Thursday, October 30, 2014

Shaylene's Tip of the Week: Prepping for Enrollment Period

As the semester begins to wind down, enrollment is just around the corner! It can be very hectic, but it doesn't have to be if you prepare ahead of time! Here a few tips to help during the enrollment period!

  1. Meet with an advisor! I can't stress this one enough! No matter what your major, talk to your advisor! The sooner you talk to them, the better! Make an appointment to sit down with your advisor and go over which classes you might be interested in taking and which classes keep you on track for your major or potential major. They'll be able to talk to you about major requirements, gen eds, and give general academic advice. Take at least ten minutes out of your day and talk to an advisor before enrollment. It's worth it, believe me. 
  2. Search Through Classes on SPIRE Ahead of Time! The spring course schedule has been released, so begin to browse through classes and see what's available! This is the perfect time to begin looking for gen eds. and potential majors classes that might be interesting. Be sure to read the descriptions and see if the class may be a good fit for you!
  3. Fill Up Your Shopping Cart! The shopping cart on SPIRE is where your classes go before
    you actually enroll in them. If you see a course that you're interested in taking, add it to your shopping cart! Be sure to add more classes than will actually be on your schedule. It's always good to have plenty of backup courses in case a class closes or you decide to swap.
  4. Check for Holds! Always check for holds on SPIRE and take care of them as soon as possible! Make sure to take care of them before the start of your enrollment appointment. It may take a couple of days for the hold to clear, so it's better to take care of it earlier rather than later as it can sometimes interfere with enrolling in classes.
  5. Check for your Enrollment Appointment! When you log into SPIRE on the right hand side there will be a box that says Enrollment Appointment. Listed in that box will be a specific date and time. This is your enrollment appointment. When that time rolls around, you can start to
    enroll in classes. This is why it is a good idea to have your shopping cart full, because then you can just check off the classes you want and enroll in them right then and there!
  6. Stop by the Academic Advising Link! If you're not sure how SPIRE works or have some general advising questions, then stop by the Academic Advising Link. The peers there are more than happy to help you navigate SPIRE and give you advice on finding Gen. Eds. We all have enrollment experience under our belt and are more than happy to help make the process smoother for you! The Link is in the Learning Commons in the library and is open from 4-8pm Sun-Thurs.

Wednesday, October 29, 2014

Pre-Medical and Pre-Dental Info Session

If you're interested in a Pre-Med or Pre-Dental track, the College of Natural Sciences will be holding a one-hour information session for pre-med/pre-dent students on Thursday, October 30 from 1:15pm-2:15pm in 163C Campus Center. Learn about the classes and majors that fill the requirements for a Pre-Med or Pre-Dent track. If you have questions, contact Cathy Eden at Don't wait! If you're interested, be sure to attend an info session!

Tuesday, October 28, 2014

Is Your Halloween Costume Offensive?

Monday, October 27, 2014

Majors Fair THIS WEDNESDAY 5:30-7:30

Hey! The 2014 MAJORS FAIR is this Wednesday evening from 5:30 to 7:30 in the Campus Center Auditorium. Go here for all the info you could ever need, including maps, videos, and photos and comments from previous years.

Friday, October 24, 2014

Weekly Preview: October 27 - October 31

There will be an R1 Basic Math Skills Exemption Test on Monday, October 27 at 7:00pm in Hasbrouck 20 (not Marcus 131).  A student ID and a #2 pencil are required. A calculator is recommended.  There will be one more Exemption Test offered on December 1.

The Writing Placement Exam is now offered online.  To access the Writing Placement Exam, students need to log in to OWL, select Assignment List from the Course Home Page, and choose Writing Placement Exam. Contact with any problems logging in or accessing the exam.  ENGLWRIT112, College Writing, is the only course at UMass Amherst that fulfills the First Year Writing (CW) General Education requirement. To enroll in ENGLWRIT112, you must first take the Writing Placement Exam.  Students who want to register for English Writing 112 in Spring 2015 need to take the Writing Placement Exam by November 12, 2014 to receive their results by November 20, 2014!

