Monday, September 1, 2014

OASIS Seminars for Undeclared Students

The 1-credit OASIS seminar is designed for undeclared students, typically in their first or second semester at UMass Amherst.  In addition to learning about opportunities and resources at UMass Amherst, students are given the tools and tips to be most successful, they forge a relationship with an advisor (who is their instructor), and they explore majors and other academic options available to them at UMass.
  • UNIV 125 is for freshmen (some sections are part of the FOCUS RAP programs; others are not); 
  • UNIV 125T is for transfers, and 
  • UNIV 192G is a slight variation of the seminar for students in academic difficulty.

Most sections of OASIS for Fall 2014 have a final capacity of 20 students. If you are unable to enroll in a section, but it looks as if there might still be room available, email the instructor with your name, 8-digit ID number, and the section of OASIS you'd like to join. NOTE: make sure you get to the first class meeting!  If you did not attend the first class meeting, you will need to meet with the instructor/advisor before you can join the class. Know, also, that the course is also offered in the Spring semester.

For students who ARE already enrolled, you can purchase your textbook at Collective Copies, in downtown Amherst, and we look forward to seeing you SOON!

Saturday, August 30, 2014

Dean's Meeting for Freshmen: Monday, 9/1 at 1:15 in FAC

First Year students are ALL reminded to attend their Academic Dean's Meetings on Monday, September 1st at 1:15pm.  

When you attend, you'll receive a handy tool to help you navigate your first year at UMass!

UNDECLARED STUDENTS:  you will be at the Fine Arts Center Concert Hall.  Students from other Schools and Colleges will meet at these locations:

  • College of Engineering, Bowker Auditorium, Stockbridge Hall
  • College of Humanities and Fine Arts, Thompson Hall 104
  • College of Natural Sciences (including Stockbridge), Mullins Center
  • College of Social and Behavioral Sciences, Mahar Auditorium
  • Isenberg School of Management, Campus Center Auditorium
  • Undeclared, Fine Arts Center Concert Hall
  • College of Nursing, Thompson Hall 102
  • School of Public Health & Health Sciences, Thompson Hall 106

Following the meeting, all students will proceed to the Mullins Center for Convocation and for their class photo to be taken.

Friday, August 29, 2014

Weekly Preview: September 1 - 5

Welcome to the first week of the Fall 2014 semester!  There is always a lot of information during the first weeks of the semester and you want to be sure you don't miss an important meeting or deadline, so be sure to read your UMass email and check the blog often.

The first day of classes is Tuesday, September 2.  Did you print a hard copy of your schedule or save screen shots on your phone in case SPIRE isn't working?  Did you double check to be sure a class location hasn't changed?

The Writing Placement & Exemption Test will be held on Tuesday, September 2 and Wednesday, September 3 at 6:00pm, location TBA.  We will update the location on our Facebook page as soon as we know it.

Foreign Language Exemption Tests
  • German, Latin, and Spanish tests will be held on Tuesday, September 2 at 4:00pm and again on Wednesday, September 3 at 3:00pm.  The test will be in the Campus Center, Room 903.
  • The French test will be held on Tuesday, September 2 at 4:00pm and Wednesday, September 3 at 3:00pm in the Learning Resource Center, 10th Floor W.E.B. du Bois Library.

Hoping to be accepted into an Engineering major?  Make sure you’re enrolled in the right classes and hear about how to enhance your chances for getting in.  Come to the Engineering Information Session on Thursday, September 4 at 5:30pm in 604 Goodell.


Remember, you can make changes to your schedule on SPIRE from now until Monday, September 15.  If you're not sure you're in the right classes, don't wait to ask!  Call or stop by our office and make an appointment to speak with an advisor.

Tuesday, April 29, 2014

Isenberg School of Management Application Deadline: Thursday, May 1

If you're planning on applying to the Isenberg School of Management, time is running out.
Applications are due by Thursday, May 1 at 5:00pm.

If you have questions about the process, make an appointment to meet with an advisor before Thursday. Read the instructions and information on the Isenberg site before coming in.

    BBA Track Application Information
    Sport Management Application Information

If you miss this deadline, you will have to wait until the end of the Fall 2014 semester to apply.

Friday, April 25, 2014

Weekly Preivew: April 28 - May 2

Congratulations!  You've made it to the end of the semester!  
The last day of classes is Wednesday, April 30 and finals start on Friday, May 2.

