBSS, but you will need money for hotel, food, and transportation; figure around $500. Plan for it now! We encourage all students to attend—there are lots of classes and it is a great opportunity to meet other technicians and browse the exhibit hall.

Class Hours

Monday – Thursday, 7:30 am – 4:30 pm

Instructors

Learn more about Preservation Carpentry faculty

Faculty Welcome Letter Fall 2024

Tools & Supplies

  • Coming soon! We’ve put together a Preservation Carpentry Starter Tool Kit (pdf) which can be purchased through our online store. These Kits are recommended as they are the easiest way to get tooled up with essentials. The tool list has been reviewed by your instructor and will provide you with the required tools for the first few weeks of instruction. Expect to pay about $275 for your starter tool kit.
  • Your instructor will be reviewing a full Tool List during the first few days of class. We recommend not purchasing any tools beyond the Starter Tool Kit before your program begins. If you already own hand (non-powered) tools, bring them in on your first day of class (Wednesday) so that your faculty can review them with you.
  • If purchased by August 26, 2024, the Tool Kit will be at your bench on the first day of your program. For questions about purchasing kits, please contact Kristen Odle at 617-227-0155 x140 or store@nbss.edu.
  • You can expect additional purchases as the program progresses.
  • Everyone will be assigned a locker; you need to provide the lock.

While we’ll discuss all of the safety gear you’ll need while at NBSS, you’ll need to have the following safety equipment for the first day of class:

  1. Safety glasses to be worn at all times in the shop or during site work
  2. Hearing protection
  3. Work gloves
  4. Sturdy work boots (at the shop and on site)

Offsite Work

  • During the first few days, we will talk about the year ahead and our upcoming projects. A few of these projects will be off-site and you’ll need to commute to these sites each day for what might be from a few days to a few weeks. 
  • Note that we do not provide transportation to project sites.

Class Hours

Monday – Friday, 8:00 am – 3:00 pm

Instructors

Learn more about Violin Making & Repair faculty

Faculty Welcome Letter Fall 2024

Tools & Supplies

  • Coming soon! We’ve put together a Violin Making & Repair Starter Tool Kit (pdf) which can be purchased through our online store. The Tool Kits facilitate a smooth program entrance for first semester students and are recommended as they are the easiest way to get tooled up with essentials. Expect to pay about $2,200 for your starter kit.
  • The tool list has been reviewed by your instructor and will provide you with the essential requirements for the start of your program as well as your career. 
  • If purchased by August 26, 2024, the Tool Kit will be at your bench on the first day of your program. For questions about purchasing kits, please contact Kristen Odle at 617-227-0155 x140 or store@nbss.edu.
  • If you already own tools, you may bring them in on your first full day of class, so that Roman can review them with you, or you may wait until your class has reviewed the tool list. 
  • Expect to spend up to $2,200 on tools right away, and a total of around $2,900 on tools over the three years. 
  • Everyone will be assigned a locker; you need to provide the lock.

Questions?

Admissions Office
C 617-513-5848
admissions@nbss.edu

Provost’s Office
T 617.227.0155 x200
provost@nbss.edu

Student Support & Career Services Office
T 617.227.0155 x112
studentlife@nbss.edu

Financial Aid Office
T 617-227-0155 x111
financialaid@nbss.edu

FAQs

If you have questions about your financial aid, please reach out to Jamie Dergay, Director of Financial Aid, at financialaid@nbss.edu or 617-227-0155 x115. His office hours are Monday, Wednesday, Thursday, 8:30 am – 5:00 pm.

If you would like to visit the School before Orientation, please schedule an appointment with Rob O’Dwyer in advance so he can plan accordingly.

We have put together Tool Kits or Starter Tool Kits, depending on your program, which are available for purchase in our online store. Scroll above to find the plus sign by your program to find the buy link and all the information you’ll need to know about tools.

Your instructor will review a full Tool List during the first few days of class and will help you reconcile what you have with that list. Those of you who already own tools may bring them in during the first week to review them with your instructor.

For more information on tools specifically for your program, scroll above and click the plus sign by your program name.

Scroll above to the Program-specific details for your program to find that information. For many programs you just need a pencil and paper for taking notes, but for some programs there are a few tools or supplies you’ll need (like Carpentry, where you need to purchase your tool kit the week before).

You should also plan to wear closed-toe shoes, attire you can work in, and ability to tie back long hair.