It's time for the 2014 Majors Fair!  Join us on Wednesday, October 29 from 5:30pm - 7:30pm in the Campus Center Auditorium.  Undergraduate Advising & Learning Communities and the Office of Undergraduate Advising will have representatives from virtually all departments on campus available for you.  Explore potential areas of study, whether it be for a major, minor, certificate or just curiosity!  At the Majors Fair, students (undeclared or declared) can find out about more than 100 different academic programs offered at the University. It is also an excellent opportunity to meet with faculty, staff, and current students to discuss an assortment of majors, minors and certificates as well as an array of career opportunities connected to the various majors.  Click here to see a map of Majors Fair 2014Click this link and read the information on the right to help you prepare for this event.  Don't miss it!

Are you curious about Pre-Med or Pre-Dental?  There will be a one-hour information session for pre-med/pre-dent students on Thursday, October 30 from 1:15pm - 2:15pm in 163C Campus Center.  If you have questions, contact Cathy Eden at

Have a safe Halloween!

Thursday, October 23, 2014

Victor's Tip of the Week: Studying

Hello everyone! My name is Victor, and I am a Peer Advisor in the Undergraduate Advising Office. I am a Junior majoring in Communication. As we wrap up this week, we officially mark the halfway point of the semester, which for many of us means mid-term exams or papers. Having been through a few rounds of mid-terms, I have some advice to share that can really help you get the results you want to see!

Don't wait until the last minute to start studying!
  • Cramming before an exam is not an effective method of studying. Give yourself 2-3 days to review your material before the exam. Studying for an hour or two every day for 3 days will be far more effective than studying everything for 4 hours an hour before the exam.
Form study groups with peers in your classes!

  • Reviewing your material is very important, but discussing the material with a partner or group reinforces your knowledge of the subject. By getting together and asking questions within a group, you can clarify points of confusion for yourself and also help others understand the material better.

Go to your Instructor's Office Hours with questions!

  • Office hours are a great time to ask your Professor or TA questions concerning the material you are learning in class. You can stop in without making an appointment, or you can speak to them and reserve a time period to ask questions. Prepare a few questions or topics that you would like to go over during that time. People are often afraid of going to office hours because they don't want to bother the professor, but in reality your professors enjoy being able to help you!

Visit the Learning Resource Center or the Writing Center!

  • The 10th floor of the Library is home to the Learning Resource Center which offers free tutoring for a handful of Introductory-Level courses and Gen-Eds. The basement of the Library Learning Commons is home to the Writing Center, which can help you prepare, edit, and review your paper before you hand it in for a grade! 

Find a conducive learning environment for you!

  • Find a spot to study where you won't get distracted. In front of your computer or television may not be the most productive place to study; instead try studying in the Library, Student Union, or outside in a shaded spot! Keep away from distractions such as other people, computers, cell phones, etc. Maybe find a playlist with some relaxing music, grab some brain foods (blueberries, nuts, and tea are great for this!), and indulge in your snacks and studies.

IMPORTANT: You don't have to be failing to seek help! Attending office hours, tutoring, or study groups can help you bring that B to an A. 

Use some of these tips to get you through this stressful period of mid-terms, and refer back to this for finals period as well! As always, you can stop by the Academic Advising Link to ask advising-related questions to a Peer Advisor, Sunday through Thursday 4-8 pm in the Learning Commons. 

Good luck and keep up the good work!


Wednesday, October 22, 2014


Have you not yet declared a major at UMass?  Or, if you have one, is it still a good fit for you?  Or perhaps does it leave you plenty of time to complete a double major or a minor?

In one week, you'll have a once-a-year opportunity to meet with representatives from ALL majors at UMass, in one place, at one time.  The Majors Fair is popular with students, as THE moment to gather information about academic programs and other opportunities to round out your degree.

Here's what you can do, at the Majors Fair:

  • Ask about a potential major, minor or certificate;

  • Ask about what courses would be a good introduction to a field;

  • Ask about internship, grad school, research, and employment prospects with a particular major;  

  • Chat with faculty and student representatives about their experience in the department.

  • Don't miss it!

    Majors Fair 2014

    Wednesday, October 29th


    Campus Center Auditorium

    Here's what recent students have said about the Majors Fair:

    Monday, October 20, 2014

    Business Careers: You CAN Get There From Here

    If you are interested in a career in business, no matter what your major is, attend this Business Career panel! Four department representatives from Isenberg, Economics,Resource Economics, and Career Services will be there to discuss the many majors that can lead to a business career. Learn more about internships, business-related careers and ask questions!