There will be an R1 Exemption Test at 7:00pm on Monday, April 28 in Marcus 131.  Passing the R1 exam (at least 12 out of 20 correct) will satisfy the R1 requirement for graduation but will not result in the awarding of any credits.  A student ID and a #2 pencil are required. A calculator is recommended. There is no limit on the number of times a student may take this test. The focus of this exam is to measure knowledge of basic math skills.

Celebrate Founder's Day! Join all of UMass on Goodell Lawn for a Campus Cookout on Tuesday, April 29 from 11:00 am-2:00 pm.  It was on April 29, 1863 that Governor John Andrews signed the charter to form Massachusetts Agricultural College, creating the first Board of Trustees for what would become Massachusetts State College in 1931 and the University of Massachusetts in 1947.  The Campus Cookout is free to all students, faculty, and staff. Rain or shine, we hope you will be able to join in on the fun as we honor the faculty, staff, and students who make UMass Amherst a great place to be.

Isenberg School of Management applications are due by 5:00pm on Thursday, May 1.  Late applications will not be accepted and students who miss the deadline will have to wait until the end of the Fall 2014 semester to apply for Spring 2015.  Applications are online:

The Academic Advising Link will be closing for the semester at 8:00pm on Wednesday, April 30.  Stop by before then to meet with our peers to review your schedule, check your ARR, get information about majors and so much more.

Thursday, April 24, 2014

Paul's Tip of the Week: Working on your Perfect Fall 2014 Schedule

While the semester is wrapping up and many of us have enrolled in classes for the Fall, some of us might not have our ideal schedules. Maybe you didn't get into that gen. ed. course you really wanted to or you still aren't sure how you feel about your schedule. That's OK!

Here's some advice to continue crafting a perfect schedule that fits your interests and passions and keeps you on track towards declaring a major and completing your academic requirements:

1.) Keep Checking SPIRE
Still upset about that course you wanted to take but was full before your enrollment appointment began? Check back on it over the summer. For a lot of courses, chances are that someone will likely drop the course leaving an empty seat for you to join. Every once in a while, search for the course on SPIRE and see if a spot opens up.

2.) Email the Professor
Is that class you want to get into just not opening up on SPIRE? Send the professor of the class a polite email explaining who you are, your desire to get into the course, and the reasons why taking this specific class is so important to you. Professors love seeing passionate students.

If the professor never responds, don't be afraid to show up on the first day of the class and talk to the professor in person. Two years ago, a professor never responded to my email but when I showed up in class, he let me into the class immediately.

3.) Use the "Swap" feature on SPIRE
When switching out of one class into another, makes sure to use the "Swap" feature on your SPIRE. You can find this feature under "Main Menu" -> "Enrollment" -> "Swap Classes". From here, you select the class you want to drop and then select the class you want to enroll in.

It's a great idea to use the "Swap" feature because it allows you to customize your schedule without having to constantly "Drop" and "Add" classes based on how close you are to reaching the amount of credits you can take in one semester.

4.) Take a Five College Course
Get outside of your comfort zone and take a course at one of the other four colleges in the Pioneer Valley: Amherst, Hampshire, Mt. Holyoke, and Smith College. I've taken several courses at both Amherst College and Hampshire College and have loved ALL of them. Being able to immerse yourself at a different college really gives you an opportunity to take a class that may never be offered at UMass and to really explore the Five College Community.

Registration will take place during Add/Drop. The forms will be put up two weeks before Add/Drop begins and can be found on SPIRE under "Main Menu" -> "Enrollment -> "Five College Enrollment". Print out two copies of the form, get the professor of the course to sign both copies, and bring them to 613 Goodell before Add/Drop ends.

Got questions about the Five College Interchange Program? Stop by 613 Goodell and ask away!

5.) Talk to your Academic Advisor
You might change up your schedule quite significantly before the Fall Semester begins. Whether you do it before this semester ends or over the summer, it's always a good idea to check in with your Academic Advisor. They will be able to offer you invaluable advice on the courses you pick.

So relax, get through your finals, and start thinking about your future! And don't worry, we're always here to help. 

Friday, April 18, 2014

Weekly Preview: April 21 - April 25

Monday, April 21 is Patriot's Day. No classes are held and most university offices are closed.
Wednesday, April 23 will follow a Monday class schedule.

There will be a Writing Placement & Exemption Test on Wednesday, April 23 from 6:00pm - 7:00pm in Bartlett 3.  Any student who has not previously taken this test must do so before being able to enroll in ENGL 112 College Writing.  Call the Writing Program at 413-545-0610 for more information. 