    This panel is for ALL MAJORS!Learn what other students
    have done for:
    - Internships
    - Post-graduation jobs
    - Business Careers
    - And more!

    When: Thursday, October 23rd from 5:30-7pm

    Where: Isenberg Room 108

    Friday, October 17, 2014

    Weekly Preview: October 20-24

    Business Careers: 
    You CAN Get There From Here

    Interested in a career in Business regardless of your major?
    Attend the Business Career Panel. Department representatives from Isenberg, Economics, Resource Economics and Career Services will be there to discuss the many majors that can lead to a business career. Learn more about internships, business-related careers and ask questions! Everyone is Welcome to attend!
    When: Thursday, October 23rd from 5:30-7pm

    Where: Isenberg Room 108

                                Campus Sustainability Day 
    UMass Sustainability
    Wednesday, October 22, 2014 (All day)
    Campus Sustainability Day 2014: Empowering Change on Campus and in the Community Campus Sustainability Day (CSD) is a time to recognize the successes, challenges, and innovations of sustainability in higher education on each campus. The theme for the upcoming Campus Sustainability Day is Empowering Change on Campus and in the Community.

     Friday, October 24th  - Sunday, October 26th 
    Family Weekend is bringing an exciting array of events for family members and UMass students including some fall foliage! Check-out the schedule here!

    It’s that time of year …Don't let the flu bug U!

    Get your flu vaccination!!

    Flu season is almost here. Take steps now to stay healthy, with a free flu vaccination. UHS clinics are open to all UMass Amherst students; and faculty, staff and students' dependents whose primary care provider is at UHS. Click for more info and the flu clinic schedule.

     Interested in Declaring Sociology?
       Stop by the Sociology Department in 712 Thompson
                           or the
          Sociology Peer Advisors Office in 722 Thompson
    Fall Sociology Declaration period ends November 12th

    Thursday, October 16, 2014

    Haley's Tip of the Week: How I Found My Major

    Hey guys! My name is Haley and I am a Peer Advisor with Undergraduate Advising. I am happy to be of assistance to you and to answer your questions any time! Settling into my first few months as a senior at UMass, I often find myself reflecting. So, this week I wanted to share with you my story of how I found my major.
    I came into UMass as a timid, but eager, undeclared student. Right from the start, I had a great foundation of support. I was part of the Focus Connections undeclared RAP (Residential Academic Program) and was also enrolled in the fall OASIS seminar. I found that living with all undeclared students gave me a real sense of comradery, I loved that I was able to meet new people who were in the same situation as me. OASIS was also a great opportunity for me because I was able to meet and be in consistent contact with my academic advisor.

    However, even with all of that support I still felt confused, overwhelmed, and a little bewildered at all of the options that UMass had to offer. Coming from a small high school, I was used to one-on-one attention from guidance counselors and teachers. UMass was a whole new world for me and I actually expected my advisor to consider my interests and simply tell me what to do, just like high school. I soon realized that no one was going to decide this for me or tell me what to do. I had to be my own advocate for my interests and academic goals.

    I think my first official move in the right direction was after my first Res-Econ class. After about 20 minutes I knew that it was not the right class or direction for me. Walking out, I realized that the only reason I was in the class was to appease my family's wishes. I wanted to make my family proud but came to the realization that this was my education and that I had to pursue what I was actually interested in and not what they wanted me to be interested in. After class I went to 613 Goodell and spoke to an advisor during drop-in hours. After talking about my interests we decided that Linguistics 101 would be a great class for me to try. Three years later, it is still my favorite gen-ed!

    But I still had a lot of work to do! I knew I wanted to work with children and with my advisor's help, I eventually narrowed my options down to Psychology and Communication Disorders. I knew that either of these two majors would allow me to work and make a difference with children in the future. In following year, I took introductory courses in both majors along with speaking to their department heads. I gathered as much information as I could before making my final decision.In the middle of my fall semester of my sophomore year I felt ready to declare. I pulled the trigger and declared Communication Disorders with minors in Psychology and Education.

    Of course, everyone's situation is unique and different but hopefully mine can give you some insight into yours! Just remember a few key things and everything will fall into place:

    • Meet with your advisor regularly and come prepared with questions!
    • Follow your interests!
    • Become aware of your options!  Do your homework!
    • Remember all of the resources available to you... and use them!