On Friday, April 25, join the Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering for the Senior Design Project presentations.  The Senior Design Project provides a capstone experience for undergraduate students in the Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering. Students work in teams of 3-4 students in this year long course sequence to design and prototype a system of their choice. Past projects have included a variety of topics ranging from home automation systems to ultra wide band wireless links, assistive robots, and wireless drumsticks. Each team is advised by a faculty member in the department and projects undergo several formal reviews. The learning goals for the senior design project include technical design, team work, presentation skills, an understanding of realistic constraints, economics, and ethics.  10:00am - 2:00pm, Gunness Student Center, Marcus Hall.

Thursday, April 17, 2014

Study Tips

Flowers are blooming, the sun is coming out, and finally we are saying goodbye to winter. Campus is full of students outside all the time now-- whether playing frisbee, lounging on the grass, or eating lunch on the campus center steps. This warm weather just seems to make everyone a little happier! Unfortunately, the warm weather also signifies that the time left for this semester is dwindling down. This means that only one thing stands in the way of you and summer vacation...finals. But have no fear! With four years spent at UMass I have gathered some awesome study techniques to share to make sure that the rest of this semester breezes on by. 

Don't wait until the last minute
Studying is so much less stressful if you don't wait to get started. Instead of memorizing material a week before an exam, try to really understand the material weeks before. This means that instead of cramming in studying time, it may be more beneficial to review your notes after class, ask questions of your professors and TAs, and not wait to do homework and readings. Many classes offer tutoring in the LRC in the library, but don't wait to take advantage of this resource! When finals week does come around you will surely be better prepared to study for your exams if you already know most of the material. 

Organize your study schedule 
Organizing when you are going to study, and what you are going to study, can be helpful for time management and stress-free sessions. Figure out which class is your priority and try to give yourself more time to study for that. Organizing exactly what you are going to study will help keep you more organized, and will clarify what you do and don't know for your exams. This organization can also help with arranging times to study with peers and allow you to focus your mind at the material on hand. 

Take breaks!
Try out different studying techniques to help you figure out what is most helpful for you. Do you like flashcards? Do you need to make study guides? Where is the best place for you to study? Last week Liz posted some great tips on cool places to study, make sure to go back and read her post! Figuring this information out can really help you to get into the studying zone. With this said, remember to take breaks for yourself. Grab some bubble tea, go to the gym, or even take a nap. Taking breaks is just as important as hours and hours of studying- your brain and body will need it!

Enjoy the sunshine and happy studying!

Wednesday, April 16, 2014

Thinking About Summer Courses?

Are you thinking of catching up, getting ahead, or retaking a class this summer?  Here's what you need to know:

You can earn CREDIT for courses taken at another institution--such as a community college near home--but these courses WILL NOT affect your UMass Amherst GPA.  Want to be sure the class you take will actually transfer to UMass before you spend your beach-time doing homework? Complete a Prior Approval Form before enrolling in the class.

You may also consider taking a class through UMass Amherst, either in-person or online.  Only courses taken through UMass Amherst will grant you a grade as well as credit.  You can check availability and cost and even register for such courses through UMass Continuing & Professional Education.  If you plan on repeating a course that you got a C- or below in over the summer, this is the way to do it!  Remember, you cannot repeat a course to replace a grade anywhere else but here.  Before going this route though, you may want to speak to an advisor.  The grade you get the second time is the one that counts toward your GPA, even if it's lower than your original grade, and summer courses can move at a very different pace than regular session courses, especially if they are taught online.  Check in with your advisor to assess which summer course options are best for you! 

Friday, April 11, 2014

Weekly Preview: April 14 - April 18

Witness amazing feats of creativity and scholarship! A variety of original works by Humanities & Fine Arts undergraduates will be on display for the entire campus community to view, from poetry and prose to music performances, artwork, animation, and more. Show your support for these talented HFA students, enjoy some free snacks, and experience the world through the lenses of these talented scholars. Tuesday, April 15 from 3:00pm - 5:00pm in the Cape Cod Lounge in the Student Union.  

The last day to submit a Five College Interchange Pre-Registration Request is Friday, April 18 at 5:00pm in Goodell 613Read our earlier post to learn more about Five College Interchange and where to find the registration forms.  You will also be able to register during UMass Add/Drop in the Fall.

Ready to declare Resource Economics?  The deadline to submit your Online Statement of Interest is Friday, April 18 at noon!  Do not miss this deadline!

Did you check your finals schedule yet?  Do you have three more more exams scheduled on the same day?  Do you have two exams scheduled at the same time?  To resolve these problems, go to the Registrar's Office in 213 Whitmore.  Take care of any problems now so you don't have to panic later.  Click here to read more about the Final Exam Policy.